Many people have either heard of or have been exposed to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture at some point in their lifetime. Acupuncture is a treatment modality that has been around for many centuries and has withstood the test of time and many criticisms. Today the use of acupuncture is wide spread and has scientific evidence to support its efficacy. Therapists across the world are embracing this ancient method of healing. However, with advancements in modern science and understanding of the nervous system, acupuncture treatments themselves have also evolved. One of these changes was the introduction of electricity to the needles for therapeutic purposes.
What is Electro-Acupuncture?
Electro-Acupuncture is the insertion of fine acupuncture needles into a specific area of the body (muscles, joint capsules) and stimulated with electricity. Electro-acupuncture combines modern scientific physiology together with the benefits of traditional acupuncture. The purpose of the electricity is to regulate or modulate abnormal signals of the nervous system. Electro-acupuncture targets are selected differently then traditional Chinese acupuncture points, in that all targets are chosen based on clearly and correctly identifying dysfunctions in particular body tissues or movement patterns.
Once dysfunctional tissues or movements are identified, the trained practitioner can then begin administering the treatment with the goal to reduce pain or restore tissue functionality through the nervous system.
Who is a candidate for Electro-Acupuncture?
Electro-Acupuncture can be used in many different scenarios and in combination with other types of modalities. It is particularly effective with individuals dealing with any type of acute or chronic pain. Conditions electro-acupuncture is commonly used with include:
- Joint Sprains
- Muscle strains and tears
- Adhesive Capsulitis (frozen shoulder)
- Plantar fasciitis
- Repetitive use injuries (tennis elbow, golfers elbow, Achilles tendonitis)
- Muscle spasms
- post-surgical rehab
- performance care treatments (increasing joint range of motion)
What to expect during and after treatment?
The most commonly asked questions before an acupuncture session, typically is are the needles going to hurt and will I feel like I’m getting shocked? At Rebalance Sports Medicine our therapists are trained and practice a painless needling technique to help minimize any discomfort. A patient may feel a dull ache or contraction of the muscle when the needle is inserted but that is normally tolerable. Some areas of the body are a little more sensitive like the hands and feet but overall sessions should not be painful.
It is not uncommon after a session of electro-acupuncture that a patient might feel some fatigue of the muscles in the area for up to 24 hours. Physical activity of the individual is often encouraged after a treatment if the condition allows for this.
There are some possible side effects of acupuncture which include; bruising, tenderness, itching, and feeling light headed. Furthermore, electro-acupuncture should not be done on those with pacemakers, malignancies, over open sores and individuals with clotting disorders.
Although every condition is different, a general guideline of 1-2 acupuncture treatments per week should be enough to see some positive changes within the first few visits.
Overall, although traditional acupuncture has been around for many centuries and is still commonplace in the health care field, this modern approach to acupuncture has become a modality of choice for many practitioners. It is utilized in many different clinical settings from hospitals to professional sports.
If you are interested in trying or learning more about electro-acupuncture for any of the conditions listed earlier, do not hesitate to book an assessment with one of our qualified Chiropractors or Physiotherapists today.