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Acupuncture: An Introduction

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a complementary treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine, in which hair-fine needles are inserted into specific sites in the body. The purpose is to stimulate certain points to alleviate pain or help with treatment of various conditions.

How does acupuncture work?

The traditional view is that when our bodies are healthy, there is plentiful energy and it can flow smoothly in our systems. However if we fall ill, the energy flow is disrupted. Acupuncture helps to restore a balance and thus enables the body to promote its own healing.

Modern acupuncture used in the West and adopted by Physiotherapists as a complementary treatment follows the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) but also uses acupuncture in conjunction with physiotherapy modalities, predominantly as an effective pain relieving technique. The major hypothesis is that the specific points which needles are inserted into are targeting nerves, muscles and connective tissues in order to stimulate them. It is thought that the stimulation of the needles will increase blood flow sending a message to the brain which results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins; increasing the patients pain threshold so that they feel less pain.

Scientific research is ongoing and suggests that acupuncture produces a fascinating variety of effects from sensory nerve stimulation, to production of biomolecules such as endorphins and influencing changes in the fascia, all of which are beginning to piece together a scientific explanation of its health benefits.

What can acupuncture be used for?

At the Physiotherapy Clinic WGC we use acupuncture to treat a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, often as part of an integrated approach to the management of pain and inflammation. 

Some of the common ailments that acupuncture is used to treat are listed below. Patients unsure of the benefits can contact the clinic and speak to Bea or a member of the physiotherapy team and we can advise you on how we can help.

  • Chronic Headaches/Migraines
  • Stress Reduction
  • Muscle Tension
  • Knee Pain
  • Sports Injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Back and neck painShoulder pain

What can you expect?

We recommend having something to eat 1-2 hours prior to your appointment in order to keep your sugar levels up and reduce the risk of feeling faint.

Your therapist will need to discuss your full medical history with you, focusing on your current health problems. This allows the therapist to assess your condition and devise an appropriate treatment plan.

You may be asked to lie down (on your back, front or side depending on where the needles are to be inserted) so that the therapist can begin with the treatment. There are usually between 1-10 needles inserted during a session and this varies depending on your condition and symptoms. The needles can then be left in for up to 30 minutes with your therapist sometimes gently rotating the needle to increase the effectiveness of the treatment but gentle electrical stimulation or heating with a herb called moxa is commonly used as well.

Many people are put off because they fear an acupuncture session will be painful, however this is rarely the case. Some patients experience a brief tingling sensation as each of the needles are inserted however this normally subsides relatively quickly.

The number of treatments required will depend on your condition and your therapist’s assessment, so for a fairly minor problem 1 to 2 treatments may suffice whereas an acute problem may require 8 to 12 sessions before an improvement is noticed.

Acupuncture at The Physiotherapy Clinic WGC

If you are interested in finding out more about acupuncture and if it’s suitable for you then please get in touch with our team right away:

01707 32 99 10 |

Posted by: AislingBirch
Date: Sat, August 11, 2018

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