Orthopedic Acupuncture: Q & A with Michael McFarlane B.Sc., R.Ac.

What are the differences between orthopedic acupuncture and traditional Chinese styles of acupuncture?

Orthopedic acupuncture is mainly used to treat musculo-skeletal issues that result in acute or chronic pain conditions, such as frozen shoulder, tennis or golfer’s elbow, back pain, sciatic pain, knee pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, arthritic pain, and many other areas of pain. In orthopedic styles of acupuncture, the needling is done into muscle motor points, as well as traditional acupuncture points. The needles that stimulate the motor points help to release muscle tension quickly. Also, the acupuncture needles can reach muscles that lay very deep to the surface much easier than other techniques. During this form of acupuncture the patient may feel the muscle twitch, which is a beneficial sign of the treatment. Between orthopedic acupuncture treatments, stretching of the treated muscles is recommended.

While traditional Chinese acupuncture can be used to treat muscular issues, it is not limited to them. It can be used to treat issues like insomnia, emotional stress, digestive issues, reproductive issues, headaches/migraines, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and many other medical conditions. In traditional acupuncture, the needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points. While these points may be found on muscles, they are also found on many other areas of the body. The acupuncture points are chosen based on Chinese medical diagnoses, which are very different from a Western medical approach. Though different, the diagnosis and treatment based on Chinese medical theory can be highly effective as a stand alone method of treatment, or when used in conjunction with Western medical treatments, and massage therapy.

Does acupuncture have to involve needles?

While acupressure can be done on the same points used for acupuncture, using acupuncture needles is preferred as it is the more effective form of treatment. Some people are not fond of needles, but the needles used for acupuncture treatments are many times smaller than those used in doctor’s offices.

Our Acupuncturist Michael Amador McFarlane

Michael Amador McFarlane is a registered acupuncturist with the College & Association of Acupuncturists of Alberta.  Trained in Canada and China, Michael provides treatments in both traditional Chinese and orthopedic acupuncture.  Traditional Chinese needles are applied to specific meridian or organ system points, to stimulate healing.  In orthopedic acupuncture needles are applied to muscle motor points to alleviate pain and tension.  He also offers Cupping Therapy, in which glass or silicone cups are attached to the body with suction.  Some of the most common issues Michael addresses includes, but is not limited to: pain, insomnia, infertility, headaches/migraines, anxiety and gastrointestinal problems.