Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used systems of healing in the world. Originating in China some 3,500 years ago, only in the last three decades has it become popular in the North America. Today Acupuncture is widely accepted as a supplementary health care service to the mainstream health care system across Canada as both a treatment for certain conditions, for general wellness and for stress relief. Acupuncture is regulated in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario within Canada. The College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO) regulates the practice of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture in Ontario. Traditional Chinese medicine hold that there are as many as 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body, which are connected by 20 pathways (12 main, 8 secondary) called meridians. These meridians conduct energy, or qi (pronounced “chi”), between the surface of the body and its internal organs. Each point has a different effect on the qi that passes through it. Qi is believed to help regulate balance in the body. It is influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang, which represent positive and negative energy and forces in the universe and human body. Acupuncture is believed to keep the balance between yin and yang, thus allowing for the normal flow of qi throughout the body and restoring health to the mind and body.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of solid filiform acupuncture needles into the skin at specific points on the body to achieve a therapeutic effect. No drug is injected. The needles alone create the beneficial effects of acupuncture. Acupuncture is used to encourage natural healing, improve mood and energy, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of affected areas of the body. It is safe and effective and is often successfully used as an alternative to medications or even surgery. Relief is often obtained with acupuncture when traditional medical therapy has failed. Acupuncture needles do not have a cutting edge like a hypodermic needle, which slices through tissue. Their design allows acupuncture needles to slide smoothly through tissues and makes them unlikely to cause bleeding or damage to underlying structures. Acupuncture points (also referred to as ‘acupoints’) are places on the skin that have a lower resistance to the passage of electricity than the surrounding skin and are part of a network of points that were mapped centuries ago by the Chinese. Most are found along ‘meridians’ or ‘channels’ that are believed to be the pathways by which energy or Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) flows through the body. Acupoints are located either by identifying anatomical landmarks or by the classical method (for example: “the point where the middle finger touches the thigh when standing at attention”). A dull, heavy, or aching feeling often occurs when the needle is correctly placed. This is referred to as ‘de Qi’ and is considered by some traditional acupuncturists to be necessary for acupuncture to be effective. The experience of AFCI is that relief of pain can often be obtained without provoking the de Qi response. Recent fMRI studies indicate that there is a difference in the response of the brain to needling with and without the de Qi sensation.The needles are left in place for 15-30 minutes, and the practitioner may manipulate the needles to strengthen or reduce the flow of Qi. Lifting, twisting, and rotating are some of the needling techniques a practitioner may use.
Symptoms & conditions commonly treated by Acupuncture
Headache, migraine, low back pain, joint pain, foot pain, auto injuries, sport injuries, stiff neck, rotator cuff pain, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, neuralgia, sciatica, shingles, gout, fibromyalgia, dental pain