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Medical Acupuncture is an effective and simple treatment approach based on current concepts of neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and pathophysiology. Insertion of solid needles and use of electrical stimulation are the foundation of this approach. The benefits of acupuncture treatments include muscle relaxation, pain modulation, changes in autonomic activity (vasomotor tone, cardiac rhythm, peristalsis), diverse neuroendocrine and immune responses, general relaxation, and a feeling of psychophysical well being. Medical Acupuncture is generally performed by MDs, physiotherapists and chiropractors who use it as a tool to complement their regular practices, dealing mainly with pain related disorders.

Relaxation of “stuck” myofibrils, increased local blood supply, the release of spinal dynorphin and encephalin (endogenous opioid compounds) have all been put forward to explain the rehabilitative effects of trigger point needling.

From the early 1970s when only a few medical practitioners used acupuncture, there is now widespread use and integration of alternate stimulation techniques developed from Traditional Chinese Acupuncture. (Stimulation techniques developed from Traditional Chinese Acupuncture include Dry needling, Electro-acupuncture and TENS, Trigger point injection and dorsal column stimulation.)

The results of controlled studies which have been extensively reviewed show good evidence for the short term effectiveness of acupuncture in many pain states.

Acupuncture is not regulated by all provinces in Canada. It is therefore important that you choose a practitioner who is trained according to World Health Organization’s Standards and fully certified through a recognized, reputable program from a university or college.

Acupuncture may be very useful in improving chronic or recurring symptoms such as pain. However, although acupuncture may help you to feel better, it will not cure a serious underlying problem, such as lung disease, heart disease, tumors or cancers. It is, therefore, important that you continue to seek normal medical advice and maintain essential medical treatment. A medical acupuncturist will be able to discuss your medical problems with you, will understand the results of medical tests you have had, and will understand what medication you are taking and why.

Acupuncture produces many of its effects by stimulating nerve receptors in skin and muscle. Various substances are released that cause an increase of local blood flow that encourages tissue healing.

  • Acupuncture helps to reduce pain locally where the needles are inserted and throughout the body.
  • Acupuncture has a calming effect and produces well-being.
  • Acupuncture inactivates myofascial trigger points.
  • Acupuncture has effects on the brain.
  • The effects of acupuncture accumulate when repeated.

The contemporary scientific explanation of acupuncture is that needling certain points in the body stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the brain, spinal cord and muscles. These chemicals will change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and by promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Can Acupuncture Help You?

Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment or as an adjunct to other therapeutic interventions. The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of:

  • Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, neck and back pain, sports injuries, sciatica, osteoarthritis, neuritis and facial pain
  • Digestive disorders: irritable bowel, constipation, diarrhea and gastritis
  • Menstrual and reproductive problems: dysmenorrhea and perimenopausal symptoms
  • Urinary tract disorders: prostatitis and bladder dysfunction
  • Respiratory problems: sinusitis, asthma, sore throat and recurrent respiratory tract infections
  • Stress and psycho-emotional problems
  • Addicitions