Acupuncture – A Natural Healing Modality
by Dr. Sofie Desforges-Bell, ND
Acupuncture: Based in Traditional Chinese Medicine
As part of my naturopathic medical training, I learned and practiced acupuncture. It is based in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC). It is one of the many modalities that I now use in my practice to treat patients in a holistic manner. So why choose acupuncture?
Acupuncture originates from China and it has been around for more than 2500 years.
It works with very thin needles inserted at various locations in the body. This, in turn, stimulates nerves in the area which can help enhance the function of various organs, tissues and body systems. Each single-use needle comes pre-sterilized in its own individual packaging. This ensures complete sanitization and no risk of infection.
Acupuncture and the Qi
Acupuncture also works with the qi, this invisible life-force within us. It can ensure that this energy is flowing properly throughout the body, resulting in better physical, mental-emotional, and energetic balance. It is believed that there are over 2000 acupuncture points connected by meridians & pathways in our body. By releasing blockages and stagnation, we encourage the body to heal.
What To Expect From an Acupuncture Session
Each session starts with a short discussion about your health goals. Then, I develop an individualized protocol tailored to your specific health concerns. One approach to acupuncture that is used for pain conditions, is to stick the needles where it hurts. I often combine this approach with a TCM-based one, which has its own system of diagnosis and assessments. In this case, the needles are inserted at a variety of locations in the body, from head-to-toe and not simply in the location of your physical concern.
Once the assessment is done, you will be invited to lie down on a treatment table and to remove any piece of clothing that may cover any of the targeted body parts. A blanket or sheet will be provided as needed.
Needle insertion: Acupuncture needles will be inserted at specific point locations on your body according to your individualized protocol. The needles are so thin that there is little to no pain experienced. Many patients report a pinprick sensation upon insertion of the needles in some locations more than others. You may feel some discomfort or sensations at the location of insertion but should rarely experience pain. I will gently insert each needle to ensure correct depth and placement. There are usually between 10-20 needles placed on various points on the body depending on your health concern and protocol.
Needle removal: To maximize their benefits, needles are usually left for about 15-30 minutes. You can then relax to the sound of soft music playing in the background. When possible, lights will be dimmed to encourage total relaxation. Removal of needles is usually painless. Most patients report feeling very relaxed after their acupuncture session.
Health Benefits of Acupuncture
Research has shown that acupuncture can help with a variety of ailments, mostly the relief of chronic pain including:
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Osteoarthritis/Knee pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Relief of symptoms associated with cancer treatments
According to the World Health Organization, other benefits have been observed for the treatment of various ailments and conditions. More research is needed to confirm these, but some patients have had seen relief for the following:
- Digestive issues
- Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety
- Stress relief
- Menstrual pain
- Arthritis & muscle pain
- Respiratory issues
If you are looking for a complementary healing modality to add to your treatment plan, why not try acupuncture to ease your pain and address any other health concern. I now offer community acupuncture twice a month (one Saturday mid-month, and the last Monday of every month). All acupuncture treatments fall under naturopathic services and are covered by most health benefits plan. Feel free to email me if you want more information or book a FREE 15-min Meet-and-Greet.
I was drawn to naturopathic medicine as it allows me to explore the root cause of disease in a holistic manner. I love incorporating evidence-based natural medicines with more traditional therapies. By individualizing treatment plans to address each patient’s unique health journey, I guide my patients to optimize their physical, mental-emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.