At PHYSIO 206 we follow the western approach to acupuncture and use this form of treatment for pain relief and to release tension in muscles.  
We are registered with the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP). 
We thought that the best way to advise you on all things acupuncture related is through a simple Q & A format.... 
What is acupuncture? 
Acupuncture is based on the principle of meridians developed in China, thousands of years ago (i.e flows of energy) whereby needles are placed at various points around the body to tap into the natural pain relieving mechanisms activated by parts of the brain and spinal cord. Acupuncture from a chinese medicine perspective is in summary about balancing up the positive and negative energy in your body. Acupuncture from a western perspective utilises a scientific evidence based approach and some of the principles of chinese medicine to tap in to the bodies natural pain relieving mechanisms. Acupuncture can also be used to release tension in muscles, otherwise known as "dry needling". 
How does it work?  
Acupuncture from a western perspeictices work primarily in 2 ways: 
1. Descending Inhibition - In lay men's terms, acupuncture has been demonstrated to activate parts of the brain that are responsible for releasing the bodies natural pain relieving chemicals - endoprhins and ecephalins. The release of these substances helps to dampen down pain. 
2. Pain gate theory - Essentially, if you have pain in a certain part of the body, placing needles near the painful area and at other points around the body, allows the brain and spinal cord to pick up on the stimulus from the needles rather than the painful tissue. In essence you are trying by pass the painful part of the body. 
The other way mentioned earlier is that acupuncture can be used to help release tension in muscles ("Dry Needling"). Needles placed in to points of muscular tension can allow the taut muscles to relax. 
What can it treat?  
Acupuncture can be used to treat many musculoskeletal conditions. At PHYSIO 206 we use acupuncture to treat soft tissue injuries, to assist in pain relief with many chronic conditions such as persistent and/or recurrent back pain and tendon pain as well as other conditions like arthritis. 
Is it harmful? 
Acupuncture is not harmful. A full screening assessment will be made ahead of treatment to ensure that there are no medical reasons that prohibit you from having acupuncture. Needles, that are as fine as a human hair, are single use only.  
Does it hurt? 
Acupuncture should not be an unpleasant experience. Conversely, most people find it a pleasant and relaxing experience. On the whole acupuncture is generally not painful. Most people describe sensations such as a "dull ache", "a warm feeling" and ocassionally "a tingly sensation". Often people comment on "feeling relaxed" after treatment and on ocassions "emotional". Please noted there may be a slightly sharper sensation if the needles are not tapped through the skins surface quickly enough. However, during treatment sharp pain should not be felt. If you do feel this please advise your treating therapist as soon as possible. If dry needling is being used and there are points of tension in a muscle, sometimes a twitch response in the muscle can be felt when releasing it. 
How many sessions will i need? 
If utilising some of the principles of chinese medicine, it has been documented in the scientific literature that approximately 6-8 sessions are required, of a minimum 30 minute duration in each session. In terms of frequency of treatment ideally the first few sessions should be close together in time frame. If using dry needling to release muscles, often 1-2 sessions will allow you to achieve this. 
If you have any further questions or to book a consultation please contact us by email or by phone 07512203536. This treatment is available in our Bromsgrove and Solihull Clinics. 
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