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Acupuncture – More Than Pain Relief

By: Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Acupuncture releases natural painkillers, promotes blood flow, stimulates hormonal balance, relaxes tight muscles, calms anxiety, lifts depression, and promotes digestion.

This ancient Chinese therapy effects every major system of the body, including the cardiac, gastrointestinal, circulatory, cerebral, genitourinary, endocrine and immune systems.


Get to the point…

Some people explain acupuncture in terms of energy and meridians. While this is not wrong, it would be equally right to explain that the energy is based on nerve conduction and proper firing of the nervous system.

Each acupuncture point is a small area about 1cm in diameter. Points are where groups of nerves meet below a small opening in the fascia. Needling these points, electronically stimulating or even applying vibrational therapy or direct pressure activates the points. This will help dissipate energy that has built up or, alternatively, stimulate the flow of energy to the area.

Did you catch that? Needles are only one way to stimulate the point. If you don’t like needles and wish to try a needle free way of stimulating the points, there are alternatives like vibrational therapy, tapping, acu-seeds or pressure. Some of these can be done at home and can be helpful between treatment sessions.

For example, naturopathic protocols to heal the gastro intestinal tract or aid in digestion could include diet and lifestyle adjustments, botanical medicines, nutraceuticals and or acupuncture to stimulate (help constipation) or calm (help diarrhea). Pain, gas, bloating may be an imbalance in flora and increased dampness in the body. There are points to reduce dampness, and drain lymphatics in addition to addressing the dysfunctional stool.


  1. Relieves pain.
  2. Reduces inflammation.
  3. Brings balance in the body.

What’s in it for me?

Acupuncture is a drug free way to address:

  • TMJ/ jaw clenching
  • sciatica
  • blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • inflammation
  • joint pain
  • acute injuries
  • frozen shoulder
  • PMS
  • bursitis
  • arthritis
  • fatigue
  • common cold
  • headache
  • sinusitis
  • insomnia
  • muscle tension
  • PCOS
  • tinnitus
  • ulcerative colitis
  • vertigo
  • weak immune system
  • fertility

Usually pain relief is found after the first 30-minute treatment. It typically takes 4-8 treatments to restore balance and heal the body. Sessions can be daily, biweekly, weekly. For maintenance treatments are once a month.

Under Ontario regulation, Naturopathic Doctors are able to perform acupuncture. When claimed under your benefit plan, it will be considered as “naturopathic services”.