Acupuncture is part of Chinese medicine. It consists of applying thin needles on different point of the body called meridians.
Origin of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is one of the fourth area of Chinese medicine. It consist on rebalancing body’s energies pricking needles on strength lines called meridians.
The term «traditional Chinese medicine» has been gave up by experts across the globe for the term «Chinese medicine» more close to the term used in China. However, the term is still used by official organisms or in the press.
Principles of acupuncture
In Chinese medicine, the Qi, also called «Breath» or «Vital energy», is one of the five Substances circulating in the body through meridians, with the Sang, the Organic liquids, the Spirit and the Essences. Those Substances are used to maintain the body well-balanced around the notions of Yin and Yang, which means unity despite duality.
A breach can happen within this balance, which leads to symptoms. Acupuncture is therefore a way to rebalance the body. Besides, it exists a map of those meridians classified by different types of pain.
How do we exercise acupuncture?
Acupuncture is done with single use needles. In Chinese medicine, patient symptoms can appear when the energy (the Qi) is locked, absent or in abundance in some parts of the body corresponding to one particular meridian. «In case of emptiness, you have to tone; in case of fullness, you have to spread», prescribes «Huangdi Neijing», the oldest Chinese medicine book.
According to the patient need, the acupuncturist will put needles more or less softly upstream and downstream of one of the meridian in order to fill empty spaces or to spread fullness.
The number of needles inserted under the skin depends on the issue to treat. In general, the practitioner used a dozen of needles. He lets the needles work for a few minutes than put them out more or less slowly according to the technique used, toning or dispersion.
It exists also several others process in acupuncture:
- moxibustion: stimulate acupuncture spots by heat. It is made by the burning of dried herbs, the moxa or artemisia.
- the «Ba Guan Zi»: suction pads that the practitioner slides along the meridian.
Acupuncture can be used on young children, on adults and on elderlies. Only the choice of the technique is different.
Contraindication to acupuncture
According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture in contraindicated in case of:
- pregnancy: acupuncture can induce strong uterine contraction, miscarriage or birth if the spots are located in the lower belly during the first three month of pregnancy. After the third month, it is misadvised to prick in the upper belly; same for the auricular spots.
The use of acupuncture is however allowed during pregnancy when it comes to nausea, to induce or reduce the duration of the delivery for therapeutic ends.
- medical and surgical emergencies: acupuncture isn’t an emergency treatment or for first aid, neither a substitution to a necessary surgical intervention
- malignant tumor: pricking a needle on a tumor is forbidden. However, on another spot, the needle can relieve the patient from pains linked to the tumor or to the treatment
Acupuncture with needles is also misadvised in case of haemostatic disorder (bleeds, coagulation...)
Source: WHO report
What takes place during an acupuncture session?
The first consultation lasts about 1h30, the following sessions will last 1h00. During the first appointment, a detailed interview will be planned where you will be asked a several questions, your pulse will be checked out, your tongue and a brief physical evaluation (spotting area of emptiness and excess of energy).
All this process had for purpose to define the type of your problems et the reasons associated. We will be able to determine your complete health energetic assessment and set therapeutic strategies adapted and personalised.
Please note that the needles are sterilised and one-time use in order to avoid any risks of contamination.
The needle placement is made most of the time on a lay down patient and in underwear, he will be covered by a silk sheet and only the necessary body parts will be uncovered in order to preserve their intimacy.
The insertion of the needles is done once that the patient is comfortable on the massage table. They will be inserted delicately and quickly and will be kept for about 10 to 20 minutes.
Depending on the case, it is possible to use others therapeutic tools others than the needles, such as moxibustion (brought of heat with a moxa), infrared heat, suction pads or massage rolls.
During the acupuncture treatment, patients live a real moment of relaxation rocked by a relaxing music if they desire.
Usually, the patient doesn’t feel any sides effects after the treatment. It can however happen that some patients feel more tired or get more intense symptoms within the following 24 hours. It is a common phenomena, which isn’t worrying. This reaction only indicates that the body is responding on the treatment switching on its self healing mechanism. This type of unpleasantness isn’t the most common. The more often, patients explain they felt extremely relaxed or the feeling to be reinvigorate.
Following the treatment, the acupuncturist can give health practices advices or offer the patients some exercises adapted to their physical fitness which allow to maximize the treatment.
Most common questions
Is it painful?
There is very few or no pain during the insertion of the needles. Patients talk about a feeling of well-being during and after the session as well as a healing sleep and an improvement of their level of energy.
Is there risks of infection?
The needles used during the treatment are pre-sterilised and one-time use. There is no risk of infection.
How many sessions are necessary?
Because every individual is different, and that therefore it is hard to plan the reactions to the treatment, it is a difficult question to answer.
The number of sessions necessary is variable from one person to another and depends on several factors: the patient age and its health, the type of his problem, its seniority, its chronicity, are parameters we have to take into account.
Sometimes, the effects are quick whether that some other times they takes more time to manifest themselves. Usually, it is reasonable to do 1 to 10 sessions to relieve efficiently a problem lastingly.
A concrete improvement appears usually after 3 to 5 sessions, but it is possible that just after the first session a real improvement can be noticed.
It is very rare that there is no visible result after 5 sessions.
The appointments are more and more spaced when the health status of the patient improves. When the health status needed is acquired, it is advised to go back to the acupuncturist at some point to stabilize the health and reinforce the balance. Those maintenance sessions are most commonly done during seasons change.
In the Chinese medicine, no symptom is insignificant or ridiculous. You can consult an acupuncturist for an unpleasant symptom, even if it’s not a disease that needs a complex medical treatment. Acupuncture can bring back a quality of life to those suffering of some chronic conditions and hugely debilitating, in some case of autoimmune diseases for which occidental medicine reached its limits. This is when you have to think «synergy».
As a front line health actor, my duty is to lead you toward the hospital emergencies or to ask you to go to a doctor if there is an issue that deserves a more deepen observation.
This is a partial list of the disorders that can be treated by acupuncture as well as feminine pathology on which in particularly interested in:
For the full list: www.acupuncture-quebec.com
- exhaustion, burnout
- memory loss and concentration difficulty
- excessive sweating
- immune system weakness
- sinus infection
- allergic rhinitis
- nose bleeds
Muscles and skeleton disorders and pains
- arthritis, arthrosis
- back pains
- carpal tunnel
- cervical pain, stiff neck
- knees pain
- sport trauma
- lack of appetite
- slow digestion
- gastric reflux
- Crohn disease
- light hypoglycemia
- liver problems
- irritable bowel syndrome
- appetite control
- urinary infection
- frequent urine
- difficulties to urinate
- nocturia (urinate at night)
- paralysis after stroke
- some paralysis
- light hypoglycemia
- pregnancy follow up
- menstrual pain
- irregular cycle
- absence of periods
- premenstrual syndrome
- cold feet and hands
- heavy legs
- easily cold
- hypotension and hypertension (light or moderate)
- ear infection
- Ménière syndrome
- tinnitus (sudden)
- nettle rash