Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific areas of the body (acupuncture points) to bring about a therapeutic effect such as pain relief. Although derived from ancient Chinese medicine, modern or anatomical acupuncture uses the science of Western medicine for diagnosis and treatment planning, and adds the technique of acupuncture needling, thereby combining the best of both worlds. In recent years, major hospitals and health professionals have been researching acupuncture and integrating this ancient technique into their modern medical practices.
Acupuncture practiced by a licensed health professional is safe, effective, and almost completely free of side effects. Only sterile, disposable needles are used, so there is no risk of transmission of disease. Acupuncture needles are atraumatic, meaning that their design allows them to slide smoothly through tissues and makes them unlikely to cause bleeding or damage to underlying structures. Acupuncture is not painful; in fact many people do not feel the needles at all.
Acupuncture is very effective in treating a wide variety of disorders such as headaches, back and neck pain, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, sciatica and arthritis.
ACUPUNCTURE – HOW DOES IT WORK?
The traditional Chinese explanation for the benefits of acupuncture involves the balance and flow of energy, or Qi (pronounced chee) in the body. In Western medicine we know acupuncture stimulates the release of chemicals called endorphins, resulting in pain relief, general relaxation, reduced inflammation and natural healing. However, there is still much that is unknown about the many beneficial effects of acupuncture, and research is ongoing.
ACUPUNCTURE AND PHYSIOTHERAPY
Physiotherapists study acupuncture in post-graduate courses and use acupuncture to treat conditions that are within the physiotherapy scope of practice – mainly muscle, joint and nerve pain. Unlike other acupuncture practitioners, a Physiotherapist uses acupuncture as part of a global treatment plan that may also involve exercise, education and manual therapy.
Several physiotherapists at York Rehab are certified by The Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute (AFCI) in the practice of acupuncture, and we integrate it into our physiotherapy treatment plans when appropriate.
For more information and research articles, please refer to AFCI at www.afcinstitute.com.