What is Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be traced back at least 2,500 years, and has been progressively integrated into healthcare systems in North America since 1960. The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of bioelectrical energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are responsible for pain, dysfunction and disease. Acupuncture corrects imbalances of Qi by inserting fine needles into various points throughout the body. These changes in flow create balance and harmony in the body, which allows the body to naturally restore itself.
Benefits of Acupuncture
The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined (through controlled trials) that acupuncture is an effective treatment for over 40 diseases, symptoms or conditions. A further 70 conditions are currently being studied, with all showing some therapeutic improvements to date. These conditions include:
- Lungs - Some bronchial asthmas, coughs and colds (acute or chronic history of)
- Ears, Nose, and Throat - Toothaches, pain after tooth extraction, earaches, sinus infection and inflammation, nasal inflammation, allergic rhinitis
- Eyes - Central retina and conjunctiva inflammation, nearsightedness (in children), and some cataracts
- Stomach and Intestines –Irritable bowel syndrome, digestive tract problems, hiccups, inflammation of the stomach, chronic duodenal ulcers, inflammation of the colon, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery caused by certain bacteria, ulcerative colitis, crohn's disease, acid reflux
- Pain – All musculoskeletal injury, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, lower back pain, osteoarthritis, knee pain, sprains and strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ, facial pain, headache, sciatica, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, whiplash, fibromyalgia, cancer pain, nerve pain
- Gynecological & Sexual Problems – Painful periods, PMS, absent or irregular periods, infertility, menopause, low libido, male sexual dysfunction (non-organic)
- Pregnancy issues – malposition of fetus, prolonged labour, delayed labour (no contractions), morning sickness, lactation deficiency, edema/swelling
- Nausea – due to post-operative, chemotherapy or pregnancy
- Emotional – depression, anxiety, insomnia, fibromyalgia, stress
- Immunity- general immune system boost, allergies
- Miscellaneous - Incontinence (including bed wetting), fever, sore throats, acne, facial paralysis
Biological Effects of Acupuncture
Many studies in animals and humans have demonstrated that acupuncture can cause multiple biological responses. These responses can occur locally (at or close to the site of needle application) or at a distance, mediated mainly by sensory neurons to many structures within the central nervous system. This can lead to changes in various physiological systems in the brain and elsewhere in the body.
Stimulation by acupuncture also activates the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, resulting in a broad spectrum of systemic effects, including alteration in the secretion of hormones, and changes in the regulation of blood flow. There is also evidence of alterations in immune functions produced by acupuncture.