What are the benefits of Acupuncture?

I’ve just completed some Continuous professional development on Acupuncture; with Breeze academy and thought I’d share a blog about it. 

Acupuncture is one of many techniques used within Physiotherapy to manage pain, soft tissue injuries and enhance the body’s own healing chemicals to aid recovery and enhance rehabilitation.

It is believed that acupuncture enhances pain modulation via stimulation of the brain and spinal cord to produce natural pain-relieving chemicals, such as endorphins and melatonin, to promote sleep and serotonin to promote wellbeing.

These chemicals assist the body’s healing process and can be used as a precursor to other physiotherapy techniques.

Acupuncture is mainly known for pain relief. This is one of our treatment modalities that can be very useful to treat muscle and joint pain such as back and neck pain, tension headaches, knee pain, shoulder pain, fibromyalgia and chronic pain conditions.

Acupuncture involves using single use, pre-sterilised, disposable needles of varying sizes that pierce the skin at specific acupuncture points. Several needles may be used at each treatment. These are typically left in position for about 20-30 minutes before being removed.

When the needles are inserted, we look to elicit ‘De qi’, which is the ‘excitation of qi or vital energy inside meridians by acupuncture needle stimulation. Patients have described this sensation from an aching, numbness or tingling to pressure or heaviness. But sharp pain is certainly not ‘De qi’. 

The therapist will determine the acupuncture points after a thorough examination of the patient. Physiotherapists may use traditional acupuncture points only, trigger points, or both.

Patients will generally require about three sessions before the therapist can be sure of an effect, though some people may show immediate results after treatment.

The effect of acupuncture is cumulative, and pain relief builds up as the treatment progresses.

Serious side effects are very rare; less than 1 in 10,000 treatments.

Your physiotherapist will run through a detailed history and examination to assess your suitability for acupuncture.  You also need to alert the physiotherapist to any medical conditions you may suffer from, such as diabetes, heart problems and low blood pressure.

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