Acupuncture

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the many skills employed within physiotherapy as part of an integrated approach to the management of pain and inflammation. Physiotherapists base their treatments on scientific research and clinical evidence that Acupuncture can reduce pain by stimulating the brain and spinal cord to produce natural pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins, melatonin (which promotes sleep) and serotonin (to promote well- being), to name but a few. These chemicals assist the body's healing processes and offer pain relief as a precursor to other treatments such as manual therapy or exercise in order to aid recovery. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that acupuncture should be available as a cost-effective short-term treatment for persistent non-specific low back pain (source: NICE 2009). There are many studies that show acupuncture also has a significant effect on treating headaches, migraines and neck pain as well as other muscle and joint pains.

Acupuncture forms part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This ancient system of medicine dates back as far as 1000 years BC and is based on a holistic concept of treatment which regards ill health as a manifestation of imbalance in the body’s energy. Re-establishing a correct balance is the aim of TCM. There is now some growing evidence that acupuncture may also work by stimulating the fascial tissue (trains of tissue that run through your body). AACP members combine TCM principles with scientific evidence as a means of reducing pain and promoting healing, always with the aim of enhancing physiotherapy treatments such as exercise and rehabilitation techniques to promote recovery and improve quality of life. There are several techniques for applying acupuncture and these are described below:

Conventional Acupuncture

Conventional acupuncture involves the use of single-use, pre-sterilised disposable needles of varying widths, lengths and materials that pierce the skin at the acupuncture points. The physiotherapist will determine the locations of these points on the basis of an assessment of the cause of the imbalance. A number of needles may be used during each treatment, and these are typically left in position for between 20 and 30 minutes before being removed.

Trigger point acupuncture may also be used to facilitate relaxation in specific muscles following traumas, for longer-term unresolved muscle pain, or as a means of increasing muscle length in order to aid stretch and rehabilitation. In the latter case, the needle is inserted into the affected muscle until the tissue is felt to relax under the needle, which is then removed. Trigger point needling often produces an effect much more quickly, and therefore, does not require the 20–30-minute treatment time. Above information has been adapted from the acupuncture association of chartered physiotherapists (AACP). The physiotherapists that practice acupuncture are members of the AACP.

Acupuncture - a course of 4 treatments is £128.