Help Circulate Your Body’s Vital Energy with Acupuncture

Get pricked! Making its way from traditional Chinese medical practices to mainstream Western treatments, acupuncture is being used to treat a wide variety of conditions

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For those worried about being uncomfortable, acupuncture is a nearly painless procedure

Dedicated to helping an individual’s vital energy circulate throughout the body, acupuncture is becoming an accepted practice in Western medicine

One of the cornerstones of traditional Chinese medicine is acupuncture – an ancient healing method that’s starting to find its way into conventional Western medical practice.

The therapy is based on the premise that “qi” (a person’s vital energy) circulates throughout the body along meridians (or channels) that connect to specific organs or bodily functions. Illness or disease occurs when the flow of qi is disrupted or blocked. 

Acupuncture Treatment

During acupuncture, a licensed acupuncture practitioner uses very fine needles to stimulate specific sites on the body (called acupuncture points) to remove blockages and restore the flow of qi. The needles are usually left in place for 15 to 30 minutes, during which time the therapist might rotate or manipulate them, depending on the condition being treated. Treatment usually involves 10 to 15 weekly sessions, followed by monthly visits to maintain well-being. 

The stainless-steel needles used in acupuncture are extremely thin and flexible, with a sharp but rounded tip. Unlike hypodermic needs, acupuncture needles slide smoothly and largely painlessly through the skin. Most practitioners use sterilized disposable needles to prevent the risk of infection.

Benefits vs. Possible Side-Effects

Acupuncture has been used as an alternative approach, or in conjunction with conventional Western medicine, to treat a wide range of conditions, including headaches, back pain, arthritis, whiplash, digestive disorders, allergies, asthma, anxiety, endometriosis and infertility. Many medical practitioners, like physiotherapists, have started using acupuncture as an adjunct to conventional treatments.

One of the advantages of acupuncture is that it has few side-effects. Adverse events are rare and include bruising, fatigue, dizziness, and sweating. Soreness at the acupuncture sites during and after a treatment can occur as well, but it’s usually mild and short-term.

If you have a persistent health problem that isn’t responding to conventional treatment, talk to your doctor about the possible benefits of acupuncture. Note: Pregnant women and people with hemophilia should consult their health-care professional before going for treatment.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.