What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine—in fact, at more than 5,000 years old, it is one of the oldest known forms of practicing medicine. Acupuncture describes the insertion of extremely thin needles into the skin of the body as a means of treating pain. The needles are placed in strategic points, and are, for the most part, painless. Traditionally, Chinese medicine believed that acupuncture could help re-align or balance the body’s flow of energy, or life force (chi). Once adopted into Western practice, however, practitioners began to look at acupuncture as a means to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue by stimulating key points within the body. Mississauga acupuncture practitioners believe that this stimulation of the nerves can help boost the body’s natural painkillers as well as increase blood flow.
How does it work?
Original acupuncture needles were made of stone, bamboo, or bone. Now, however, acupuncture needles are made of stainless steel, and are sterilized and disposable to prevent any potential for infection. Each acupuncture practitioner will have his or her own unique style, but the basic Mississauga acupuncture procedure will include:
- An initial evaluation: this may take up to 60 minutes. Your Mississauga acupuncture practitioner may ask you about your symptoms, your lifestyle, the parts of your body that hurt, and he or she may examine your tongue, your face, and your pulse.
- The explanation: your practitioner will explain the treatment site to you and let you know if you need to remove any clothing (a gown, towel, or sheet will be provided).
- The Treatment: you’ll be asked to lie on a padded table. Your practitioner will then insert between five and 20 needles. A mild aching sensation may be experienced, but the needles generally don’t cause pain. Your practitioner may manipulate the needles, and they will remain in place for approximately 10 to 20 minutes before removal.
What can acupuncture be used to treat?
Mississauga acupuncture is known to relieve pain and discomfort associated with:
- Headaches, including both tension and migraine headaches
- Dental pain
- Back and neck pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Labor pain
- Chemotherapy-induced or postoperative nausea
Studies have even indicated that acupuncture may increase the success rate of In Vitro Fertilization.
Are there risks?
The risks of acupuncture are generally low—as long as you consult a certified practitioner. However, as with any new procedure, you should check with your doctor before trying Mississauga acupuncture to make sure it is right for your body.The most prominent risks of acupuncture include:
- Soreness, minor bleeding, or bruising at the needle sites
- Infection, especially if an unlicensed practitioner fails to use sterile, disposable needles
- Organ injury is an extremely rare complication that may occur if an inexperienced or unlicensed practitioner pushes the needles in too far. This is extremely rare, but is an important reminder about why it is crucial to choose a licensed and experienced Mississauga acupuncture practitioner.
The risk of any of these complications is significantly reduced if you consult an experienced practitioner, but be sure to inform your Mississauga acupuncture practitioner about any allergies or conditions you may have as well. Some conditions may increase the risk of acupuncture. These conditions may include:
- Bleeding disorders or a blood thinner prescription may increase chances of bleeding or bruising from the needles
- A pacemaker: some forms of acupuncture apply mild electrical pulses that can interfere with a pacemaker’s operation
- Pregnancy: certain kinds of acupuncture may stimulate labor, which could result in premature delivery
As with any procedure, it is important that you consult with your doctor to determine whether or not Mississauga acupuncture is right for you, and it is also important to inform your certified acupuncture practitioner about any medical conditions that you may have.