By Athlete's Care on June 13, 2016
Modern medical acupuncture is a practice that is taught in universities and has been used by many patients to relieve pain, among other things. The medical acupuncturists at our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics are highly trained individuals. Yet, there are still many misconceptions about what acupuncture is and how it works. Here's a look at some of the common myths – and the relevant facts.
Myth: The effects of acupuncture are “all in your head” and nothing really happens at the physical level.
Fact: Studies have been done on acupuncture and its effects. Acupuncture has been shown to cause the release of endorphins – the body's natural painkillers. It also tends to have an anti-inflammatory effect. It stimulates the peripheral nerves and works to modulate the activity of the body's systems, including the nervous, endocrine and immune systems.
Myth: Acupuncture is based on energy flow, the five elements (water, fire, earth, metal and wood) and other intangible and often complicated concepts.
Fact: Medical acupuncture is administered according to knowledge of physiology and anatomy, using precise points to stimulate the nerves and circulatory system. Treatment is based on a thorough physical diagnosis.
Myth: Acupuncture – which involves inserting needles under the skin – hurts!
Fact: Properly applied by a trained medical professional, medical acupuncture does not hurt. The needles are very fine and the most you should experience is a slight twinging sensation when the needle is inserted, similar to a mosquito bite.
Myth: Acupuncture is part of some kind of alternative or New Age treatment and not part of a modern medical practice.
Fact: Modern medical acupuncture takes Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and adds a modern understanding of human anatomy and functions. It is used in conjunction with conventional medical practices at our Toronto physiotherapy clinics and elsewhere as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Myth: Acupuncture can only help to relieve pain.
Fact: Acupuncture is an effective analgesic and can act on the nervous system in various ways. The site where the very fine needles are inserted into the skin are chosen based on your specific condition. Acupuncture has been used successfully to treat various kinds of pain, including joint pain, stomach and menstrual cramps, it's true. It has also been used to treat nausea, including morning sickness and the effects of chemotherapy and other conditions f the endocrine and immune systems.
Myth: Acupuncture is one of those treatments that you have to continue indefinitely – the effects go away once you leave the office.
Fact: Medical acupuncture specialists look to improve your condition so that constant treatment is not necessary except in the case of chronic conditions.
Myth: Acupuncture can only be used on its own and will interfere with conventional treatments.
Fact: Modern medical acupuncture makes a very effective component of an overall treatment plan. It may be offered here at Athlete's Care as part of our Toronto physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy or sports medicine services.