At Motion Works Physiotherapy Orleans, our physical therapists practice acupuncture as a form of therapeutic treatment for alleviating your pain, encouraging your healing process and improving chronic conditions alongside other therapies. Here, our Orleans physiotherapists explain what acupuncture is and how we use it to help our patients.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an old form of traditional medicine that first began being practiced in China nearly 2500 years ago. It involves piercing the skin of a patient with very small, thin and sterile needles at a collection of up to 350 designated points across the body (called meridians) depending on the kind of pain or condition that is being treated.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
According to traditional understandings of the practice, acupuncture balances the flow of qi (pronounced chi) throughout a client's body by guiding the flow of this vital energy along pathways and meridians in the body.
In more contemporary terms, studies have shown that acupuncture targets areas where the connective tissue, soft tissues and nerves of your body all intersect. By placing the small, painless sterile needles used in acupuncture into intese points, your body's natural healing processes are triggered and it releases natural painkillers. This can not only relax you and help alleviate pain but can also help to speed the healing of your tissues.
Acupuncture must always be conducted by a certified practitioner who is both able to identify the proper areas to place needles safely and to provide the actual treatment. At our Orleans physiotherapy clinic, several of our physical therapists are also certified by Acupuncture Canada to provide this therapy, since it is permitted within the scope of physical therapy.
What Conditions Can Acupuncture Treat?
There are a number of conditions and kinds of pain that acupuncture has been proven to treat and alleviate. These include:
- low back pain
- dental pain
- neck pain
- knee pain
- headache and migraine
- painful periods
- rheumatoid arthritis
- tennis elbow
- difficulties related to Fibromyalgia
- facial pain & trigeminal neuralgia
There are also a number of conditions that acupuncture may help to treat, but are outside the scope of physiotherapy (sinus infections, substance addiction, weight loss, etc.), and as such you should consult a traditional Chinese acupuncturist.
What Will My Acupuncture Treatment Look Like?
At our Orleans physical therapy center, our staff can provide acupuncture on top of other treatments such as prescribed exercises, nutritional consultations and massage therapy.
At your acupuncture appointment, you will lay down either on your front, back, or side depending on the area the acupuncture is treating. We will then take very thin, sterile, single-use disposable needles and insert them into the specific points on your body we have determined will best help your condition.
When acupuncture needles are inserted into your body, patients often report feeling a brief sting or an ache at the base of the needle. That generally subsides though. The ache and warmth are often believed to be the achievement of the qi sensation. Needles will be left in your body for anywhere from 5 and 30 minutes depending on your needs. We may return to stimulate the needles throughout the treatment time.
After your treatment, some clients report feeling energized and relaxed while others find they feel a bit sore or "off." Both reactions are entirely normal and are signs that the acupuncture is taking effect.
The number of treatments we recommend will depend on your body, your condition and your needs.
Are There Reasons I Shouldn't Recieve Acupuncture?
While acupuncture is an excellent treatment for both chronic and acute pain, it isn't for everyone. In fact, for some individuals, acupuncture may present more risks than benefits.
Some examples include if you suffer from a bleeding disorder or are currently taking blood thinners. If you are, acupuncture may not be the right treatment for you. Certain meridians may not be used while a patient is pregnant as well.
Our physiotherapists will explain when acupuncture is and isn't an appropriate therapy for you and your condition before starting any course of treatment.
Check in with the Motion Works Physiotherapy Orleans blog regularly for helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy treatment and your health.