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How Does Acupuncture Work?

At our Manotick physiotherapy center, we practice acupuncture as a means of providing therapeutic treatments to alleviate pain, encourage healing and address chronic conditions alongside other treatments. Here, our physiotherapists explain what acupuncture is and how it works.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a very old kind of traditional medicine that first emerged in China around 2500 years in the past. It involves the piercing of the skin with very small, thin and sterile needles at a selection of 350 points on the body. These points will be chosen based on the kind of pain or condition that a patient is experiencing.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

According to traditional understandings of the practice, acupuncture balances the flow of qi (pronounced chi) throughout a client's body by guiding the flow of this vital energy along pathways and meridians in the body.

In a more modern sense, studies have been done that show acupuncture actually targets the areas where soft tissues, connective tissues and the nerves in your body come together. By placing small needles into these points, your body's natural painkillers and healing processes are triggered. This will not only relax you and help to alleviate pain, but can also help to speed up your healing.

Acupuncture needs to be conducted by a certified practitioner who is able to identify the areas to place each needle and safely provide treatment. At our Manotick physical therapy clinic, several of our physiotherapists are also certified by Acupuncture Canada to provide their specialized therapy, as it is permitted within the scope of physiotherapy.

What Conditions Can Acupuncture Treat?

There are a number of conditions and kinds of pain that acupuncture has been proven to treat and alleviate. These include:

  • sprains
  • neck pain
  • low back pain
  • knee pain
  • osteoarthritis
  • headache and migraine
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • painful periods
  • dental pain
  • tennis elbow
  • sciatica
  • difficulties related to Fibromyalgia
  • facial pain & trigeminal neuralgia

There are also a number of conditions that acupuncture may help to treat, but are outside the scope of physiotherapy (sinus infections, substance addiction, weight loss, etc.), and as such you should consult a traditional Chinese acupuncturist. 

What Will My Acupuncture Treatment Look Like?

AT our physiotherapy center, our staff will often provide acupuncture treatments to our clients in addition to other therapies like prescribed exercises, nutrition consultations or manual therapies. 

At your acupuncture appointment, you will lay down either on your front, back, or side depending on the area the acupuncture is treating. We will then take very thin, sterile, single-use disposable needles and insert them into the specific points on your body we have determined will best help your condition. 

When acupuncture needles are inserted into your body, you may feel a brief stinging or a dull ache at the base of the needle, but that generally subsides.  The warmth and ache are believed to be the achievement of the qi sensation. We will leave the needles in for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes depending on your needs, and may return to stimulate the needles during the treatment time.

After your treatment, some clients report feeling energized and relaxed while others feel a bit sore. Both reactions are normal and are signs that your treatment is taking effect.

The number of treatments we recommend will depend on your body, your condition and your needs.

Are There Reasons I Shouldn't Recieve Acupuncture?

While acupuncture can be an excellent treatment option for both chronic and acute pain, it isn't for everyone. In fact, for some people, acupuncture can present more risks than benefits.

For example, if you are suffering from a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners, acupuncture may not be the right treatment for you.  Certain points may not be used while pregnant.

Our physiotherapists will explain when acupuncture is and isn't an appropriate therapy for you and your condition before starting any course of treatment.

Are you interested in learning more about how acupuncture may be useful for your pain?

Our team of specially trained physiotherapists are here to help.

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Ready to get started on the path to better mobility?

(613) 692-1847