Acupuncture is one of the many skills used within physiotherapy as an integrated approach to 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 within physiotherapy is used against the background of clinical and research evidence. The concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM] is an ancient system of written scripts dating as far back as 1000BC, founded on the holistic concept of treatment and an acknowledgement of the body’s ability to return to its balanced state of health, given the correct stimulus to do so.
There are many forces within the body that require balance in order to achieve health and fitness; two forces that are commonly referred to are YIN [negative] and YANG [positive]. Treatment with Acupuncture is undertaken with the aim or restoring all the body systems to a state of balance (homeostasis).
This is achieved by an in-depth physiotherapy assessment to determine the source of the imbalance and the correct acupuncture points required to address this imbalance and facilitate the body’s return to a state of health, both physically and mentally.
The body has the ability to “self-repair: the use of Acupuncture, Acupressure or Electro-Acupuncture enhances the repair mechanism and enables an improved recovery time.
This allows other physiotherapy treatments such as exercise, muscle strengthening and rehabilitation to achieve more effective results.
The acupuncture needle will stimulate the flow of QI [pronounced ‘chee’], which circulates in channels or meridians within the body.
The QI circulates within the deeper organs of the body but connects to the superficial skin. In the state of a normal healthy body, a balance exists between these systems. Both the superficial energy and the deeper energy can be influenced by the stimulation of specific acupuncture points.
If injury, disease, emotional trauma or infection occurs, the natural flow of QI within the meridians and organs may well be affected and the result is an altered flow, either a slowing or stagnation of QI causing pain and inflammation, or a deficit of QI, which may cause weakness, exhaustion and longer debilitating disease.
The stimulation of relevant acupuncture points may free stagnation, reduce excess or indeed, increase QI to the specific area or organ and thus help to restore normal QI flow and balance. Acupuncture is used by Physiotherapists, against a background of sound research and evidence, as a means of enhancing pain modulation via the stimulation of the brain and spinal cord to produce NATURAL pain-relieving chemicals, such as endorphins; melatonin to promote sleep, serotonin to promote well-being, to name but a few.
These assist the body’s healing process and offer pain relief as a precursor for other manual or exercise therapy. Acupuncture is also used by Advanced AACP members as a means of addressing some systemic and longer-term illness, but always with the aim of enhancing physiotherapy treatment and improving the quality of life.
Conditions That Can Be Helped By Acupuncture
At Therapy-First Physiotherapy we specialise in using acupuncture as an addition to our physiotherapy treatments. It is particularly effective in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions as it can help with back and neck pain, tension headaches and muscle and joint problems. It is also very helpful in the treatment of sports injuries.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture has an exemplary safety record, only pre-sterilised single use needles are used, and they are inserted to a high degree of accuracy into the acupuncture points. Our physiotherapists are highly qualified and members of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP).
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Most people who have acupuncture from a skilled practitioner are amazed how comfortable it feels. The proper sensation for acupuncture to be most effective is dull and heavy, not sharp. As acupuncture stimulates the healing and regenerative processes within the body people often experience a wonderful sense of calm and notice improved sleep and a feeling of well-being after each session.
Is Acupuncture Effective?
Many people experience rapid recovery in their condition with only a few sessions while others take longer to respond. Part of the reason for this variation is that some people are effortlessly better responders than others while some conditions are more deeply seated and naturally require more treatment to produce a beneficial effect. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative in nature, building up its effectiveness as treatment progresses. In addition, if acupuncture is combined with manual therapy, the success rate of treating musculoskeletal conditions increases considerably.