Acupuncture

Acupuncture

Physiotherapists use acupuncture as an effective adjunct to enhance their physiotherapy treatment. All our Physiotherapists using acupuncture have done additional training and are members of the AACP (Acupuncture Association for Chartered Physiotherapists). The physiotherapists combine both Traditional and Western techniques. They focus their sessions on pain relief. Acupuncture can be very effective in the treatment of low back and neck pain, knee pain and a wide range of other musculoskeletal problems.

Traditional acupuncturists use a wider range of points and specific combinations to maximise the effect of each individual treatment, treating numerous complaints such as headaches, migraine, hay fever, sinusitis, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual disorders, tiredness, stress, eczema and other skin conditions, arthritis, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, joint and back pain. It is worth noting that some patients attend acupuncture as a preventative measure to maintain good health and well being.

At the initial consultation, the patient will be asked about their main complaint/symptoms and their medical history. During treatment, fine needles are inserted into the body and lightly manipulated to stimulate Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), the body’s natural vitality and communications system. Traditional acupuncture is a holistic approach, where the acupuncturist will look to treat the underlying cause/weakness at both a physical and mental level while addressing the presenting symptoms.

Acupuncture is available in Glasgow, Hamilton, Bothwell, Carluke and Glasgow East. Call us on 08000546430 for more information. The prices of our services are here

How acupuncture works

Western medical acupuncture is the use of acupuncture following a medical diagnosis. It involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles of the body.

This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. It’s likely that these naturally released substances are responsible for the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture.

A course of acupuncture usually creates longer lasting pain relief than when a single treatment is used.

Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or “life force”, flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced “chee”).

Practitioners who adhere to traditional beliefs about acupuncture believe that when Qi doesn’t flow freely through the body, this can cause illness. They also believe acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.

Uses of acupuncture

Acupuncture practitioners – sometimes called acupuncturists – use acupuncture to treat a wide range of health conditions. However, the use of acupuncture isn’t always based on rigorous scientific evidence.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines on the use of treatments and care of patients.

Acupuncture is also often used to treat other musculoskeletal conditions (of the bones and muscles) and pain conditions, including:

  • chronic pain, such as neck pain
  • joint pain
  • postoperative pain

However, in many conditions where acupuncture is used, there’s less good quality evidence to draw any clear conclusions over its effectiveness compared with other treatments.

Is Acupuncture available on the NHS

Acupuncture is sometimes available on the NHS, most often from GPs or physiotherapists, although access is limited.

Most acupuncture patients pay for private treatment. The cost of acupuncture varies widely between practitioners.

If you’re being treated by an acupuncture practitioner for a health condition or are considering having acupuncture, it’s advisable to discuss this with your GP.

How acupuncture is performed

An initial acupuncture session usually lasts 20 to 40 minutes and involves an assessment of your general health, medical history and a physical examination, followed by insertion of the acupuncture needles.

Courses of treatment often involve up to 10 separate sessions, but this can vary.

Insertion of the needles

Picture of a person having acupuncture

The needles are inserted into specific places on the body, which practitioners call acupuncture points.

During the session, you’ll usually be asked to sit or lie down. You may also be asked to remove some clothes so the practitioner can access certain parts of your body.

The needles used are fine and are usually a few centimetres long. They should be single-use, pre-sterilised needles that are disposed of immediately after use.

Acupuncture practitioners choose specific points to place the needles based on your condition. Up to 12 points may be used during a typical session, sometimes more depending on the number of symptoms you have.

The needles may be inserted just under the skin, or deeper so they reach muscle tissue. Once the needles are in place, they may be left in position for a length of time lasting from a few minutes up to around 30 minutes.

You may feel a tingling or a dull ache when the needles are inserted but shouldn’t experience any significant pain. If you do, let your practitioner know straight away.

In some cases, your practitioner may rotate the needles or stimulate them with a mild electric current (known as electroacupuncture).

Acupuncture safety and regulation

There’s no statutory regulation of acupuncture, but many non-medical acupuncture practitioners are required to register with their local authority.

If you choose to have acupuncture, make sure your acupuncture practitioner is either a regulated healthcare professional such as a doctor, nurse or physiotherapist or a member of a recognised national acupuncture organisation.

The British Acupuncture Council, and AACP holds a register of practitioners that has been vetted and approved by the Professional Standards Authority. If you decide to have traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture, you can visit this website to find a qualified acupuncturist near you.

When it’s carried out by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture is generally very safe. Some people experience mild, short-lived side effects such as:

  • pain where the needles puncture the skin
  • bleeding or bruising where the needles puncture the skin
  • drowsiness
  • feeling sick
  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • worsening of pre-existing symptoms

If you have a bleeding disorder, such as haemophilia, 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.

It’s generally safe to have acupuncture when you’re pregnant. However, let your acupuncture practitioner know if you’re pregnant because certain acupuncture points can’t be used safely during pregnancy.

Acupuncture is available from our clinics in Glasgow, Hamilton, Bothwell and Carluke and carried out by our Physiotherapy team with registration of the AACP

 

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