General Treatment FAQ's


What is acupuncture?

One of the oldest forms of healing in the world, acupuncture is a safe, natural and drug-free health care system. Based on the central tenet that the body must be in balance to function at its peak, acupuncture addresses the flow of energy (called chi) throughout the body along specific pathways called meridians. When this energy is flowing smoothly, the body is in balance and good health ensues. When the flow of energy is blocked, illness may result.Acupuncture is the careful insertion of sterile, disposable, hair-thin needles in exact points that relate to specific body functions along these meridians. This balances the energy flow and allows the body to begin its own healing process. Regular acupuncture promotes vitality and creates a strong source of energy for daily living.According to the Federal Drug Administration, Americans visit acupuncturists nine to twelve million times a year. Among the numerous health organizations that recognize the benefits of acupuncture, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for many conditions. 

How does acupuncture work?

Studies indicate that acupuncture produces its effects through regulating the nervous system, thus aiding the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, preclinical studies have documented acupuncture's effects, but they have not been able to fully explain how acupuncture works within the framework of the Western system of medicine that is commonly practiced in the United States.

In addition, researchers believe that acupuncture alters brain chemistry through the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones thus affecting the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person's blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature. The National Institutes of Health has funded a variety of research projects on acupuncture. Visit the NCCAM Web site, or call the NCCAM Clearinghouse for more information on scientific findings about acupuncture. 

How effective is acupuncture?

Among the numerous health organizations that recognize the benefits of acupuncture, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for many conditions. Promising results have emerged, showing efficacy of acupuncture in, for example, adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations--addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma--in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative, or be included in a comprehensive management program.

A recent study found that acupuncture provides pain relief, improves function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee, and serves as an effective complement to standard care. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.

Here are just a few of the many study results published recently:

A major study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine (December 2004) found that acupuncture relieves pain and improves function for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

The British Medical Journal reported that weekly acupuncture sessions markedly eased pain and stiffness in patients taking prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and was effective for treatment of chronic headaches, particularly migraines.

OBGYN News recently carried an article showing that acupuncture reduces the rate of miscarriage of in vitro fertilization procedures.

Time magazine (February 2005) ran a series of articles on pain management and identified acupuncture for the treatment of headaches and osteoarthritis.

The American Society of Neurorehabilitation published a study that suggests acupuncture provides “statistically significant” benefits in physical functioning and recovery when used as an adjunct to conventional stroke rehabilitation measures.

Acupuncture is offered in an array of therapies at many well-known hospitals throughout the country, including the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Read the NIH Consensus Statement on Acupuncture to learn what scientists say about the use and effectiveness of acupuncture for a variety of conditions. 

What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?

The World Health Organization recognizes over 200 health conditions that can be effectively treated with acupuncture. 

Conditions that our acupuncturists have successfully treated since 2009 include:

Allergies, Anxiety, Arthritis, Asthma, Back Pain, Depression, Digestive Problems, Gynecological Disorders, Headaches/Migraines, High Blood Pressure, Immune System Deficiency, Infertility, Joint Pain, Labor Induction, Morning Sickness, Pain, Plantar Fasciitis, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Respiratory Disorders, Sciatica, Stress and Tension, Trigeminal Neuralgia.

When considering acupuncture, do all of the same things you would do when choosing a new doctor: Talk to people you trust and ask for recommendations. Check the practitioner's training and credentials. Ask about treatment costs and your insurance coverage. Interview the practitioner. Ask about the treatment procedures used and how likely they are to help your condition. 

How much pressure is used?

A: It depends completely on the client. It is a misconception that particular techniques, such as shiatsu, are deeper than others. Please feel free to inform your therapist of the degree of pressure you would prefer.

Is more pressure better?
A: Not necessarily. Patients feel a great deal of muscular relaxation even with a light touch. The “no pain, no gain” theory does not have to apply here. 

If I have trouble deciding on what treatment is best for me, can I consult with a therapist first?

Yes. Our therapists are available to help you make the best-suited decision, centred around your needs and interests. You can consult with us by phone before making your appointment.  

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