What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture, as defined by the World Health Organization, is the method of treatment based on influencing the body by inserting needles in to specific points on the human body, called acupoints. Forms of acupuncture has been used as a treatment for pain and other physiological functions 6000 BCE.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture is an intervention from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that can be traced back almost 3000 years and is used to restore a person to good health. TCM presumes that two opposing and complementary forces, Yin and Yang, interact to regulate the flow of vital energy know as Qi in the body. This energy flows along channels called meridians which connect the skin surface with internal organs. Symptoms such as pain or pathology appear when energy flow is blocked, deficient or out of balance. By inserting needle in acupuncture points along the meridian it helps to correct the imbalance and thus reduce symptoms.

Modern Acupuncture Theory

Western medicine has done various studies to try to understand the physiological, anatomical and biochemical components of acupuncture. Current theories are primarily based on the idea that the insertion of a needle into an acupoint stimulates nerves travelling to the spinal cord which help to modulate the transmission of pain. This signal allows for neurotransmitters and endorphins to be released in the brain to help reduce pain perception. In addition, when a needle is inserted into an acupoint, it causes a local immune response and increases circulation to the area to help with swelling and to promote healing.

What types of problems can Acupuncture Help?

Generally, acupuncture is used to treat pain, swelling and/or inflammation. The following are some conditions that can be treated with acupuncture.

  • Muscles strains
  • Ligament sprains
  • Low back pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Headaches
  • Whiplash
  • Tendinitis
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Disc bulge
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Shin splint syndrome
  • Bursitis
  • TMJ pain

Does Acupuncture hurt?

The needle used in acupuncture is the width of a hair. You may feel a slight prick, but the treatment is not painful.

Acupuncture is now available at ALPHA Health Services

Registered physiotherapist and acupuncture provider Jennifer Harvey is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm to 8pm. To book online with Jennifer click here. To learn more about Jennifer click here.

  1. Evidence Based Acupuncture, Access at
  2. Wang, S., Kain, Z., and White, P. Acupuncture Analgesia: I. The Scientific Basis. Anesthesia and Anaglesia. 106, No. 2, February 2008.

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