Acupuncture can be used within physiotherapy to help manage pain and treat a wide variety of conditions. It is often combined with other physiotherapy treatments such as exercise, advice and manual therapy.
Acupuncture involves inserting very fine stainless steel needles into the skin at specific acupuncture points. The points to be used are selected according to where you feel pain and usually needles will be placed both near to the area of pain and away from it. Because acupuncture needles are very thin, having acupuncture feels very different to having an injection. Sometimes the needle insertion can barely be felt, sometimes a sharp pricking sensation may be felt. Often a warm sensation can be felt as the needle is inserted, this is known as Qi (pronounced chee) which is said to be a sign of stimulating the energy flow within the body.
Scientific research and clinical evidence have shown that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce endorphins (pain relieving chemicals) and oxytocin (stress relieving chemicals) and also melotonin which promotes sleep and serotonin which encourages a sense of wellbeing. Acupuncture also stimulates nerve fibres to reduce pain signals.
As a member of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) I have completed a recognised, accredited acupuncture training course. It also means that I adhere to strict hygiene guidelines and must complete ongoing training. The needles used are sterile and safely disposed of after one use.
Acupuncture is a very safe procedure when carried out by an AACP-registered physiotherapist. There are certain medical conditions that may prevent you from having acupuncture. A full assessment of you will be completed, including full medical history, to identify if acupuncture is suitable. You will be asked to sign a consent form before acupuncture is commenced.
Any side-effects tend to be mild and short-lived. These may include fatigue, mild bleeding, bruising, mild pain/aggravation of symptoms, drowsiness, dizziness and nausea.