We are proud to have a dedicated consultant specialising in the field of acupuncture. Dr Michael Curtin has been practising acupuncture since 1991 when he set up one of the first GP led NHS Acupuncture clinics. He has now established a weekly Thursday morning clinic at Spire Harpenden Hospital available to patients in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and the surrounding areas.
Acupuncture was first used in China around 3,000 years ago
Alternatively, acupuncture can also be carried out by a number of our physiotherapists, who regularly practice acupuncture for migraine, joint pain, hot flushes and nausea.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of medical treatment that was first used in China around three thousand years ago. Needles are inserted into carefully chosen points just under the surface of the skin. The needles are made from stainless steel and are discarded after single usage, thus eliminating any risk of passing on infection.
How does acupuncture work?
Traditional theory is that there are Meridian Lines or Channels running all over the body. The Chinese believed that in a healthy person, energy was able to run along these lines without hindrance and when a person became unwell, the channels became blocked and the energy was unable to flow freely. They believed that by inserting the needles into points along the channels, the blockage was cleared and the energy could flow again.
Modern science has not been able to prove the existence of the energy lines. What is clear however is that the stimulation of acupuncture points sends impulses along the nerves to the spinal cord and the brain setting up reflex patterns. Needling certain points will also cause the release of a number of substances into the body. Firstly endorphins are released, which are the brain’s own natural pain killers and anti-inflammatory agents. Secondly, serotonin levels are increased, having a direct effect on mood and causing an increased sense of wellbeing.
What can I expect during an acupuncture treatment?
A detailed medical history will be undertaken. The needles are then inserted, usually painlessly and left in place for a short period of time. Often they are stimulated once or twice during the treatment. A feeling of relaxation and wellbeing may be experienced.
What happens after my first treatment?
Following a session of acupuncture some improvement in the symptoms should be noticed. This is often short lived and it is important to remember that the effects of acupuncture are accumulative. After the next treatment the effects will last longer.
What conditions can acupuncture help?
There is now good evidence that acupuncture can be used to treat back pain and knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.
It may also be helpful with the following conditions:
- Migraine and tension headache
- Tennis elbow
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Jaw pain
- Hot sweats and flushes