What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a system of diagnosing and treating various diseases by inserting fine needles of various lengths into specific points on the body. Acupuncture comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine that has origins in ancient China and is thousands of years old. A system of channels known as meridians, have been identified and are responsible for the circulation of energy or "qi" throughout the body. These meridians are believed to have an important influence on blood flow and nervous impulses within our body and therefore acupuncture acts to prevent disease by keeping our internal energies well balanced and strengthening our body's ability to defend itself from pathogenic factors.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture works on the basis of the ancient philosophy of Taoism which has as its first principle the concept of Yin and Yang which are equal and opposite forces that co-exist in the universe. From an Eastern perspective, illness or disease is believed to result from an imbalance of these two forces. Acupuncture therefore stimulates an increase or decrease in the amount of energy a given organ system has to restore balance. From a Western perspective practitioners utilize acupuncture to achieve four therapeutic effects including pain relief, decreasing inflammation, emotional balance, and homeostatic balance.
Who Uses Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is used by a variety of people in a setting such as a hospital, private clinic, or recreational/professional sports that are looking to recover from injury or disease. In the sports medicine community, acupuncture is highly effective to regain normal levels of homeostasis by triggering the body's autonomic healing response.
How Effective Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been found to be a very effective and desirable treatment option for pain relief and pain management with little to no side effects. Efficacy is based on how acute or chronic the condition is. The expectation of the practitioner is that the cumulative effect of acupuncture will result in permanent results for individuals to resolve the problem and to maintain the improvement.
Who Can Do Acupuncture?
Acupuncture can only be used by properly trained health professionals including medical doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, registered nurses, and naturopathic doctors. The regulation of acupuncture however varies across the provinces and territories. Practitioners utilize acupuncture as an adjunct to their clinical skill set and are therefore not classified as "acupuncturists". Acupuncture is used within their respective scope of practice as a tool to achieve desired therapeutic effects. Two certificate programs in Canada that exist include the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute and the Certificate in Medical Acupuncture.