What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into skin and muscle. It is a traditional treatment in China where it has been used for thousands of years. Western medical acupuncture is now a very popular choice of treatment for pain relief with many health professionals now being able to administer it.
Acupuncture can be used for a wide range of conditions. The NICS guidelines (2009) recommend its use for persistent non-specific low back pain and in 2012 NICE recognised its benefits for relieving migraines and tension-type headaches.
Physiotherapists have the benefit of using it as part of their treatment plan to control pain. It can be used in combination with many other treatments like exercise and manual therapy.
How does Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture produces a stimulation within the skin and muscle which produces a chemical response by the body. The body releases endorphins and other stress and pain relieving chemicals. It also stimulates the release of serotonin into the body which might be why people have a general sense of well-being after treatments.
Acupuncture also helps to relieve pain by stimulating nerve fibres that block the pain signals and can help to reduce sensitivity of tender areas in the body.
A course of up to 6 acupuncture treatments is often recommended although sometimes 1 or 2 treatments can be sufficient.
Does acupuncture hurt?
The sensation that acupuncture causes is often described as heavy, tingling, warm or a mild ache but it should not be painful. The needles are the same width as human hair so it is not the same sensation as having an injection. People can react in different ways like feeling light headed, drowsy or relaxed but overall it shouldn’t feel unpleasant. Some people don’t even feel the needle at all.
Is acupuncture the right treatment for me?
If you are interested in acupuncture please contact me to discuss how it might benefit you and relieve your pain. You can book a physiotherapy appointment and we can discuss whether acupuncture might be able to relieve your symptoms. It is a very safe treatment to use and a good alternative to taking medication is some situations which have more side effects.
I trained with and am a member of the Acupuncture Associate of Chartered Physiotherapists which has provided me with a high standard of evidenced based training and ensures that you are receiving a safe and effective treatment. For more information on why you should chose a Physiotherapist with AACP membership to provide you with acupuncture treatment click here.