Although the modern medical world is divided upon how exactly acupuncture works, many modern studies have shown that acupuncture relieves pain.
The latest thinking is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain.
These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which create a sense of wellbeing.
Can acupuncture help me?
NICE guidelines (source: NICE 2009) recommends a course of 10 sessions of acupuncture for persistent, non-specific low back pain.
In September 2012, NICE recognised acupuncture's benefits for migraines and tension-type headaches too. Our physios feel that acupuncture has the greatest effect when used alongside other physiotherapy treatments such as exercise, manual therapy and soft tissue techniques rather than a stand alone treatment. It can also be used when other more conventional treatments have failed.
Acupuncture is widely used in the treatment of headache, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and many other conditions. Recent studies have demonstrated pain relief and improved function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee.
(Information from , 2019)
What happens when I see my physiotherapist for acupuncture?
When you first see our physiotherapist at The Physio Studio, they will take your full medical history and ask you about your current health problems.
Between 1 to 10 needles may be used at a time at an acupuncture session. The number of needles used will vary according to your condition and symptoms.
The needles are inserted through the skin either at the sites where you feel pain, away from the pain or a combination of both. The needles are usually left in for a few minutes up to 30 minutes. During the treatment, your physiotherapist may stimulate the needles by gently rotating them. This is done to increase the treatment's effectiveness.
The needles are removed at the end of the session. You will then be asked to rest for a few minutes before you leave.
(Information from , 2019)
Acupuncture needles are the same width as human hair, are much smaller than an injection needle, so having acupuncture does not feel the same as having an injection. The needles are disposable, pre-sterilised and individually packaged.
At The Physio Studio we always use 'guide-tubes' for easy insertion which means that there is no risk of anything touching the needle during the process. When needles are inserted, you may feel a temporary, sharp pricking sensation.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is a very safe procedure when carried out by fully qualified professionals. Our AACP physiotherapist are qualified to carry out acupuncture and have undergone a recognised accredited training course in acupuncture. This in addition to his three year study as a physiotherapist and at least one year clinical practice.
The needles used by your physiotherapist are sterile and disposed of safely after one use.
AACP members are required to keep up to date with scientific evidence. Acupuncture is safe when practised by a member of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) because of the strict hygiene guidelines we must follow and the training courses and educational updates that are required in order to stay on the membership register.