What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a popular healing modality that has been successfully used to treat a wide range of health conditions for thousands of years. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into the body to stimulate the body's self healing mechanisms and restore proper homeostasis; thus improving a person’s sense of well being and the proper functioning of their body.
Acupuncture is commonly used to treat pain, and is very effective at treating pain anywhere in the body. Acupuncture can reduce inflammation and pain in muscles and joints and is known to treat back, neck and shoulder pain, carpel tunnel, knee or elbow pain and speed up healing after an injury.
Acupuncture is less commonly known for its ability to treat internal medical conditions but is an effective alternative to allopathic medicine to treat and/or manage a wide range of illnesses. Issues of the endocrine system, digestive system or immune system all respond successfully to acupuncture treatments.
What is Cupping?
Cupping is a therapeutic treatment that involves creating suction or a vacuum in specific areas of the body. It is used to treat muscle pain, colds and coughs. It also acts to facilitate detoxing of the body by drawing out inflammatory cells and many other toxins.
Cupping helps to re-oxygenate tissues and relax the fascia by pulling on the skin and causing free floating blood cells to move towards the surface of the body both relieving pain and promoting healing.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture is well known to treat muscle and joint aches, back pain and headaches. However, acupuncture is very helpful for fertility concerns, digestive ailments, anxiety and depression.
Do you have a health condition that is not mentioned? Contact our clinic: 403.265.9730 or submit your question here.
+ Scientific & Medical Research on Acupunture
Acupuncture has been around for over 2000 years. While many say the ancient therapy of acupuncture works, research now backs it up. There have been many studies on acupuncture and the potential health benefits it has for a wide range of ailments.
As acupuncture has been propelled into the mainstream, an increasing number of studies are showing the wide range of benefits acupuncture has.
Conditions ranging from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, posttraumatic stress disorder, infertility, chronic low back pain, and fibromyalgia have shown to benefit from acupuncture.
A sample of scientific and medical research on Acupuncture Testing with modern diagnostic equipment
Neural Structures and Their Response to Acupuncture
In 1976, Dr. C. Gunn had identified 70 acupuncture points by using an ohm-meter which measure skin resistance and classified the outcome to known neural structures.
These neural structures include the nerve plexus, superficial nerves to the skin as well as where the segmental nerves come off the spinal cord and meet in the midline of the body, joining of muscles and tendons at motor points (1).
Several researchers have played a role in describing and quantifying the correlation between acupuncture points and known neural structures.
A paper published in 1977, by Professor Ronald Melzack had claimed that 71% of the muscle trigger points could be accounted for (2) tissues that can harbor trigger points includimg muscles, ligament, fascia, periosteum and skin.
MRI Studies (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies)
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies have shown brain activity in the areas of the brain that control sight and sound respond to the insertion of acupuncture needles in the legs. It has also shown positive responses in the brain that have been associated with the eye and ear (3, 4).
Acupuncture has also been explained as inducing a chain of events in various parts of the nervous system that release neurohormone’s (hormone produced and released by the nerve [neuron]).
In 1976, a studied done by the University of Toronto had shown that acupuncture can block morphine in cats who were given morphine (5). This was described by one writer as “home-brewed narcotics” (6), implying that the effects were mediated by endogenous peptides (naturally occurring protein molecules, which can block morphine).
A study from China showed that both traditional and electroacupuncture (pulsates electrical currents to stimulate target areas), has shown that after 20 treatments throughout a 10 week period had reduced the tenderness and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
In Germany 304,674 people with osteoarthritis of the knee received 15 sessions of acupuncture, reported less pain and stiffness, and improved mobility and quality of life compared to those who received routine care alone.
Improvements were seen after a three-month course of treatment and lasted on average for another three months.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
In June 2007 Dr. Michael Hollifield and colleagues conducted a clinical trial examining the effect of acupuncture on PTSD patients.
73 participants were enrolled in total. Participants received either traditional group cognitive-behavioral therapy or received acupuncture treatments for a period of just over 12 weeks (7).
It was found that acupuncture provided treatment effects similar to the group cognitive-behavioral therapy and maintained the results three months after treatment ended (7).
The British Medical Journal in February 2008 reviewed seven clinical trials of acupuncture with embryo transfer in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) (8).
According to Eric Manheimer's systematic review, it was found that acupuncture given as a compliment to IVF increased the odds of achieving pregnancy.
Chronic Low Back Pain and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome · Chronic Low Back Pain.
The Archives of Internal Medicine had published a study showing that those who received acupuncture treatments fared better than those who did not receive acupuncture.
According to the National Health Interview Survey (USA), 3 million American adults used acupuncture for back pain.
1. Gunn CC. Acupuncture loci: a proposal for their classification according to their relationship to known neural structures. Am J Chin Med, 4-2(1976): 183-195.
2. Melzack R et al. Trigger points and acupuncture points for pain. Correlations and implications. Pain, 3(1977): 3-23.
3. Cho ZH, Chung SC, Jones JP, Park JP, Park HJ, Lee HI, Wong EK, Min BI. New findings of the correlation between acupoints and corresponding brain cortices using functional MRI. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 95, pp. 2670–2673, March 1998.
4. Cho ZH, Lee SH, Hong IK et al (1999) Further evidence for the correlation between acupuncture stimulation and cortical activation. Proceedings, New Directions in the Scientific Exploration of Acupuncture, University of California, Irvine
5. Pomeranz B, Chiu D. (1976) Naloxone blocks acupuncture analgesia and causes hyperalgesia: endorphin is implicated. Life Sci 19:1757-1762.
6. Lewis, J. Home-Brewed Narcotics. The Canadian, Toronto Star Magazine, July 14,1979
+ Frequently Asked Questions
Does it hurt?
This is the most commonly ask question about acupuncture. It is normal to have some sensation when the needle is inserted, which goes away once the insertion is complete. Most people find the experience very relaxing, with sensation reported as none or minimal and quite tolerable.
Does it work?
Yes, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture have been used for thousands of years successfully. Depending on the condition being treated, the frequency and amount of treatment will be variable.
Are the needles safe?
Yes, the needles are made of a medical grade stainless steal. They are single use and disposed of into a medical waist container.
How long is the appointment?
Your first treatment will be up to an hour and a half and includes the initial consultation.
Follow up treatments last an hour.
Please allow yourself about 10 minutes extra in case of an unforeseen circumstance.
What should I wear?
Depending on the area being treated you will need to undress, except underwear, for your treatment. We can accommodate any level of discomfort and adjust the clothing requirements accordingly.
Do I need to do anything differently before my treatment?
Please drink lots of water and make sure to have a small meal. Treatments can lower your blood sugar. Please do not consume alcohol or street drugs prior to your treatment.
Do I need to do anything special after my treatment?
Just listen to your body. Rest if you are tired. Generally, you don’t need to change your routine at all.
Are there any side effects?
Acupuncture is very safe.
Bruising is the most common side effect. You might experience slight needle sight irritation after your session. Some people feel lightheaded after there treatment, that will pass quickly. Please talk to your therapist about any concerns you may have.
Rarely, herbal medicines may have some mild side effects, mostly gastrointestinal. You will be instructed on what to expect and when to contact your therapist.
Nielsen Clinic does not require a physician referral. Request an appointment using our secure online form.
Our goal is to contact you by phone within one business day to setup your appointment.
Dr. Jennifer Doull, TCMD, FABORM Registered Acupuncturist & TCM