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January 31, 2012

Food For Thought

Acupuncture Explained

Ever wonder if acupuncture is right for you? David Liang, a leading Doctor of Acupuncture, helps to answer some common questions about this time-tested discipline.

How does acupuncture work to heal the body?

To answer this in very simple terms…Acupuncture stimulates a “relaxation response” in the body. Systemically it works by affecting the nervous system and through the activation of certain brain chemicals. Locally, the acupuncture needles can stimulate muscles to relax by affecting certain trigger points.

What conditions are you able to treat with acupuncture?

Acupuncture can treat so many things. We have points that can help decrease inflammation, improve circulation, and boost the immune system.

Most people know that it can help reduce pain and muscle tension, and thus, is quite effective for headaches, fibromyalgia, shoulder pain, lower back pain and sports injuries. It is also wonderful for decreasing stress and in fact, treating anything that seems to be aggravated by stress such as insomnia, digestive disorders, and addictive behaviour. Finally, acupuncture works extremely well at regulating women’s menstrual cycles as well as treating menstrual cramps.  In fact, there is a lot of interest at the moment on the effects of acupuncture on female as well as male fertility.

How many treatments does it take to notice results?

From my experience, some people respond extremely quickly to acupuncture…they can experience results in even one treatment! However, I find that most “acute” injuries under 1 year old, can be resolved within 3-5 or 5-10 treatments.  I often have to see how well they respond to the first treatment in order to determine what bracket they fall under.

“Chronic” issues usually need more treatments.

With respect to fertility and menstrual issues, changes can be detected after 1 month but I usually like to see them regularly over a 3 month time period.

I really like getting people on an acupuncture maintenance program.  This just means getting a treatment once a month or every couple months even when there’s nothing really wrong.  That’s when you can really notice the more “long-term” effects of acupuncture.

People can start to notice that their overall mood has improved, they seem to handle stress better, their body seems looser and they don’t seem to suffer from as many physical or mental problems. Getting on a maintenance program allows you to experience the more “well-being” side of acupuncture.

Do you get acupuncture?

I myself get acupuncture 1x/month just for health maintenance.

David Liang is a Doctor of Acupuncture and graduated from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego with a Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine.  He practices in Toronto and integrates his experience in Chinese Medicine along with restorative yoga positions, and mindfulness meditation techniques to treat the body/mind, both functionally and posturally.