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What is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?

Posted By on 18 July 2014

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Acupuncture is the stimulation of key energy points in the body with needles in order to cure conditions that cause pain. The definition and characterization of these points on the human body is standardized by the World Health Organization (WHO.) This is a tried and true healing modality! Different types of acupuncture (Japanese, Korean, and classical Chinese acupuncture) have been practiced and taught throughout the world since one million B.C.

This ancient Chinese practice is based on the belief that health is determined by chi, the vital life energy that flows through every living thing. This life force moves through the body along pathways in the human body called meridians. Each of these meridians is linked to a specific organ or body system.

Acupuncture treats the human body as a whole. There are twelve meridians with ten corresponding to physical organs (for example, the liver and the kidneys) and two that correspond to overall functioning (such as the San Jiao meridian that is also known as the Triple Burner or Triple Heater.)

If the flow of energy is balanced, the individual enjoys good health. If something interrupts the flow of energy and causes the meridian to be blocked then various problems including acute pain and chronic pain can result.

What Happens During Treatment?

During an acupuncture treatment, the practitioner (called an acupuncturist) inserts thin needles at specific points in the body. Although the patient might feel slight discomfort as the needles are inserted the procedure is virtually painless.
These points are known as “ashi” which means, “ouch” or “oh, yes” in Chinese.

The needles, which are very thin, are sterilized with ethylene oxide or in an autoclave. Traditionally, the upper third of these needles is wound with a thicker wire (typically bronze), or covered in plastic so that it is easier for the practitioner to hold.

Once inserted the needles may be left in place for anywhere from a few minutes to sixty minutes. The acupuncturist may also periodically jiggle the needle slightly to try and remove blocks and activate positive chi.

Prior to the actual treatment, the acupuncturist makes a diagnosis through observations and asking questions. You will be asked about how warm or cold you feel, how much you perspire, your bowel movement, if you are thirsty and what your appetite is like.

The practitioner may also physically treat you by examining your body for tender points and take your pulse in several areas. You might also be asked to stick out your tongue, which tells the naturopathic doctor or acupuncture a great deal about your health.
Results or Effects
Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture claim that the treatment can relieve the following:

Acid Reflux
Acute Pain
Addiction
Alcoholism
Allergies
Anxiety
Arthritis
Bloating
Backache
Bruxism
Bursitis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chronic Pain
Coughing
Detoxification
Edema
Eczema
Fear
Flatulence
Fright
Hiccups
Hypothermia
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Nausea
Neuralgia
Panic Attacks
Period pain
Phantom Pain
Plantar Fascitis
Postoperative illness.
Psoriasis
Sprains
Sinusitis
Smoking
Tendonitis
TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint derangement)
Urinary Incontinence
Vomiting

There are very few side effects to acupuncture. Some people experience minor bruising or bleeding. About 2% of people experience bruising from the needles, which are quite tiny.

If you would like to book an appointment for acupuncture visit the Pinewood Natural Health Centre website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewood.ca or call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.

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