Acupuncture is one of many methods we apply within physiotherapy as an integrated approach to the management of pain and inflammation. We use it to trigger the body’s healing chemicals to aid recovery, enhance rehabilitation and improve quality of life. Research supports the use of acupuncture, particularly in the management of pain.
The Benefits of Acupuncture treatment
Acupuncture treatment aims to restore and re-balance the body’s systems. This is achieved by stimulating the body to produce natural chemicals, such as endorphins to relieve pain, melatonin to promote sleep and serotonin to make you feel better. We will always tailor our treatments to suit you and your specific needs. When you visit us at our clinic we will undertake an in-depth assessment to determine the source of your symptoms. This assessment will allow us to select the acupuncture points required to effectively treat your condition. We use this treatment within the background of clinical and research evidence to reduce recovery time and allow other physiotherapy treatments to achieve optimal results. Acupuncture can relieve pain and help you to relax, thus enabling you to effectively engage in rehabilitation.
We will use specific points depending on your needs and area of symptoms. We generally use points in the area of your pain, in addition to some carefully selected points in other parts of your body. Research has shown that using points in this way provides longer lasting pain relief. Acupuncture points are located along meridians. The concept of meridians stems from Traditional Chinese Medicine, where they are considered to be “energy highways” through which our Qi (energy) flows. Meridians can be mapped throughout the whole body and have acupuncture points located along them.
We have 12 meridians: lung, large intestine, stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidney, pericardium, Triple heater, gall bladder and liver. The meridians are named according to their corresponding organs, limb positions and yin and yang properties. Yin and yang are considered two opposite, while complementary energies that are interdependent. Traditional Chinese Medicine theory is about bringing yin and yang forces back into balance. The 6 yin meridians are located on the inner side of the limbs, on the chest and abdomen. The 6 yang meridians are located on the outer side of the limbs and on the head, face and trunk.
Duration and side-effects
Our acupuncture treatments are approximately 40 minutes long. We leave the needles in place for 30 minutes for optimal effectiveness. During your treatment, your therapist may gently manipulate the needles to stimulate the acupuncture point and keep it working throughout your treatment. When receiving treatment, you may feel an aching sensation that the Chinese call Deqi. Deqi refers to the excitation of qi or vital energy inside meridians by acupuncture needle stimulation. Deqi is considered a parameter of therapeutic effectiveness and its presence suggests that treatment is taking effect. On rare occasions you may feel a little light headed, drowsy or develop a small bruise in the area where the needle has been inserted. These effects are rare, but if you do experience these, or any other side effects, please let your therapist know
Trigger point and equipment
We may use Trigger point acupuncture in addition to your treatment. Trigger points are hypothesised as being hyper-irritable points in the muscle or connective tissue (fascia), which can cause both local and referred pain. Acupuncture can work directly into trigger points to relieve pain. During trigger point treatment, your therapist may manipulate the needle more strongly for a short amount of time in order to relieve the trigger point, associated pain and tightness.
We use top quality needles, which are sterile and single person use only. Furthermore, we safely dispose of the used needles in a sharps bin following your treatment. On the whole, side effects are minimal. We would however, urge you to consider acupuncture as part of your treatment, rather than as the whole package. We believe that exercises, postural change and other aspects will need to be addressed, too, in order for the benefits to be maintained.
Our therapists have trained with The Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) and learned how to integrate Western Base Acupuncture into their Physiotherapy practice. The AACP is a professional network, of which our Acupuncture-trained Physiotherapists are now members. The AACP is affiliated to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). Our team engage in regular peer support and training to ensure that they continue to develop their Acupuncture skills. The team also find Traditional Chinese Medicine principles fascinating and have discovered that Acupuncture has many holistic benefits, especially the promotion of relaxation.
If you are interested in trying Acupuncture as part of your treatment, please discuss it with your Physiotherapist. It is possible that your medical history may preclude you from being able to try this treatment. In that event we will explain to you the alternatives and provide you with a more appropriate treatment approach.