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ACUPUNCTURE

WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into specific anatomical points (acupuncture points) to encourage natural healing. Therapeutic effects include:

  • Pain relief
  • Increased energy
  • Improved mood
  • Improved body function

HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?

Acupuncture stimulates the balance and flow of Qi energy that in traditional Chinese Medicine is considered essential to health. When the body is healthy, Qi (pronounced chee), flows smoothly through the meridians that make up a conceptual network of pathways throughout the entire body. When the balance or flow of Qi is deficient or obstructed, it may be diseased or susceptible to illness. Acupuncture treats both the symptoms and the root causes of the patient’s illness.

Acupuncture is an ancient, safe and effective treatment. It can reduce pain by stimulating the brain and spinal cord to produce natural pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins, melatonin (which promotes sleep) and serotonin (to promote well-being.) These chemicals assist the body’s healing processes and offer pain relief.

WHAT CONDITIONS DOES ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?

Research shows that acupuncture is useful in the treatment of:

  • Painful muscle conditions and injuries
  • Hip and knee osteoarthritis
  • Neck pain
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Headaches (migraine and tension)
  • Pelvic and low back pain in pregnancy

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACUPUNCTURE AND IMS?

Acupuncture is a technique based in traditional Chinese medicine and is thousands of years old. It involves inserting fine filament needles into specific acupuncture points along meridians (thought to be pathways of energy flow throughout the body) to establish an equilibrium within the system. With Acupuncture, the needles are often left in place for a longer duration of time (about 15-30 minutes), and there’s often very little sensation felt with the needles.

IMS uses a slightly thicker needle inserted directly into palpable tight bands to cause a twitch response to release muscle tension and sensitivity. Unlike Acupuncture, there is often a strong sensation of an involuntary muscle twitch which is often described as achy.

CAN ALL PHYSIOTHERAPISTS DO ACUPUNCTURE?

No. Physiotherapists who perform acupuncture have completed training in addition to their university education. Therapists at Fifth Avenue have taken postgraduate training at the University of Alberta or the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada to be certified in Acupuncture. They have also received approval to perform needling from the Alberta College of Physiotherapists and must adhere to safe practice standards.

WHAT SHOULD I EXCPECT FROM MY TREATMENT?

The number and location of needles used will vary based on your condition and treatment goals. Some notice the effects of treatment on their first visit, while others may need 5-8 treatments to see better results. Your physiotherapist will regularly check your progress to ensure acupuncture is helping you.

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