Recently, a patient visited my office seeking relief from chronic pain through acupuncture after hearing rave reviews from a friend on its effectiveness.

Acupuncture, a core practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, has been curing various ills for hundreds of years. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has chosen Traditional Chinese Medicine for worldwide propagation to meet the health-care needs of the 21st century.

The conditions that WHO and the U.S. National Institute of Health recognize as being effectively treated by acupuncture are numerous and include respiratory issues, such as allergies, pneumonia and bronchitis; gastrointestinal disorders like acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome; psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, insomnia and depression; as well as a range of cardiovascular, neurological and dermatological disorders.

An initial visit with an acupuncture therapist involves a detailed evaluation of your condition and overall well-being, as well as a physical examination that focuses on the tongue, pulses and musculoskeletal palpations.

Then, very fine stainless steel needles are inserted at specific locations (known as neural nodes) to stimulate the peripheral and central nervous system. This triggers internal chemicals, such as endorphins and enkephalins, which results in relief, restoring and maintaining the body’s self-healing processes.

Actual insertion of needles is virtually painless, as they are whisker-thin. Once the acupuncturist brings the needle to the appropriate depth, a patient may feel a slight tingling, heavy or warm sensation. Depending on the condition being treated, a treatment’s duration can range from 15 minutes to an hour. You leave feeling relaxed, but energized.

Since his initial visit, the patient I mentioned earlier is thrilled with the results. He’s experienced relief from his chronic pain and an overall increase in well-being.

Be it a cold or flu, asthma or arthritis, acupuncture is an effective, drug-free therapy that can be useful to anyone at any age.

By Dr. Brigitte Tetrault Originally posted on North Island Midweek