Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years, but has only recently started to become integrated into Western medicine. Acupuncture is the practice of puncturing the skin with needles in order to treat disease.
Acupuncture is commonly used to relieve arthritis pain and back pain
For a long time acupuncture has existed as part of traditional Chinese medicine, an ancient system of medicine involving energy (Qi) flowing around the body in channels (meridians). Acupuncture’s mechanism of action is being increasingly understood in Western scientific terms.
All physiotherapists carrying out acupuncture in Spire Murrayfield Hospital are qualified therapists and are trained to the standards set by the Acupuncture Association of chartered Physiotherapists (AACP).
In recent years, Western medicine has researched the effectiveness of acupuncture and been able to prove its worth. Acupuncture along with physiotherapy is now a recommended method of treatment for chronic non-specific low back pain by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. It is also accepted that acupuncture can help tension headaches and osteoarthritic knee pain especially when used alongside physiotherapy.
Does it work?
Acupuncture doesn’t work for everyone or for every condition, but it is known to increase the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins, in the spinal cord and the brain, which inhibit pain.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture is not pain-free. However the needles are very thin and do not hurt in the same way as an injection. Though the treatment may not be completely painless, patients may feel a sensation called ‘de Qi’ which is a heaviness, soreness or heat around the needle and is believed to be a sign that the acupuncture point has been correctly needled.
Diagnosis and treatment
Before embarking on acupuncture treatment it is important to have a diagnosis of your problem made by one of our qualified physiotherapists to ensure that it is an appropriate treatment for you. Sometimes only one or two treatments are needed, but more often a course of acupuncture will be required, particularly for long-standing problems. Treatments will sometimes follow the traditional Chinese method of acupuncture.
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