What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of therapy which involves the insertion of very fine needles at specific parts of the body to encourage natural healing, reduce pain and improve function of affected area. Medical acupuncture is administered by a trained medical practitioner which may be used in addition to other medical treatments.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture stimulates local nerves and improves blood flow, which in turn releases hormones and chemical signals to your brain. This modifies the perception of pain and release endorphins which optimises the body’s natural biochemical balance and immune response. The traditional Chinese Medicine explanation of acupuncture effects is based on the understanding of important patterns of energy over the body, called Meridians, which connect with the body’s internal organs and systems. Acupuncture releases any blockages in the Meridians which may be the cause of pain and disease, therefore improving health, energy and emotional well-being.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture is not described as a painful treatment. A brief sharp sensation can be felt initially, sometimes followed by a minor, dull ache. The sensation is unique to each individual.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is a very safe treatment. It is important to discuss your existing health conditions, such as blood thinners, infection risk or pregnancy, as this may affect the treatment plan. Single-use sterile needles are used for safety.
Does acupuncture have side effects?
Acupuncture may cause mild pain at the needle site, or bleeding and bruising which is usually minor. Rarely acupuncture may aggravate a painful condition although this is usually transient. Acupuncture can also cause dizziness or drowsiness and it is important to not drive or operate machinery if you are affected by these symptoms.
What conditions does acupuncture treat?
There is good evidence for acupuncture as treatment for a variety of painful conditions, such as osteoarthritis, migraine, peripheral neuropathy and tendinopathies. It can also be used in functional problems, such as nausea, irritable bowel syndrome and menstrual problems including fertility enhancement and menopausal symptoms. It can also be helpful in fatigue, mood disturbance and insomnia.
What to expect from treatment?
Most patients will notice improvement after the first treatment, although it may take 3 or 4 treatments for a positive effect to occur. The treatment plan will vary depending on the patient and the condition, although each treatment usually lasts from 10 to 30 minutes and occurs weekly for approximately 6 weeks. Less frequent maintenance treatment can prevent or treat any recurrence of symptoms.
Doctors at Milton Village Medical with a special interest in acupuncture include: