Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that has been utilized for over three thousand years. Originally thought to have roots in China, there is some speculation that with the recent finding of ‘Otzi the Iceman’ in Northern Italy, that acupuncture may pre-date this by two thousand years. It wasn’t until the last forty years, that acupuncture gained popularity in North America. When Richard Nixon made a trip to China in 1971, one of the journalists stumbled upon it while seeking treatment for pain after an emergency appendectomy. Since then, Acupuncture has flourished and is now recognized as a viable treatment option for many conditions.
Today, acupuncture is used globally to relieve symptoms and ease pain. Acupuncture is safe, natural, drug-free and effective. It is also a cost-effective modality used in many developing countries to ease the effects of HIV/AIDS and Malaria where Western medicine isn’t always readily available. Acupuncture is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) for treating many common health issues such as pain, digestive disturbances, migraines, asthma, allergies, PMS, menopause, urinary difficulties, hormonal imbalances, insomnia, mental-emotional issues, TMJ, common cold, hyper/hypotension, arthritis, stroke, sciatica, induction of labour, to name a few.
Upon an initial assessment, a registered acupuncturist will ask a series of questions, look at the tongue, and feel the wrists for the quality of the pulse. This helps to determine a diagnosis and aids in developing an accurate treatment plan. The treatment involves placement of sterilized, one-use-only needles into ‘acu-points’ along ‘meridians’ or energy pathways. The needles are 1/10th the diameter of a hypodermic needle. Once the needles are in, the acupuncturist may manipulate the needle to get a certain sensation of the energy or ‘Qi’. This may feel like a dull ache or an electric sensation which usually dissipates over the duration of the treatment. Once the needles are removed, the patient often feels relaxed and may feel a little ‘light-headed’ post-treatment, which is normal. Depending on what the acupuncturist is treating, and whether the condition is acute or chronic—the patient may need a series of treatments. Sometimes results are felt immediately, but more often it usually takes a few sessions to feel the benefits.
Modern research has shown that stimulating an acupuncture point causes an increase in the production of endorphins and activates the immune and endocrine systems.
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