Acupuncture is an ancient system of medicine dating back as far as 1000 years BC and is based on a holistic concept of treatment, which regards ill health as a manifestation of imbalance in the body’s energy.
There are two common systems of acupuncture in the physiotherapy world. Traditional (TCM) and western acupuncture. Practitioners of TCM believe that stimulating certain Acupuncture points on the body can help to restore the balance between Yin and Yang that becomes disturbed during illness. Western acupuncture is based around known pathways of healing and focuses treatment around the specific tissues that are at fault.
Acupuncture involves the use of single-use, pre-sterilised disposable needles of varying widths, lengths and materials that pierce the skin at the acupuncture points. Your physiotherapist will determine the locations of these points on the basis of an assessment. A number of needles may be used during each treatment, and these are typically left in position for between 20 and 30 minutes before being removed.
Trigger point acupuncture may also be used to facilitate relaxation in specific muscles following traumas, for longer-term unresolved muscle pain, or as a means of increasing muscle length in order to aid stretch and rehabilitation. In the latter case, the needle is inserted into the affected muscle until the tissue is felt to relax under the needle, which is then removed. Trigger point needling often produces an effect much more quickly, and therefore, does not require the 20–30-minute treatment time.
Here at Technique Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine we use acupuncture in our treatment programs along with manual therapy and exercise, as well as a stand alone treatment in its own right.