Acupuncture

Kristina Hanson BHSc, RAc Acupuncture

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Acupuncture


Acupuncture is a safe, effective treatment that can relieve pain, improve recovery, boost the immune system and reduce stress. It is a natural approach to health that recognizes the integrity of the whole person and strengthens the body’s own healing process.

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What conditions can it treat?

Acupuncture can treat many conditions and alleviate a variety of symptoms. Below are some of the more common conditions that can be helped with acupuncture treatment.    Acupuncture, Victoria, BC

  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Sciatica
  • Back and neck injury/pain
  • Knee pain/injury
  • Arthritis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Frozen shoulder
  • TMJ
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Anxiety, Depression, Stress
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Headaches, Migraines
  • Dizziness, Tinnitis, Vertigo
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles)
  • Endometriosis, PMS, Menopausal symptoms
  • Fertility issues
  • Sinusitis
  • Nausea
  • Constipation, Diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Gastritis, Colitis

How does it work?

Acupuncture reduces pain and stimulates the body’s own healing response. There are two ways of explaining it. One is from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view that uses traditional concepts, philosophy and terminology. The other is a western biomedical explanation that discusses the role of endorphins and the central nervous system. I will discuss both.

From a traditional perspective acupuncture is based on the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the concept of balancing energy in the body. Energy is said to flow along meridians which are defined as pathways that circulate through the body (they often correlate with the circulatory and nervous system in conventional medicine). In a healthy body energy flows smoothly whereas in an unhealthy or injured body the energy becomes blocked. Stimulating points along the meridian removes any blockage and improves energy circulation throughout the body. Improving the flow of energy brings the body back to a state of balance which allows healing to take place.

From a biomedical perspective acupuncture is able to stimulate the body’s own healing response through a cascade of reactions that reduce pain and inflammation, increase blood circulation and activate the immune system. The body recognizes the needle as ‘foreign’ (similar to when you get a sliver) which stimulates the immune system to start the healing process and regulate the pain cycle. It does this by interrupting pain signals along nerve fibers, increasing circulation, releasing endorphins and stimulating the central nervous system to regulate neurotransmitters and hormones. The release of these chemicals reduce pain, stimulate the immune system and regulate various functions and systems in the body.

How much training does a Registered Acupuncturist complete?

BC requires licensing of all Registered Acupuncturists. It is regulated under the Health Professions Act and Registrants must be licensed with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC (CTCMA). In BC, a Registered Acupuncturist undergoes a minimum of 3 years of full-time accredited acupuncture education in addition to 2 years of prerequisite university sciences. After completing 5 years of education, they must pass a National Board Exam in order to be licensed to practice in BC. The title ‘Acupuncturist’ is restricted to Registered Acupuncturists (R.Ac) licensed by the CTCMA.

Registered Acupuncturists must renew their license every year. The continuing education requirements for Registered Acupuncturists are amongst the highest of all the regulated health professions in BC.

How does Acupuncture work for stress reduction and anxiety?

When stress becomes chronic the brain reacts by inducing the “fight or flight” response which causes a release of adrenaline and cortisol. Continuous release of stress hormones causes a cascade of symptoms in the body. Common manifestations of stress show up as short-term memory loss, weight gain, insomnia, headaches, fatigue and depression.brain

When a person feels stress, a region of the brain called the hypothalamus sends a message to the adrenal glands to produce a surge of cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenaline can be helpful in acute moments of stress as it boosts physical energy, but is harmful when stress becomes chronic as it can lead to high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and decreased immune function. Excess cortisol affects the brain, immune system and digestion. Over time it can lead to a decrease in cognitive function, memory and learning.

Acupuncture can help alleviate the symptoms of long-term stress and anxiety by altering brain neurochemistry causing an increase in dopamine and serotonin (the feel good hormones). Regular treatment gives the body and mind a rest and decreases the physical effects of the stress. If you experience chronic stress or anxiety you may want to explore acupuncture as an effective treatment approach.

How does Acupuncture work for injuries and pain reduction?

Acupuncture promotes blood flow. Acupuncture increases blood flow and vasodilation to areas of injury which helps to speed up the healing process. Restoring proper blood flow to injured areas is vital to healing.

Acupuncture stimulates the body’s own healing mechanism. Acupuncture creates “micro-traumas” which cause a mild local inflammation that stimulates the body’s ability to heal tissue through nerve, endocrine, and immune system activation. The reaction is similar to when you get a sliver. As the body heals the micro-trauma caused by the needle, it also promotes healing in the surrounding tissue.

Acupuncture relaxes tight muscles. The intra-muscular sensation caused by the needle activates a reflex causing the the muscle fibers to relax which relieves pressure on joint structures and nerves.

Acupuncture releases natural painkillers. Needle insertion sends a signal through the nervous system to the brain, where chemicals such as endorphins, norepinephrine and enkephalin are released. These substances provide pain relief in the body.

Acupuncture reduces the intensity and perception of pain. It does this through a process of blocking pain signals along nerve fibers.

Acupuncture reduces stress. This is one of the the most important systemic effects of acupuncture. Research shows that acupuncture promotes the release of oxytocin, a hormone/signaling substance that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system produces a relaxation response; the body heals faster when in a relaxed state.

Is there any research on acupuncture?

Yes, there are many studies showing the efficacy of acupuncture for a variety of conditions particularly pain relief. Please see here for links to some recent published studies.

What does it feel like?

People find treatment to be a gentle and relaxing experience. The needles are as thin as a strand of hair so the sensation is very mild. Often you will not feel the insertion at all. Kristina’s technique is very gentle and many people come specifically for this reason, especially those who are nervous or trying it for the first time. Some people find it so relaxing they fall asleep during treatment!


About Our Acupuncturist
Kristina Hanson, BHSc., RAcKristina Hanson, Acupuncture, Victoria, BC

Kristina Hanson, BHSc, RAc is a Registered Acupuncturist and licensed member of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC (CTCMA). She has a Bachelor of Health Sciences Degree from Thompson Rivers University and a four year Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Canadian College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She has been in practice since 2001.

Kristina is known for her gentle touch and caring manner with patients. Her gentle approach is especially helpful for those nervous about trying acupuncture for the first time. She has a special interest in women’s health issues and treating the effects of stress, anxiety, and fatigue using a restorative approach to bring the body back to a state of balance.

Kristina has a passion for learning and stays up-to-date by regularly attending health seminars and workshops. She recognizes the benefit of integrating eastern and western medicine and has applied her knowledge to develop continuing education courses for other health professionals. She believes in sharing the concepts of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine so that more people can apply them to everyday living.

More questions?

Check our FAQ page or contact us. We’re friendly and we’d love to hear from you! If you have questions about your specific condition please call our office. Kristina can answer your questions and help determine if acupuncture is right for you.

How do I book an appointment?

To book an appointment please call reception at (250) 598-3718 or book anytime using online booking:

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