General Acupuncture Information

  • A therapeutic approach to encourage natural healing, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of affected areas of the body.
  • Safe and effective alternative to medications or surgery.
  • Involves the insertion  of very fine needles through the skin and tissues at specific points related to anatomical structures involved in your problem.
  • Treatment itself causes minimal discomfort.
  • Originated in China for treating pain and disease by claiming to balance energy and blood in the body to keep it functional and healthy.
  • Over recent years western trained therapists utilize their knowledge of anatomy, physiology and patho-physiology to effectively apply acupuncture.

How Does It Work?

  • Acupuncture stimulates the body to produce a chemical known as “endorphins”
  • Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killing chemical and imitate morphine providing pain relief, general relaxation, and biochemical restoration of the body’s own internal regulation systems.
  • Improved energy and biochemical balance as a result from acupuncture stimulates the body’s healing abilities, reduces inflammation, and promotes physical and emotional well being.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

  • Acupuncture can treat both acute and chronic conditions effectively.
  • The World Health Organization has acknowledged the benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of multiple medical problems including:
    • Digestive disorders: gastritis, hyperacidity, spastic bowel, constipation, diarrhea
    • Respiratory disorders: sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma
    • Neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, neck and back pain, neuralgia, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, tendonitis, sciatica, arthritis
    • Urinary, menstrual and reproductive disorders
    • Addiction, insomnia
  • It is important that an assessment and correct diagnosis is made by a qualified health care professional before any decisions are made regarding the course of therapy and whether or not acupuncture is appropriate for you.

Are there any risks to treatment?

  • There are very minimal adverse effects and complications from the use of acupuncture.
  • People with pacemakers should avoid acupuncture combined with electrical stimulation unless approved by their cardiologist.
  • Women in early pregnancy and haemophiliacs should be treated with caution.
  • The Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute (AFCI) recommends that only sterile disposable needles be used, preventing risk of infection.

Does it Hurt?

  • The acupuncture experience differs between individuals.
  • Majority of patients experience only minimal discomfort as the needles are inserted, others feel no discomfort at all.
  • No significant discomfort should be experienced once the needles are in place.
  • The needles used are extremely fine (2-3 can fit inside the barrel of a regular hollow needle used for injections) and are made from stainless steel.

How many treatments are required and how long is each session?

  • This depends on the condition being treated and the individual.
  • For acute problems, only a few treatments may be necessary.
  • For complex or chronic conditions, 1-2 treatments per week for several weeks may be recommended with decreasing frequency of treatments as the condition improves.
  • A treatment session involving acupuncture usually lasts between 15-30 minutes.
  • Some people may experience worsening of symptoms at first but relief can be immediate, occur within a few hours, or even after a few days.
  • Sometimes, several sessions are required before improvement is noted.
  • As reported by AFCI, approximately 80% - 90% of patients respond to acupuncture with significant results.
  • Acupuncture can be used solely or in combination with forms of medical and or physical therapies.

Do I have to believe in it for acupuncture to work?

  • NO
  • Acupuncture is reportedly used successfully on cats, dogs, horses and other animals.
  • Obviously, these simulated patients can not understand the process that helps their condition improve.
  • Positive attitudes towards any treatment may reinforce the effects, but a neutral or negative attitude will not hamper the effects of acupuncture.

What must I do before a treatment?

  • Acupuncture treatment may occur at any time during the day.
  • It is ideal if you do not consume large meals before or after treatment.
  • It is recommended that you avoid alcohol or sedatives for four hours prior to treatment.
  • Pain medications may be taken as required.

What about after treatment?

  • Rest after treatment is ideal but not required.
  • Some patients feel excessively relaxed afterwards so you may want to plan your activities for the day accordingly.
  • Strong exercise is not recommended immediately after treatment.
  • Avoiding strenuous activity for 48 hours after treatment is best for painful conditions.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes for at least two hours.
  • Medications may be taken as required.

The above is based on a brochure provided by the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute and is available for patients interested in acupuncture.

Benefits of Physiotherapy

  • Preventing and treating sports injuries
  • Restoring and increasing range of motion in joints
  • Increasing coordination
  • Counselling and educating in pre-and post-natal care
  • Designing 'user-friendly' or ergonomically-correct homes and workplaces
  • Educating clients in the use of devices such as canes, crutches and wheelchairs
  • Helping injured individuals return to work successfully through 'work hardening' programs
  • Alleviating pain
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SHAPE Physiotherapy

SHAPE Health & Wellness Centre Toronto
35 Coldwater Rd. (Leslie & York Mills)
Wheelchair Access & Free Parking
Call: 416.929.8444


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