Who would have guessed that a tiny needle could be such a powerful boon to your well-being?
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest recorded medical systems of healing that originated over 3,000 years ago. It is not only practised in Asia, but has spread worldwide. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO), and The National Institute of Health (NIH) have both recognised that acupuncture is an effective form of treatment for many kinds of illnesses.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of hair-thin solid needles (acupuncture needles) into specific pressure points, trigger points or neurofunctional anatomical sites. These specific points can relieve pain and treat acute and chronic health conditions.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
Acupuncture relieves pain by stimulating natural pain killers, such as endorphins and enkephalins, etc. It can decrease inflammation, boost immunity by activating white blood cells (WBC), regulate the metabolism, improve digestive functions, which in turn helps with weight reduction programmes. It reduces stress, anxiety, improves sleeping patterns and increases energy levels by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) and different hormones. Acupuncture is also very helpful with post-op and pregnancy nausea.
What types of pain/illness is acupuncture best for?
Acupuncture is very helpful for musculoskeletal conditions, such as neck and back pain, muscle tightness, joint pain, sports injuries, certain nerve pains, migraine and general headaches, visceral (organ) and post-op pains. Other conditions treated with acupuncture include mental emotional health, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurologic, reproductive and gynecological conditions.
How many sessions are needed for acupuncture to be effective?
Depending on the diagnosis and constitutional health of the patient, a course of at least six acupuncture sessions, combined with manual massage therapy, etc., will be required to see improvement. Generally, acute conditions will require fewer treatments; however, chronic conditions may need longer treatment plans. Every patient is unique and therefore treated on an individual basis.
Can you describe a few of the most common injuries or physical concerns that you have seen and how acupuncture helped heal them?
The most common injuries seen are those of a musculoskeletal nature. For instance, back pain, knee pain, sports and soft tissue injuries. Acupuncture helps with reducing inflammation, increases tissue perfusion (blood circulation), brings fresh blood and nutrients to injured tissues, reduces pain which will speed up tissue repair. Acupuncture can also quickly help relax tight muscles and restore proper range of motion (ROM) and function. Other commonly seen physical concerns are hypertension, sinus congestion, allergies, digestive issues, hormone imbalances, irregular menstrual cycle and infertility, to name a few.
What is your advice for those interested in acupuncture, but scared to try?
Great question. Most people have some form of needle phobia because of their hypodermic needle experiences. Acupuncture needles are sterilised hair-thin solid needles and upon insertion patients will feel only a tiny prick or nothing at all. However, I recommend patients to do their due diligence and check that their acupuncturist is a board-certified licensed acupuncturist who has graduated from an accredited acupuncture college, taken accredited internship and a clean needle technique course with examinations. Every profession has its requirements to obtain the professional designation. Acupuncture/Oriental medicine is no different.
Dr Sifu Reginald Cann, B.Sc., OBT. HHP, MTOM, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., MMQ, OMD, is a licensed board certified acupuncturist and clinical herbalist. He is Bermuda’s foremost pioneer introducing Bermuda to acupuncture, Oriental medicine, Tai-Ji, and the specialised Asian health-preserving art of Qi Gong (chi-kung) in 1989. Sifu, as he is respectfully addressed by his patients, is nationally certified and designated a “Diplomate” in acupuncture by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). He has trained in China, Cypress, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. He is a graduate of PCOM, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, San Diego, California. PCOM is “the Harvard” of acupuncture/Oriental medical colleges in the US. During his internship, he had clinical rounds at a Western medical centre, hospice centre,and Olympic training centre, treating elite athletes, and at PCOM’s medical clinic.
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