What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been in the making for thousands of years. It involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the skin to promote natural healing, reduce or eliminate pain and improve the body’s overall function.
Traditionally, acupuncture is based on the theory that the body has a vital energy called Qi (pronounced “chee”) which runs throughout the body in meridians (also referred to as channels). Sometimes Qi can get blocked, resulting in dysfunction, pain or illness. Inserting needles into acupuncture points along these meridians unblocks the Qi and promotes health. Scientifically, acupuncture has been shown to increase blood supply, regulate nerve function and release neurotransmitters, including endorphins. These responses can block pain signals to the brain, decrease inflammation, repair injured tissue and help to restore the body’s healthy balance.
Does acupuncture hurt?
For most people, the procedure is painless. Sometimes people feel a little prick similar to a mosquito bite when the needle is first inserted. Occasionally, depending on the condition, there is a dull ache or a warming type sensation around the point. Many people fall asleep during acupuncture treatments.
Is acupuncture safe?
Very few side effects have been reported with acupuncture treatments using disposable, single use needles. Proper insertion of the needle by an experienced practitioner, ensures there is no risk to underlying nerves or organs. As with any type of treatment, you should always inform your practitioner of all medications you are taking as well as any underlying health conditions you may have or have previously experienced. You should also inform your practitioner if you are or could possibly be pregnant. Proper information will help in the selection of the type of treatment that is right for you.
Is acupuncture safe during pregnancy?
Acupuncture is used to alleviate many typical pregnancy-related complaints, including anything from nausea to sciatica. During each stage of pregnancy, there are certain points that should be used and others that should be avoided. Following these guidelines ensures safety of both the mother and the baby.
How soon will I be better?
This is one of the most common questions we are asked. Everybody experiences the effects of acupuncture a little differently. Depending on the type of problem being treated, some people may start to notice the benefits almost immediately while others need a few treatments before they feel a difference. Some people become very relaxed while others may feel euphoric or energized. People who don’t feel any different when they leave the clinic may start to notice changes in their symptoms hours to days later. To provide you with realistic expectations, many factors affecting your recovery time must be taken into consideration, including:
- acute vs. chronic pain
- first episode or recurrent problem
- history of previous injuries
- general health
- general fitness level (strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health)
- poor postural hygiene
- lifestyle (work, diet, sleep)
- patient comprehension and compliance with recommendations
- adherence to treatment plan
- stress (physical/mental/chemical)
- family history
These factors and your individual health goals combine to structure the frequency and duration of your care.
Why Combine Chiropractic & Acupuncture Treatments
Combining chiropractic and acupuncture treatments together approaches a problem from multiple angles which can potentially reduce recovery time. This combination approach can also improve overall function and health after recovery is complete.
Chiropractic uses a variety of soft tissue techniques and manipulation to achieve a series of local responses, including:
- decreased pain and inflammation
- reduced muscle spasm
- improved joint mechanics
Acupuncture regulates healing at a more central level and:
- increases endorphin release to decrease pain and promote the healing response
- reduces muscle spasm by decreasing excitatory brain input to the musculoskeletal system and improving blood flow
- reduces sympathetic nervous system firing to calm the mind and promote balance throughout the body