Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which also includes dietetics, pharmacopoeia (herbology), exercises (Qi Gong) and massage (Tui Na).
Besides aiming for the long-term disappearing of symptoms and soothing of pain, the personalized and global approach of acupuncture helps identify the underlying causes for health problems (stress, emotions, traumatisms, life hygiene and environmental factors).
Everyone does not necessarily have the same symptoms for the same illness. That is why Traditional Chinese Medicine does not address symptoms one by one, but rather takes into account the unique characteristics of each person, namely heredity and background, so as to offer personalized treatment.
The concept of Yin-Yang equilibrium might appear archaic or exotic, yet it corresponds to occidental medicine’s functional balance of the human body systems, of the nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic), of the acid-base “pH” balance and of the immune and homeostatic potential.
Is It For You?
Acupuncture offers you complementary and alternative solutions to occidental medicine (O.M.), more precisely in the following situations:
- Your medical record is normal, and even though you experience pain or discomfort, your condition does not require pharmacological treatment or a therapeutic act prescribed by a doctor.
- You wish to optimize the diverse effects of diverse therapies (ex: physiotherapy, chiropractic).
- When the taking of medicine is countraindicated (ex: hormones for menopause, pregnancy), inefficient or the cause of too many side effects and that your doctor does not oppose to this choice.
- To prevent illnesses by reducing the effects of stress and strengthening your immune system.
- To stop or slow the progression of minor health problems. In this case, ideally consult at the first symptoms.
- When you need a guide who will take the time to identify the causes that are making your symptoms worse, or when you need life hygiene tips.
- For illnesses with sometimes limited solutions (tinnitus, hiccups, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, “pinched nerve”, etc.).
- To give yourself another chance when you have “tried everything”. Your body might react to acupuncture where other therapies have failed, because the approach is quite different.
How does it work?
Different techniques may be used during an acupuncture session. The main technique consists in inserting very thin needles in the body or applying a LASER at specific points of the body in order to:
- activate the self-healing (immune and homeostatic systems) and pain-relieving resources of the patient (endorphins, serotonin, adenosine, enkephalin);
- help restore the body’s systems (immune, nervous, hormonal, visceral and muscular) normal functions
- create a natural relaxation state by increasing serotonin, which reduces stress and state of emergency;
- reduce tension and muscular spasms by initiating vasodilatation and deactivation of dysfunctional neuromuscular junction;
- promote tissue repair.
Despite the many benefits of acupuncture for many problems, it does not cure severe illnesses such as cancer, heart diseases and AIDS.
Do I Have to Believe it?
The question !
Acupuncture has given results on babies and animals which did not believe in their treatment.
Let us not talk about the sceptic ones who had positive results themselves (they are today among our best promoters!). This shows that a person’s will or belief is not required for there to be results in acupuncture treatment. Furthermore, the mystery of acupuncture has been solved and proven by scientific research. See : Renowned Medecine
While placebo effect, a common human phenomenon, might sometimes add up to the initial effect of any treatment (whether it be medical or alternative), it will always be difficult to evaluate its precise impact. However, there are no doubts that the body initiates its self-healing mechanisms more easily when the mind trusts and does not hinder the process.
Isn’t it so with everything in life? Does believing in one’s success not increase the chances of attaining one’s objectives? This is a reality that we should celebrate, not fear.
Type, Quantity and Frequency
The treatment or therapy is personalized. It is chosen according to the reason why you are consulting, your metabolism, your current state and your background. For the same problem, there exist a number of points that can be “prescribed” and that are different from person to person. This prescription is “tailored” for you, which explains why there are no or very rare undesirable side effects to acupuncture..
The number of required treatments and their frequency depend on the severity, the chronicity, the evolution of the disease, but mostly the patient’s vitality. Constant, regular treatment may sometimes be advisable – just like medicine
As the response varies from one individual to another, and depending on whether it is an acute or chronic condition, the prognosis can be established at the first appointment or over the course of treatments.
What is a Session Like?
First acupuncture session (75 to 90 min.) :
- Confidential form: current health, medical history, medication, traumatisms, etc.
- Meeting about the reason behind your consultation, your expectations and your questions. I listen to your life story to find links between your genetics, your environment and your habits which can affect your health.
- Physical examination, taking of pulse, observation of tongue, blood pressure.
- • Explanation of treatment and demonstration of puncture.
- • Comfortably installed in a lying position, you receive the most appropriate application of the treatment among the following:
- Insertion of fine acupuncture needles (unique and sterile usage) – a practice that is almost painless and completely safe;
- Application of LASER, a painless technique;
- Application of heat produced by the combustion of an Artemisia stick or “moxa” on the needles or by a sweeping motion;
- Application of suction cups on points or sliding of suction cups along a meridian or along muscular tensions;
- Electrical stimulation
The patient thus rests for 15 to 30 minutes in a peaceful atmosphere.
Follow-up appointments (50 to 60 min.) :
- Discussion about evolution of symptoms, improvements and other benefits obtained.
- Treatment, followed by a moment of rest.
- For the visuals: Video of a session. Produced by l’Association des Acupuncteurs du Québec.
In general, acute and recent health problems as well as myofascial pain often tend to be diminished more quickly than chronic functional problems and tendinous lesions.
Though there are sometimes results at the first session (in many cases great relaxation, sleep, decrease of pain and tension). The benefits more often occur starting from the third appointment. It is imperative to give the body time to reprogram itself, especially with problems that took years to develop. Therefore, the repeated “message” of the treatment restores the system’s balance and the benefits remain in a longer-term period.me.
If needed, your acupuncturist will suggest routine sessions at the change of seasons or as prevention to critical periods (ex: allergies, periods of stress, etc.).
- Acupuncture has been practiced for more than 3000 years and is still being recognized by almost a quarter of the world’s population as a complete medicine.
- The World Health Organisation acknowledges acupuncture as being efficient in the treatment of up to 43 illnesses (of which a list was made in 1979). http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/pdf/s4926e/s4926e.pdf
- • Since 1997, the National Institute of Health of the United States has been financing research concerning the efficiency of acupuncture as a medicine:
- A growing number of doctors recommend acupuncture to their patients, for cases related to the CSST and the SAAQ
- • In some countries, like France, only doctors have the right to practise acupuncture.
- The majority of insurance companies issue refunds for a great part of the costs. After a work accident or a car accident of which the medical prescription for acupuncture is accepted by the C.S.S.T. and the S.A.A.Q., the cost of the treatment can be covered.
• There are many scientific proofs about the impact of acupuncture, including the following :
- • Science explains the effect of acupuncture on pain control with the gate system (neurological action which closes the gate at the sign of pain) and of diffuse noxious inhibitory control (DNIC) (where the central nervous system releases anti-pain hormones)
- • More recently, American neuroscientifics showed that a well-known physiological mechanism, the increase in adenosine, could explain the benefits of acupuncture on certain local pains:
- The best reference in scientific research about acupuncture: Evidence Based Acupuncture https://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/ Groupe de Recherche et d’Études en Acupuncture: http://www.gera.fr/
- Also, trigger points causing referred pain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigger_point ), coincide with many acupuncture points and meridians (http://triggerpoints.net/).
- The nerve pathways (dermatomes) identified and schematised by neuroscience coincide with many acupuncture meridians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatome_%28anatomy%29).
- In 2005, German researchers proved the existence of acupuncture meridians by taking pictures of them thanks to an infrared thermography camera.
Acupuncture and Law
- In Quebec, the Office des professions has recognized the efficiency and credibility of traditional Chinese medicine. In 1994, the National Assembly adopted a bill which eventually led to the creation of the Ordre des acupuncteurs du Québec (OAQ) on July 1st 1995. This bill aimed to protect the public by implementing certain conditions to becoming an acupuncturist.
- • In the same way than doctors, lawyers, nurses and architects, the name of the profession is protected. Only acupuncturists can practice this medicine (and there is a clear line between being and acupuncturist and claiming to be one). One needs to undergo the training recognized by the OAQ, a technical college grade in acupuncture at Collège de Rosemont http://acupuncture.crosemont.qc.ca/ and to meet the OAQ’s standards in terms of continued education.