Acupuncture is a 2000-year-old Chinese treatment in which needles are inserted into specific points on the body. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists many different conditions that can legitimately be treated by acupuncture. There are many successful applications of acupuncture for acute and chronic muscle and joint pain. These include but are not limited to:
Acute sprains and strains
Neck and lower back pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Hip and knee pain
Migraine and tension headaches
Osteoarthritis and bursitis
Acupuncture may also be of help as a supplementary treatment for secondary problems arising from muscle and joint pain such as decreased energy, stress, and insomnia.
The term "Medical Acupuncture" refers to acupuncture performed by a licensed health care professional who has training in the health sciences. Practitioners of Medical Acupuncture derive the concepts of disease, dysfunction, and healing from the western biomedical understanding of pathology, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ACUPUNCTURE:
Q: How does it work?
A: Muscle and joint injuries are resolved by a complex set of responses in the body. Sometimes this complex set of responses is exaggerated, only partially triggered, or not triggered at all. Acupuncture treatment is aimed at triggering these responses appropriately, making sure that the body's natural healing mechanisms are enhanced. Acupuncture primarily exerts its influence through the nervous system. The act of inserting an acupuncture needle into the body generally results in the following:
Pain Control. Pain-blocking substances are released locally and by the central nervous system to suppress the transmission of pain.
Inflammation Control. Natural anti-inflammatory chemicals are released locally and inflammation control centers are stimulated in other parts of the body.
Blood and Lymphatic Flow. Enhancement of blood and lymphatic flow locally and throughout the body allows for the delivery of fresh oxygen and the removal of injury debris from the injury site.
Acupuncture acts by controlling pain, controlling inflammation, enhancing blood flow and lymphatic drainage to help promote the healing process. This synergistic effect allows for a quicker recovery from an injury or condition. It also contributes to an overall sense of relaxation.
Q: Does it hurt?
A: The needles used for acupuncture are much smaller than the standard hypodermic needle, are solid not hollow, and have a finely tapered point as opposed to a beveled cutting-edge point. The sensations felt during needle insertion range from feeling nothing at all, to mild tingling, to slight numbness/achiness, to electrical pulsations distant to the site of insertion. All of these sensations usually subside once the needles are removed. Following one to several treatments, it is common for the patient to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation.
Q: Is it safe? Are there side effects?
A: As with any health intervention, there is always a potential for side effects and adverse reactions. The good news is that acupuncture performed by an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner is relatively safe and yields very few minor side effects. These may include but are not limited to a slight discoloration at the acupuncture site that is temporary and not dangerous, minor bleeding, fainting, mild nausea or shock, short-term fatigue or drowsiness, or a short-term increase in pain before relief sets in. An experienced and knowledgeable practictioner also aims to avoid treatment of certain points during pregnancy, over wounded or infectious areas, to individuals who are hemophiliacs, and to individuals who have needle phobia. At the New Hamburg Wellness Centre, sterile disposable needles are used for one treatment and then discarded following treatment.
Q: Am I covered under my Extended Health Care Plan (EHC) for acupuncture treatment?
A: Many EHC insurance policies cover chiropractic care. This would also include acupuncture services which would be billed under the chiropractic coverage umbrella.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted guidelines on basic training for acupuncture providers, standards for safe practice and clinical indications for acupuncture treatment. The basic curriculum includes a firm knowledge of the acupuncture points and channels, and the traditional models of diagnosis and treatment. Dr. John A. Papa, DC, FCCPOR(C) is a graduate of the McMaster Contemporary Medical Acupuncture Program, which meets WHO requirements. The McMaster program has been approved by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) as meeting the training requirements for Board Certification, and by the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA) as meeting the requirements for Practice Membership.