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.
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.
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.
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.
There are several techniques, some of them are described below:
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
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.
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 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.
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/ Sciatica||Chronic Pain||post-operative convalescence|
|Rheumatoid arthritis/Osteoarthritis||Neuralgia||Facial pain|
|Neck Pain||Headache and Migraine||Dental pain|
|Allergic rhinitis||Tennis Elbow||Myofascial pain|
|Fibromyalgia||Pelvic pain||Carpal 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.
Reference: Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (www.aacp.org.uk)