Integrative healthcare utilises the best therapeutic options from conventional western medicine, as well as holistic practices, also known as complementary therapies and healing practices. It offers a broad approach to healing that is patient-cantered and focuses on the whole person-mind, body, and spirit.
An optimal level of wellness is absolutely crucial to live a higher quality life. Wellness matters because everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our well-being. In turn, our well-being directly affects our actions and emotions. It’s an ongoing circle. Therefore, it is important for everyone to achieve optimal wellness in order to subdue stress, reduce the risk of illness and ensure positive interactions.
Acupuncture is one of the key practices of traditional Chinese medicine, it has been practised in china for over 5000 years. It involves inserting very thin needles through the skin at key points on the body. The needles are about the thickness of a human hair. Stimulating these points promotes the body’s natural healing capabilities and enhances its function. Acupuncture is considered a way to balance the flow of energy in the body. Energy called QI(chee) flows in pathways like rivers around the body when this energy is flowing freely the body is healthy and balanced..A disruption in the flow of energy can create illness. The idea behind acupuncture is that stimulating these points with acupuncture needles relieves obstruction in the flow of energy, which enables the body to heal.
In the western view acupuncture works by stimulating the central nervous system (the brain, spinal cord and muscles) to release chemicals called neurotransmitters and hormones. These chemicals dull pain, boost the immune system and regulate various body functions. It stimulates serotonin and endorphins which are the body’s natural pain killers and feel good hormones this explains why acupuncture is so effective at treating pain and why people relax deeply and even fall asleep during treatment. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional wellbeing. A wide range of conditions can be treated with acupuncture.
Acupuncture rarely ‘hurts’. Often you won’t feel the needles being inserted, because they are thin and gently inserted. The most that people experience is a dull ache around the base of the inserted needle, or a slight tingling feeling when the needle is inserted. Points at the extremities, like toe or finger ends, can sometimes be a little sharp, but the sensation is usually brief. If you feel anything that’s a severe or sharp pain, you should let your acupuncturist know.
1. Come hydrated
2. Avoid coffee before and after by about 3 hours
3. Wear minimal jewellery
4. Make sure your clothes are loose so they can be adjusted as needed
I find my patients are pretty relaxed after acupuncture, and it follows that resting is always a good option. The body heals when it rests.
Don’t go to the gym
Don’t run a marathon
I also recommend drinking lots of water afterwards, and the next day. The needling can have a detox effect and being properly hydrated will help to flush out the toxins.
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A common question I hear from patients at their first appointment is: How often do I need to come in for treatments?
There’s no one-size-fits all answer to anything when it comes to health but I can give you a general overview of what I’ve seen work best for my clients. There are three common levels of care in acupuncture – each with their own treatment frequency. We will first figure out where you are on this spectrum, and then come up with a treatment plan customized specifically for you. Wondering how often you need acupuncture? First, find out what stage of care
Acute care focuses on the here and now – mainly dealing with more recent conditions or shorter term care. Here’s a few examples where you would need acute care treatment:
1. You’ve suffered a recent injury or are dealing with a short term ailment.
Maybe you hurt your back in the last few days, or recently got pregnant and
are dealing with morning sickness.
2. You’re having an acute flare-up of a chronic condition or a condition that was previously in remission
3. You’ve been dealing with your symptoms for a long time, but you’re new to acupuncture
In the acute care phase your treatment plan will be a little more aggressive. You can expect to come in for acupuncture at least once or twice weekly for the first two weeks. Your course of treatment will depend on how your symptoms react to the acupuncture. Someone with an acute injury will need more frequent treatments for a shorter period of time. Whereas someone working on a chronic condition might have their treatments spaced further apart, but can expect to commit to a longer process. Don’t forget, it’s usually taken years for our symptoms to manifest in the way they do now. We can’t expect them to disappear in one or two treatments.
Something people don’t know about acupuncture, is that the effects are cumulative. It’s better to build the positive effects of each treatment on top of each other instead of playing a constant game of catch-up between further and further spaced out appointments. The acute care phase lasts until your symptoms are relieved or your health goals are met. Then we move on to the transitional care phase.
So at this point your symptoms have improved to the point that you’ve met your health goals. Now what?
In the transitional care phase, we start to spread the appointments further out – but not so far that the symptoms start to come back! If that happens, it means that your body can’t go that long between treatments right now. We’ll keep pushing your appointments out further and further until we find your sweet spot. Then you’ve move on to the third level – maintenance care.
Maintenance care is continued care within your specific sweet spot. What’s your sweet spot? It’s the time that you can go between appointments before your body gets out of balance and trouble arises. Everyone’s sweet spot is going to be different. A lot of my patients’ do best when they come in for monthly treatments, others can go 6-8 weeks between treatments, and for a few folks only need to come in once every 3 months in order to feel great!
Acupuncture is a great tool to treat so many various conditions. But where it really excels is in keeping you healthy!
Using acupuncture as preventative medicine can save you lots of time, money,
energy, and pain in the long run.