What is Contemporary Medical Acupuncture?
Contemporary Medical Acupuncture (as defined by the MacMaster University program) is a precise peripheral nerve stimulation technique, in which fine solid needles (acupuncture needles) are inserted into the body, and stimulated manually or with electricity for the therapeutic purpose of modulating abnormal activity of the nervous system in pain syndromes and functional problems.
Contemporary Medical Acupuncture is mechanism-based, not disease-based. Therapeutic goals and treatment targets are selected based on the identified neurological dysfunctions contributing to the clinical presentation of the symptoms. Sometimes Contemporary Medical Acupuncture treatments result in transient amelioration or disappearance of the symptoms, and other times results in permanent resolution of the dysfunction, especially when dysregulation of the nervous system was the underlying pathophysiological mechanism.
What does Acupuncture do?
Acupuncture is a therapeutic method used to promote natural healing, reduce/relieve pain and improve function. It is a safe and effective form of treatment for various conditions. The World Health Organization has identified the benefits of acupuncture in treating a wide range of medical problems including:
Neurological and muscular disorders: headache, back and neck pain, nerve pain, frozen shoulder tendonitis, tennis elbow, sciatic, and arthritis.
How does Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture involves inserting very fine needles through the skin at specific points in the body with minimal discomfort. They stimulate the body to produce pain relieving chemicals (endorphins) that help block pathways that relay pain messages from the body to the brain. This results in pain relief, relaxation, and biochemical restoration of the body’s own well-being. Acupuncture Treatment produces a healing effect in the tissues of the body and has a positive neurological effect on muscle function.
The number of treatments will vary depending on the individual and the condition being treated:
For acute (newer) problems, often only a few treatments are required. For more complex or chronic (long-lasting) one or two treatments a week for several weeks may be recommended. Frequency will decrease as improvement occurs. A typical treatment will last anywhere from 15-20 minutes. Relief may be felt immediately, after several hours, or after several days. In some conditions, several sessions may be required before improvement is noted.
Acupuncture can be used as the only form of therapy or may be complemented by other forms of therapy including Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Massage Therapy and Medical management.