Acupuncture in Physiotherapy
Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes.
Although often seen as a form of complementary or alternative medicine, Acupuncture is one of the many skillsets employed within physiotherapy as part of an integrated approach to the management of pain and inflammation.
Good Physiotherapists base their treatments on scientific research and clinical evidence has demonstrated that Acupuncture undertaken by appropriately qualified practitioners can have a beneficial effect for a number of health conditions. Our Acupuncture practising physiotherapists are registered members of Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP).
Conditions treated with Acupuncture and Physiotherapy
- Low back pain
- Knee pain
- Heel pain (Plantar fasciitis)
- Achilles Tendinosis
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Tennis elbow
- Tension headaches
- Acute ankle sprains
- Chronic Fatigue syndrome
How can acupuncture help me?
Western medical acupuncture involves the use of acupuncture after a proper medical diagnosis. It is thought that the treatment stimulate nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue to produce natural pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins. The treatment may also cause the brain and spinal cord to produce other bioactive substances such as melatonin (which promotes sleep) and serotonin (to promote well-being).
It is likely these substances are responsible for any beneficial effects seen with this form of acupuncture by enabling the body’s healing processes and providing analgesia. It can be very effective at aiding recovery particularly when combined with other physiotherapy treatments such as manual therapy or exercise.
Because of its recognised effectiveness Acupuncture treatment is used in many NHS general practices, as well as the majority of pain clinics and hospices in the UK. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) also recommends considering acupuncture as a treatment option for conditions such as chronic lower back pain, chronic tension-type headaches and migraine.
Reviews of scientific research have examined the effectiveness of acupuncture for various conditions. In recent years evidence has emerged which has helped to support the benefits of acupuncture treatment. It is accepted that acupuncture can be particularly useful in controlling the pain of osteoarthritis, neck pain and other musculoskeletal soft-tissue problems, especially when it is used in conjunction with other treatments such as physiotherapy.
Elsewhere Acupuncture has been used to improve nausea & vomiting after surgery or chemotherapy and may have a beneficial effect in irritable bowel syndrome. There is less scientific evidence and consensus regarding the use of acupuncture to help people with many other conditions ranging from infertility to anxiety and asthma.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further or more specific queries – our receptionists will be only to pleased to help!
Acupuncture is safe when practised by a member of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP). Full (accredited) membership of AACP is granted only on evidence that a physiotherapist has completed rigorous theoretical assessment and practical training.
The clinic and practitioner must be adhere to strict hygiene guidelines. The needles are disposable, pre-sterilised, individually packaged and safely disposed of after use.
Because of the slight risk of bleeding, people with bleeding disorders such as haemophilia, or people taking medication to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants), may not be able to have acupuncture.
If you have a blood disorder or are taking anticoagulants, talk to your GP before you have acupuncture. Acupuncture is also not usually advised if you have a metal allergy or an infection in the area where needles may be inserted.
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