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How Does Acupuncture Work?

At Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre, we practice acupuncture as a therapeutic treatment for alleviating pain, encouraging healing and improving chronic conditions alongside other treatments. Here, our Nepean physiotherapists explain what acupuncture is and how it works. 

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a very old form of traditional medicine that first emerged in China around 2500 years ago. It involves the piercing of the skin with very small, thin and sterile needles at a selection of 350 designated points on the body depending on the kind of pain or condition that the patient is experiencing.

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 modern terms, studies have been done that show acupuncture targets areas where the tissues, connective tissues and nerves of your body converge. By placing these small, painless, sterile single-use needles into these points, your body's natural painkillers and healing processes are triggered. This can not only relax you and help alleviate pain but can also help to speed the healing of your tissues. 

Acupuncture must be conducted by a certified practitioner who can both identify the proper areas to place each needle and safely provide the actual treatment. At our Nepean physiotherapy clinic, several of our physical therapists are certified by Acupuncture Canada to provide their specialized therapy, as it is permitted within the scope of physiotherapy.

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
  • neck pain
  • osteoarthritis
  • knee pain
  • headache and migraine
  • difficulties related to Fibromyalgia
  • painful periods
  • facial pain & trigeminal neuralgia
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • sprains
  • tennis elbow
  • sciatica
  • dental pain

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 Nepean physiotherapy center, our staff will often provide acupuncture in addition to other treatments like prescribed exercises, massage therapy or nutrition consultations. 

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, you may feel a brief stinging or a dull ache at the base of the needle, but that generally subsides.  The warmth and ache are believed to be the achievement of the qi sensation. We will leave the needles in for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes depending on your needs, and may return to stimulate the needles during 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. 

For example, if you are suffering from a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners, acupuncture may not be the right treatment for you.  Certain points may not be used while pregnant.

Our physiotherapists will explain when acupuncture is and isn't an appropriate therapy for you and your condition before starting any course of treatment.

Are you curious about how acupuncture can help your condition?

Our physical therapists are happy to talk to you about this treatment option.

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Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.

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(613) 727-5755