Acupuncture has been used since ancient times to treat many ailments and disorders of the human body. Qi, or vital energy, circulates along pathways called meridians. In a healthy person, Qi flows freely along these channels. However, if it is disrupted and unbalanced, pain or illness may occur.
To restore Qi to an ideal flow, an acupuncturist inserts fine, sterile needles into specific points along the meridians to stimulate blocked areas and re-direct the energy to its correct path. Once the balance is restored, the body is able to return to its fullest state of function and well-being.
HOW CAN ACUPUNCTURE HELP YOU?
Acupuncture promotes natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity, and both physical and emotional health. The use of acupuncture has been shown to effectively treat a wide variety of health concerns. Acupuncture is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of the following list of conditions.
Though this list offers a view of the breadth of conditions that are treated successfully with acupuncture, please note that there are additional conditions which centuries of empirical data have shown acupuncture treats effectively but for which there is little or no modern research. If you have questions about a condition not listed on this page, please contact us.
In an official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the WHO has listed the following symptoms, diseases and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture:
- Muscle pain, swelling, stiffness and weakness
- Localized traumatic injuries, sprains, strains, tendinitis, contractures
- Work and sports related injuries
- Low back and/or neck strain
- “Frozen shoulder”
- “Tennis elbow”
- Headache and migraine
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Facial palsy (early stage, within three to six months)
- Paresis following stroke
- Peripheral neuropathies
- Ménière’s disease
- Nocturnal enuresis
- Neurogenic bladder dysfunction
- Intercostal neuralgia
- Disc problems
RESPIRATORY SYSTEM CONDITIONS
- Acute sinusitis
- Acute rhinitis
- Common cold
- Acute tonsillitis
- Acute bronchitis
- Bronchial asthma
CONDITIONS OF THE EYE, EAR, NOSE & MOUTH
- Acute conjunctivitis
- Central retinitis
- Myopia (in children)
- Cataract (without complications)
- Toothaches, post extraction pain
- Acute and chronic pharyngitis
- Spasms of esophagus and cardiac
- Irritable bowel and colitis
- Acute and chronic gastritis
- Gastric hyperacidity (i.e. acid reflux)
- Chronic duodenal ulcer (pain relief)
- Acute duodenal ulcer (without complication)
- Acute and chronic colitis
- Acute bacillary dysentery
- Paralytic ileus
- Dysmenorrhea (painful period)
- Benign irregular menstruation
- Benign amenorrhea
- Menopause syndrome
- Somatization disorder
ACUPUNCTURE FOR FEMALE HEALTH: PMS, PREGNANCY & MENOPAUSE
PMS: Cramping and period pain is caused by an overproduction of prostaglandins in the muscle wall of the uterus. Prostaglandins increase when hormones are out of balance — in particular when estrogen levels are too high and progesterone levels are too low. Symptoms associated include nausea, headaches, acne, muscle cramping, bloating, mood swings, irritability, and depression. Acupuncture works not only to provide symptom relief but also to address the underlying condition causing them. Treatment for PMS, painful periods and cycle regulation requires at least three menstrual cycles.
ACUPUNCTURE FOR IVF: Acupuncture has been used to optimize women’s fertility for over 2000 years. Recent clinical studies show that combining acupuncture with your IVF/IUI can reduce stress, increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, regulate fertility hormones, promote healthy follicle development and optimize chances of implantation and full-term births.
MORNING SICKNESS: As the body changes, hormone levels as well as blood sugar levels fluctuate contributing to the nausea. In addition to this, deficiencies of B Vitamins and zinc can be causative factors. Other common triggers include stress and fatigue. Acupuncture can help ease this period by decreasing the sympathetic nervous system to reduce stress and calm the mind. By relaxing the body and returning it a more “rest-and-digest” state, our parasympathetic is more active and blood circulation is improved to the digestive system allowing the stomach to calm and settle.
BLEEDING & THREATENED MISCARRIAGE: Bleeding, low back pain and cramping occur in about 40% of pregnancies in the first trimester but can also happen at any stage of a pregnancy and should always be taken seriously. Most women who report bleeding but have a closed cervix and a fetal heartbeat are simply sent back home and told to ‘wait and see’’. This often leaves women feeling helpless, lonely and anxious. Research has shown that having continuous support as well as reduced stress levels helps to significantly reduce the chances of miscarriage when bleeding is present. Acupuncture helps by promoting relaxation and balancing hormone levels as well as inhibiting uterine contractions.
SCIATICA, PELVIC & HIP PAIN: As your pregnancy progresses your body releases the hormone relaxin, which helps your tendons and ligaments loosen to allow widening of the hips and the pelvic outlet. This process can often lead to sciatica and hip pain which can be debilitating and reduce the mothers mobility as well as her quality of sleep. With acupuncture we can target the specific muscles involved in sciatica and hip pain and help them relax, reducing inflammation and pain and allowing women to resume their daily activities.
HEARTBURN & CONSTIPATION: Two of the most common digestive disorders in pregnancy are heartburn and constipation, both unpleasant and difficult to treat with western medicine. Acupuncture combined with dietary changes offers relief of both of these conditions, quite often overnight. Women do not need to suffer with these symptoms during their pregnancy. When properly treated both heartburn and constipation are easily improved.
BREECH & MALPRESENTATION: In a breech presentation the baby’s bum or feet sit above the cervix rather than its head. This presentation often results in C-section due to the risks of laboring with the baby in such a position. For centuries Chinese Medicine has been addressing these complications with a technique called moxibustion. Moxibustion is the burning of herbs over certain acupuncture points on the feet, using heat to increase fetal movement & encourage the baby to turn. A trained acupuncturist will teach you how to do this treatment at home. It is ideal to begin treatment no later than 34 weeks pregnant.
PRE-BIRTH ACUPUNCTURE (Cervical Ripening): Pre-birth acupuncture consists of a set of weekly acupuncture sessions beginning around 36-37 weeks and continuing until the commencement of labour. They are intended to prepare a woman for a harmonious birth and positive experience. By balancing hormones, calming the sympathetic nervous system and improving blood flow to the reproductive organs this series of treatments is beneficial to ripen her cervix, calm her mind, and strengthen her blood and energy in order for her mind and body to be ripe and ready for a smooth labor and birth. Studies show some very promising statistics on the positive effects of cervical ripening. These positive effects include shorter duration of labor, 35% reduction in medical inductions, 32% lower cesarean rates and even a 31% reduction in requests for epidural with an overall increase in natural normal vaginal deliveries.
LABOUR INDUCTION: Acupuncture is an alternative approach to encourage women to go into labour spontaneously by stimulating uterine contractions. These contractions start slowly and increase with intensity and frequency, allowing your body to produce natural endorphins to manage any discomfort. Induction treatments are preformed after 40 weeks; it may take a few consecutive days of treatment to induce labour.
MENOPAUSE: Chinese medicine has been effectively treating women’s hormonal imbalances for over 2000 years, and provides an effective, natural, safe alternative to hormone therapy. Acupuncture can effectively treat hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, night sweats, and many other symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause. Acupuncture brings your hormones into balance and reduces anxiety through a process called homeostatic regulation. It has been shown to improve the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, which is the mechanism responsible for balancing reproductive hormones.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE?
To prepare for your treatment wear loose, comfortable clothing and please ensure that you have eaten something. Refrain from overexertion or stressful situations following your treatment; make time to rest & relax and let the treatment assimilate.
WHY DOES MY ACUPUNCTURIST TAKE MY PULSE?
There are three pulse positions on each wrist, each corresponding to a specific organ. Your acupuncturist will palpate these looking for any imbalances.
WHY DOES MY ACUPUNCTURIST LOOK AT MY TONGUE?
The tongue is a map of the body that reflects the general health of the organs. Acupuncturists look at the color, shape, and coating on the tongue.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative. Therefore, we typically suggest that a patient has six treatments before we reassess. However, in the case of an acute condition such as a cold or short-term pain, results can be seen more quickly. However, if you have had a chronic issue, it may take a longer course of treatment to see significant changes. The beauty of acupuncture as a holistic medicine is that you may see changes in areas such as your digestion, mood, or sleep cycles even if this is something that we are not focusing on with our treatments.
DO THE NEEDLES HURT?
Acupuncture is sensational, and this feeling varies from patient to patient and from point to point. Patients should feel a slight sensation as the needles contact the Qi – the feeling of energy spreading and moving around the needle. You may experience a vague numbness, heaviness, tingling, or dull ache where the acupuncture needle has been inserted. All these reactions are good and a sign that the treatment is working. Afterward you may feel energized or a deep sense of relaxation.
HOW DEEP DO THE NEEDLES GO?
The depth of the insertion varies depending on the target area, but needles are typically inserted at depths ranging between 1/8’’ to 1 1⁄2’’.
IS ACUPUNCTURE SAFE?
Acupuncture is extremely safe when done by a trained and registered acupuncturist using sterile, single-use needles. It is a natural, drug-free therapy with no side effects except feelings of relaxation.