Acupuncture

What exactly is it?

Acupuncture is one of the many skills used within physiotherapy as an integrated approach to the management of pain and inflammation. It is also a means of stimulating your body’s own healing chemicals in order to aid recovery and enhance your rehabilitation.

The use of acupuncture has been around for over 2000 years in Chinese medicine, but has become increasingly more utilised in Western medicine since the 1970’s.

person holding silver and white pen
The acupuncture needle will stimulate the flow of QI

The needle stimulates the flow of QI (pronounced ‘chee’), which circulates in channels or meridians within your body. The QI circulates within the deeper organs of your body, but connects to your superficial skin.

In a normal healthy body, a balance exists between these systems. Both the superficial energy and the deeper energy can be influenced by the stimulation of specific acupuncture points.

How does Acupuncture work?

It stimulates your body’s sensory nerves to produce endorphins and oxytocin, your body’s own pain and stress relieving chemicals.

Also, it can promote sleep by stimulating the release of melatonin in your body and encourages a sense of well-being by stimulating the release of your happy hormone serotonin.

Your nerve fibres are stimulated to block out pain signals so this helps to reduce the sensitivity of tender points in your body. These assist your body’s healing process and offer you pain relief in addition to other manual therapies.

Acupuncture is one of the many skills used within Physiotherapy

What does Acupuncture feel like?

It is carried out using hair-thin needles but dont worry, most people report feeling very minimal pain as the needle is inserted.

The needle is inserted to a point that produces a sensation of pressure or ache and some people experience feelings of warmth. Some people report acupuncture makes them feel energized. Others say they feel relaxed.

Are there different applications?

There are several techniques, some of them are described below:

  1. Conventional

This technique involves the use of single-use, pre-sterilised, disposable needles. These needles pierce the skin at specific acupuncture points within the body. Each point is carefully selected by your physiotherapist based on your needs

  • Trigger Point

This can be used to facilitate relaxation in specific muscles following trauma such as whiplash and long-term unresolving muscle pain such as repetitive strain injuries. It can be used to increase muscle length to aid stretching and rehab of sports injuries.

  • Electro-Acupuncture

During this technique, electrodes are attached to the needles that are designed to deliver variable amplitudes and frequencies of electrical pulses. This method can be particularly beneficial in those experiencing chronic pain.

  • Acupressure

Acupressure is a needle-free technique. This technique involves applying pressure of varying degrees with hands or fingers to specific trigger or acupuncture points within the body.

Acupuncture has been shown to benefit those who may suffer rheumatoid arthritis or oestoarthritis

Can You benefit from Acupuncture?

In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed a number of conditions in which they say that this treatment method has been proven effective. So, you can see some of these familiar complaints listed on the chart below:

Low back pain/ SciaticaChronic Painpost-operative convalescence
Rheumatoid arthritis/OsteoarthritisNeuralgiaFacial pain
Neck PainHeadache and MigraineDental pain
Allergic rhinitisTennis Elbow Myofascial pain
FibromyalgiaPelvic painCarpal tunnel syndrome

If you are curious or interested in how Acupuncture could help you please contact us by clicking here Contact or call us on 01560 483200 for more information.

Acupuncture, Needles, Hand, Medicine, Physiotherapy

Reference: Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (www.aacp.org.uk)