What Should I Know Before My Acupuncture Treatment?

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+ How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture stimulates your body's natural healing mechanisms, helping to restore physical and mental balance. Traditional Chinese explanations use the concept of restoring the normal flow of the vital energy that circulates along special channels all throughout the body. Although this model is very useful in the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to health care, I tend to adopt a more modern view.

Modern research has shown that he insertion of acupuncture needles and stimulation of known points elicits a complex set of responses in the peripheral, central and autonomic nervous systems, including the release of chemicals and hormones involved in pain transmission, behaviour, muscle and visceral activity. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture stimulates the body's natural healing abilities, reducing inflammation, and promoting physical and emotional well-being.

+ Is Acupuncture Safe?

Most patients find that the treatments are relaxing and cause minimal discomfort. People with pacemakers should avoid electrical stimulation unless approved by their cardiologist. Women in early pregnancy and hemophiliacs should be treated with caution.

+ Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Acupuncture does not cause any significant discomfort in the majority of patients. The needles are very fine and do not damage the tissues when inserted. People experience differing sensations with acupuncture. Most patients feel only minimal discomfort as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there should be no significant discomfort. For many people, acupuncture is a pleasant experience due to the sense of well-being that usually follows the treatment.

 Medical Acupuncture  

Medical Acupuncture  

+ How Many Treatments Will Be Required?

The number of treatments will vary with every individual and the condition being treated. For acute problems, only a few treatments may be required. For complex or longstanding conditions, one to three treatments a week for several weeks may be recommended with less frequent treatment as improvement occurs. Treatment sessions usually last between 15 and 30 minutes. Relief may be immediate or occur within a few hours, or after a few days. In some conditions, several sessions may be required before improvement is noticed.

Acupuncture can be used as the only form of therapy or it may be combined successfully with other forms of medical or chiropractic care.

+ Is There Any Special Advice to Follow Before or After Treatment?

Patients are advised not to eat unusually large meals before or after treatments. It is best to avoid alcohol or sedatives for four hours prior to treatment. Pain medications may be taken as required.

If possible, a short rest after treatment is desirable, but not essential. Some patients feel unusually relaxed and prefer to plan activities accordingly. Strong exercise is not recommended immediately after treatment.

For painful conditions, avoid strenuous activity for 48 hours after treatment. Alcohol, and ideally caffeine and cigarettes, should be avoided for at least two hours before or after treatments. Medications, as directed by your physician, may be taken as required.