Acupuncture is a holistic approach to the management of disease and the maintenance of health. It is part of wider Chinese medicine that was developed over 3000 years ago in Eastern Asia.
Back What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific points of the body to relieve pain and inflammation and promote recovery. The fine acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin for a certain amount of time to stimulate the flow of energy and restore balance, providing an ideal environment for healing.
In recent decades acupuncture has become popular all around the world and is one of the most rapidly growing complementary therapies in the UK. Through its growing use over the last 30 to 40 years, more evidence has been built up proving the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating multiple different problems.
Acupuncture and Physiotherapy.
Physiotherapists have been studying acupuncture and integrating it into their practice since the 1980s. It is often used in conjunction with manual therapy and exercise to provide the best recovery for patients from injury.
Physios follow a western treatment approach that utilises traditional acupuncture points that sit on energy channels known as Meridians, whilst integrating other approaches such as trigger point acupuncture and dry needling directly into painful areas. Western and traditional Chinese acupuncture share many clinical benefits, including …
Benefits of Acupuncture
- Pain relief
- Reducing stiffness
- Reducing Inflammation
- Promoting healing
- Increased blood flow
- Muscle relaxation
How does it work?
Acupuncture works by releasing the body’s own pain-relieving chemicals (endorphins) and other neuro chemicals that help block pain signals locally, at the spinal cord and within the brain. As the needle is inserted into the skin at a particular point, it stimulates nerve endings in the local area. This in turn sends signals to the spinal cord and the brain where these neuro chemicals are then released. These chemicals not only provide pain relief they also promote healing and reduce inflammation.
The insertion of acupuncture needles also provides significant local effect such as increased blood flow, improved oxygen levels and muscle relaxation.
How does it feel?
Although you may feel the needles in your skin you should not experience much in the way of pain. Most patients feel a deep heaviness/pressure. The traditional Chinese practitioners call this Qi (pronounced Chi).
Acupuncture can help treat the following conditions:
- Migraines and headaches. Acupuncture has been proven to be as effective as some common medications prescribed for migraines and tension headaches
- Nausea and dizziness
- Muscle pain. Can be very effective at releasing tension in tight, overactive trigger points
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Osteoarthritis/OA. Extensive research proving acupunctures efficacy. Especially in helping relieve pain associated with Knee OA
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sports Injuries
- Tendon pains e.g. at the Achilles, patellar, tennis elbow and golfers elbow
Whilst acupuncture does not work for all patients and response rates vary, most patients experience some relief. It can often reduce the need for stronger pain medication and help settle down initial irritability allowing for a gradual increase in activity, providing a window of opportunity for prescribed exercises to start to help.