Acupuncture may be offered to you as part of a course of physiotherapy and is widely regarded as a safe and reliable therapeutic modality.
It is one of a number of different types of treatment including manual therapy and exercise that have been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the early treatment and management of persistent or recurrent low back pain and neck pain. Scientific research has examined the effectiveness of acupuncture in various conditions including the treatment of musculoskeletal pain, osteoarthritis, dental pain and migraine and headaches. Analgesic mechanisms of acupuncture have been clarified by numerous studies over the last 3 decades that have demonstrated how acupuncture can stimulate the body’s own pain killers ‘opiates’ which can lead to short or long term pain relief.
Acupuncture was originally developed as part of Chinese medicine and was intended to be used with Chinese herbs and Qi Gong exercises. The concepts are about the flow of energy called Qi circulating along a network of channels, (called meridians) which connects the surface of the body and with the internal organ. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, any change in the flow or balance of Qi can lead to pain, disease and disability. The purpose of the treatment is to bring the patient back to the state of equilibrium postulated to exist prior to illness.
Acupuncture can be practiced as a technique within Western medicine known as Western medical acupuncture (WMA). WMA is based on the ideas of anatomy, physiology, and pathology with which modern health professionals are familiar.
All physiotherapists using acupuncture will use an individually tailored course of acupuncture for your symptoms as part of an evidence-based treatment programme. They are required to train to a recognised minimum standard and adhere to the mandatory number of hours of continuing professional development. Some physiotherapists choose to study acupuncture to MSc level and will have a greater knowledge of Traditional Chinese medicine. Patients have reported additional benefits such as mood change, improved sleep patterns and feelings of well being
This is provided as general information only and is not intended to be relied upon as medical advice.