Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, if performed by a professional. Professional acupuncturists are trained to perform acupuncture safely and have an obligation to follow ‘clean needle techniques’ in their practices. Only sterile single-use needles are used and infection prevention and control measures are practiced in the clinic.
Acupuncturists are now regulated in the province of Ontario by the CTCMPAO and as members of the College are required to be informed of and abide by all the legal and professional issues that are relevant to them as health care practitioners.
The College (CTCMPAO) is the governing body established by the government of Ontario, under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act, 2006. Standards of practice are outlined by the College with the objective of providing high-quality, safe and ethical health care to the public.
Does acupuncture hurt?
The sensation that arises during needling varies from person to person and also depends on the acupuncture point location; some spots and some people are more sensitive than others. Acupuncture needles are surprisingly thin and generally, acupuncture is not painful. In fact many people are surprised to discover that it actually feels good and is relaxing.
If a sensation is strong or unpleasant, needles can be adjusted accordingly. My clients have often said that they appreciate my gentle approach to needling and I do take time to work with clients that have fear of needles.
What is acupuncture good for?
Acupuncture is most well-known for its’ ability to provide drug-free pain relief. What many are surprised to learn is that acupuncture not only effectively treats a wide variety of acute and chronic ailments, but it addresses the underlying causes as well as the symptoms. Acupuncture is also used by many to prevent diseases and illness and maintain well-being and optimal performance.
Acupuncture is one of the 8 branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine which is a complete medical system in its’ own right and therefore acupuncture can treat everything from internal diseases to skin conditions, common colds and muscular-skeletal issues along with mental-emotional health.
Acupuncture is gaining wider popularity today as people realize its’ usefulness for stress-relief, insomnia, digestive issues, boosting immunity and other common imbalances of modern living.
Here is a link to the list published in 2003 by the World Health Organization: Indications “for which acupuncture has been proved through clinical trials to be an effective treatment:”
How many treatments will I need?
It depends on the individual and the condition being treated. Some people respond immediately to treatment while most should see some benefit after 3-4 treatments. A ‘standard’ course of treatment is often written as 6-10 treatments and this is a fair estimate for many conditions.
Generally, problems that are chronic in nature take longer to address and may require a longer committed approach. Acupuncture is more of a process than a procedure in that 1 or 2 treatments are unlikely to resolve the issue but with continued efforts, results begin to manifest. Frequency of treatments may be higher in the early stages (2x wk) to shift a condition and then weekly to continue to work at it over the coarse of a few weeks or longer.
Some people may choose acupuncture as a regular component of self-care for health maintenance and/or for managing their condition in the long term. In other words, the imbalance may not be 100% resolved but acupuncture provides effective relief from the symptoms in a way that allows the person to function more fully.
Why try acupuncture?
Acupuncture is beneficial to so many conditions and is relatively non-invasive with almost no side effects, especially when compared to Western therapies. Traditional Chinese medicine goes to the root causes of many symptoms in a way that allows people to address the key imbalance that may be manifesting as multiple issues. In helping clients to understand the patterns and that everything that is needed to heal the disease is within them, acupuncture is an empowering method for building a healthy, strong and vital self.