What is Acupuncture?
Several thousand years ago, East Asian practitioners discovered that the body forms disharmonies as a result of the various physical and mental stresses of life. Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as qi or chi (CHEE) — which flows through pathways (meridians) in your body. Modern research shows that Acupuncture can stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue and can boost your body's natural painkillers and increases blood flow.
Acupuncture returns the body to it's natural state of balance and harmony.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes. Acupuncture is used by thousands of people every day. Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education, including detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique. Our practitioners use pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your complete safety. Here at Align we use the highest grade Seirin Acupuncture needles. These needles are made of high quality surgical steel and are found only in Medical hospitals around the world.
There are many types of Acupuncture:
- Auricular ( ear)
- Electro- using a small electrical current to enhance treatment protocols.
- Acu-pressure- stimulating points manually
- Scalp Acupuncture - Needles finely inserted to aid in neurological and emotional conditions.
What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?
Many first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like hypodermic injections at the doctor’s office. They won't. Acupuncture uses hair-thin, flexible needles that you will hardly feel when I insert them. When I gently stimulate the needles they may produce a unique sensation that Oriental medicine calls de qi. Patients often describe de qi as a heavy, achy pressure, or spreading, traveling feeling. You may also feel an "electrical" sensation moving down the meridian pathways, though this is less common. Most patients find these acupuncture sensations deeply satisfying and leave the treatment feeling relaxed both mentally and physically.
Acupuncture treatment creates deep relaxation in both mind and body.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so more then one treatment is necessary. For acute conditions you can expect to have 10 to 15 treatments, but you will usually begin to feel relief after just the first few. Chronic conditions may take longer to respond, depending on the type, severity, and duration of the condition. Preventative treatments and treatments for general well-being may also be scheduled on an as-needed basis.
Your First Visit
When you arrive for your first acupuncture appointment we will ask you to complete a comprehensive intake form. The acupuncture intake form asks questions about your current state of health, past illnesses, and family history. These questions are important because the holistic approach of Oriental medicine takes everything into account. Your current symptoms may not seem related to past health issues, but our bodies are complex landscapes and everything that happens to them leaves its mark.
After reviewing your intake form, we will discuss your condition, and we will examine your pulse and tongue, which are two of the basic diagnostic methods of Oriental medicine. The acupuncture points we choose will depend on your condition, but you can expect approximately 20 needles. Once the needles are inserted, we will leave you to lie comfortably for 15-20 minutes with the needles in place. Many people find acupuncture treatment deeply relaxing, and it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during this time.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture works by activating the body's own healing powers, so it can be beneficial for many health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented many symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown in controlled clinical trials to be effectively treated with acupuncture. Below are some common conditions we can treat, but please feel free to call us about your specific health condition.
Digestive Issues & Nausea
- Heartburn, Acid Reflux
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic indigestion
- Chronic loose stools or constipation
- Peptic ulcer
- Acute and chronic gastritis
- Morning sickness
- Nausea and vomiting
Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
- Sports Injuries
- Muscle pain
- Back, neck and shoulder pain
- Leg, ankle and foot pain
- Arm, wrist and hand pain
- Knee pain
- Hip pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis Elbow
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Jaw pain (TMJ)
- Dental pain
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Headaches and migraines
- Postoperative pain
- Increased efficacy of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Modalities Used During Treatment
- Tui na means "pushing grasping," and is a powerful form of Chinese medical bodywork. Based on the same Oriental medical principles as acupuncture, tui na seeks to improve the flow of qi through the meridian channels. Tui na is particularly effective for conditions involving muscles, tendons and joints, such as structural misalignment, orthopedic problems and sports injuries. It can also be used to treat internal diseases.
- Cupping is an ancient technique, used in many cultures, in which a special cup is applied to the skin and held in place by suction. The suction draws superficial tissue into the cup, which may either be left in place or moved along the body. Cupping brings fresh blood to the area and helps improve circulation. Traditional cupping, sometimes referred to as “fire cupping," uses heat to create a vacuum-like suction inside of glass cups.
- Moxibustion involves the heating of acupuncture points with smoldering mugwort herb (known as moxa). Moxibustion stimulates circulation, counteracts cold and dampness in the body, and promotes the smooth flow of blood and qi. This safe, non-invasive technique may be used alone, but it is generally used in conjunction with acupuncture treatment.
- Qigong means "life energy cultivation" and is traditionally seen as a method to cultivate and balance qi. The practice involves rhythmic movement, focused breathing, and concentrated awareness. Qigong is a safe and gentle meditative exercise that promotes healing of the mind and body.
- Chinese nutrition is the tasty counterpart to Chinese Herbology. The only significant difference between the two is that the nutrition tends to be more appetizing than the herbal tea formulas. The basis for therapeutic qualities is exactly the same
Women’s Health & Fertility
Common Conditions Treated:
- PMS: (before and during menses)fluid retention / bloating breast tenderness, headache, back ache, cramping, spotting, emotional lability / depression, tiredness / lethargy / fatigue, dizziness, spots / acne
- Menstruation: irregular periods,absence of periods (ammenorrhoea),painful periods (dysmenorrhoea),excessive menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia),scanty bleeding (oligomenorrhoea),mid-cycle bleeding (dysfunctional uterine bleeding)
- Endometriosis,PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), ovarian cysts, fibroids / polyps, adenomiosis, vaginitis, vulvodynia / vestibulitis, vaginismus, pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, thrush, cystitis / UTI, urinary incontinence, oncology support, hysterectomy support, pre & post mastectomy support, pre & post prolapse - vaginal, uterine, hemorrhoids
Acupuncture can be used to assist with a range of pregnancy related conditions, offering women an alternative to taking medication. Acupuncture may also be used for the discomfort often regarded as part of a ‘normal’ pregnancy that just has to be endured.
Miscarriage, Threatened miscarriage, Early pregnancy supportive care, Nausea and vomiting, Constipation and hemorrhoids, Varicose veins and vulval varicosities, Headaches and migraines, Musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, pelvic and hip pain, Fatigue and exhaustion, Anxiety and depression, Itching in pregnancy, Hypertension disorders including Pregnancy-induced hypertension, Gestational diabetes, Breech and posterior positioned babies, Preparation for a medical Induction, Prebirth acupuncture to prepare the body for an efficient labour, Acupressure taught to support people to use for pain relief during labour, Postpartum recovery
Labour and Delivery
Christa Angell, has completed training in Labour and Delivery with TCM and Acupuncture 1 & 2 with renowned practitioner Claudia Citkovitz. She describes the week spent working and studying along-side Claudia as an amazing and exciting opportunity. Christa learned that the treatments for Labour and Delivery can start as early as 32 weeks and women often continue with treatments post-partum. She had the opportunity to see the many benefits of TCM for Labour and Delivery in practice.
- Labour (s) may be shorter, with fewer complications, caesarean rates are reduced, there is less need for oxytocin to speed up labour, and women request less pain medications and epidurals. As a result, there is an overall greater satisfaction and harmony with the mother’s birthing experience.
- Acupuncture specifically benefits the following:, Cervical ripening, Pain Management, Increase in contraction strength and frequency, Back Pain, Exhaustion, Anxiety and fear, Co-treatments and TCM dynamic approaches for common interventions (induction, cervical ripening, epidural etc.) as well as difficult labour and associated complications ( pre-eclampsia, olig/polyhydraminos, ruptured membranes, etc).
- When the due- date is near, TCM and Acupuncture treatments can provide physical and emotional support to a woman during labour, birth, and the immediate post partum period.