Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the many skills used within Physiotherapy as an integrated approach to the management of pain and musculoskeletal conditions.

What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into various points along the body which is considered to be lines of energy (meridians) as a means to stimulating the body’s own healing chemicals in order to aid recovery and enhance rehabilitation.

How does acupuncture work ?
Acupuncture stimulates the body to produce endorphins and oxytocin, its own pain and stress relieving chemicals. It promotes sleep by stimulating the release of melatonin in the body and encourages a sense of well-being by stimulating the release of serotonin. Acupuncture also stimulates nerve fibres to block out pain signals and helps to reduce the sensitivity of tender points in the body.

What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?
Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions such as back and neck pain, knee and shoulder problems, headaches, sports injuries and tendon complaints such as tennis elbow.

Acupuncture is usually used as an adjunct along side manual therapy and soft tissue techniques and exercise programs to aid recovery.

Is Acupuncture safe ?
Acupuncture is safe when practised by a member of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) because of the strict hygiene guidelines that must be adhered to, and the training courses and educational updates that are required in order to stay on the membership register.

Are there any side effects ?
Any side effects tend to be mild and short-lived. They may include: fatigue, light headedness, bruising, localised bleeding or soreness or redness of the skin around the needle sites. If you continue to feel tired after a treatment, it is recommended that you do not drive or operate machinery.

How effective is acupuncture?
The effects of acupuncture treatments are cumulative: People respond in different ways and at different rates. Some may feel an immediate relief of their symptoms whilst others may only see a gradual improvement after a few treatments. Some may find that their condition/symptoms flare up for up to 24 hours after the treatment but then see a marked improvement.

Although acupuncture can help reduce pain, particularly when other more conventional treatments have failed, it does not work for everyone.

Acupressure
Acupressure applies the same principles as acupuncture however instead of needles being inserted physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points.