What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the many skills that can be used by physiotherapists for the management of pain and inflammation and as a means of stimulating the body’s own healing chemicals in order to aid recovery and enhance rehabilitation.
Acupuncture consists of inserting very fine needles into certain sites in the body. It has origins in the Far East over 3000 years ago and increasingly in Western medicine since the 1970s with a growing body of clinical research and scientific evidence to support its use.
How does acupuncture work?
Recent evidence and research has found that when inserting an acupuncture needle, endorphins and oxytocin are released in the brain which are your natural pain and stress relieving chemicals. These chemicals can also help with healing your body. It may also promote sleep by stimulating the release of melatonin, and encourage a sense of well-being by stimulating the realise of serotonin.
Furthermore, acupuncture needles also stimulate nerve fibres to block pain signals and thus help reduce sensations of pain.
Traditional acupuncture focuses on the belief that a life force called Qi or energy flows in channels in the body called meridians. Traditional beliefs suggest that if this Qi does not flow freely that is when illness occurs and acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, when administered by a competent, trained professional. All of our physiotherapists are fully qualified and registered with the AACP (The Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists), adhering to strict safety and hygiene guidelines.
The more common side effects are very minor and pose very little risk. These include mild bruising, mild bleeding, mild pain/aggravation of symptoms, drowsiness dizziness and nausea.
What sort of problems can be treated with acupuncture?
There are several different problems that can be treated with acupuncture. Your physiotherapist will carry out a full subjective and objective examination to see if acupuncture is a recommended treatment modality for you or if you may benefit from a different treatment method first or alongside acupuncture.
Some conditions where acupuncture is used include:
- Acute/chronic conditions
- Joint and muscle problems
- Back and neck pain
- Rheumatoid conditions
- Sports injuries
Currently acupuncture is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for chronic lower back pain, migraines and chronic headaches.
Many people report the benefits of acupuncture for other conditions though there is insufficient evidence to completely prove or disprove this and each persons response is different.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
Acupuncture can be used with other methods of physiotherapy or it can be used alone for treatment and is often explored as a treatment option when some manual techniques have not worked.
Acupuncture can help with:
- Decreased pain
- Decreased stress
- Decreased nausea
Will acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture does not normally hurt; some people may feel a slight discomfort when inserting the fine needles however this should go away, and you may feel sensations fo warmth or ‘heaviness’ during treatment. Some people do not feel the needles at all. Acupuncture needles are approximately the width of a human hair and thus do not feel the same as having an injection.
Why Farrell Physiotherapy?
We pride ourselves on providing excellent patient care ensuring you are always at the centre of what we do. We are committed to continuous education and development to make sure we are up to date with the latest practices and therefore you can feel confident you are getting the best possible advice and care when coming to Farrell Physiotherapy.