What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a health practice that originated in China. There are different types of acupuncture. They all include using needles placed under the skin to stimulate points in the body and ease symptoms.

Acupuncture has changed over the years. Today it’s much different from the ancient form and also much safer. For example, instead of re-using silver and gold needles, practitioners use safer disposable needles. Practitioners today may also apply heat and mild electrical impulses to needles to improve results.

What are the risks of acupuncture?

The risks of acupuncture are relatively low when you see a certified practitioner. But treatment can cause serious side effects if it is not done properly. Side effects may include infection, bleeding, punctured organs and injury to the central nervous system.

You should avoid acupuncture if you:

Have a pacemaker. Electrical impulses can interfere with its operation.
Are pregnant. In some cases, acupuncture could start labor and cause premature delivery.
Have bleeding disorders or take blood thinners. These can increase your chances of bleeding or bruising from needle insertions.

Is acupuncture right for you?

What to expect during treatment

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for your session. During your first treatment, the practitioner will ask questions about your symptoms and may examine parts of your body where you feel pain.

The treatment causes little discomfort. Here’s how it works:

You will lie on a padded table during the session and wear your own clothing or a gown or sheet.
 Dr Chartier will explain where needles will be placed during treatment.
When you are comfortable, Dr Chartier will place 5-20 thin needles under your skin. You may feel a slight tingling or ache.
As you relax, Dr Chartier may move the needles or apply heat or mild electrical pulses.
After 10-20 minutes, the practitioner will remove the needles.

You may need more than one treatment to manage your symptoms. It could take as many as six to eight treatments. How often you need treatment depends on your condition and symptoms.

After treatment

Some people say they feel relaxed after treatment. Others say they have more energy. It might take a few days before you notice a change in your symptoms. But if they don’t improve within a few weeks, you may need to try other treatment.