Acupuncture has been used for over 3,000 years. There are many theories as to how the effects of acupuncture arise. The traditional (Chinese) view is that energy flows freely when the body is in a healthy state. If there is a problem, energy stagnates which leads to pain. The stimulation of appropriate acupuncture points by insertion of a fine needle frees this energy. When stimulating an acupuncture point the brain is stimulated to produce natural pain relieving chemicals called endorphins. These assist the body to heal itself and gain pain relief.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture is safe when practised by someone with appropriate training. AACP (Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists) members are trained to use the strictest hygiene, we use sterilized needles in sealed packages. These needles are used once only and then disposed of. Any side effects are extremely rare.There are a few cases in which acupuncture is inappropriate. Your physiotherapist will run through a series of questions with you before treatment is started to discover whether there are any contraindications to the use of acupuncture.
Will it Work?
Research shows that 70% of people gain pain relief with acupuncture. Frequently good results are achieved when more conventional medicine has failed. The effects of acupuncture are cumulative with a build up of effect as treatment progresses. Some people respond immediately, while others may see little benefit until they have had a few treatments. This is more likely with a long-standing condition. Occasionally the condition may become slightly worse at first. This is not a bad sign as it usually means the condition will respond.
Will it be Painful?
This is the most common question asked by patients when needles are used. Acupuncture needles are so fine that the prick of the needle as it goes through the skin is barely felt. When the needles reach the required depth of the acupuncture a deep sensation is experienced indicating a movement of energy at the acupuncture point. This only lasts for a second or two, even though the needles are left in normally for about 20 minutes.