Acupuncture is an ancient treatment with evidence of practice dating back to before 3000BC, however Western Medical Acupuncture has come a long way since then. The practice of Western Medical Acupuncture encompasses the application of stringent scientific principles and evidence-based practices, allowing us to increasingly understand the mechanisms in which it works and the conditions which it is best suited to treat.
Acupuncture techniques range from minimal skin invasion (just touching the skin) to deep needling of a muscle knot (known as a trigger point). Acupuncture works well to relieve muscle tension and trigger points. Acupuncture has also been shown to aid healing of tendon diseases such as tennis elbow and achilles tendinopathy and I have frequently seen quick improvements. I like using acupuncture for shoulder problems as subtle changes in biomechanics can have immediate effects on the workings of the shoulder joint. The same applies for lower back, hip and gluteal problems. Acupuncture can also be used as a very effective way of treating headache and neck pain.
Having pain can quickly start to stress the brain and have a negative effect on the psychological state, both in day-to-day activities and in competitive sport. Acupuncture has been scientifically proven to modulate pain which has been present for months or years and can help to reverse the negative feelings which can come with chronic pain such as stress, fear, anxiety, and depression. I have a special interest in this and I am very interested in treating clients with all types of chronic pain.
I often use acupuncture to treat non-musculoskeletal medical conditions. I have seen some remarkable improvements in cases of irritable bladder, irritable bowel syndrome and menopausal symptoms.
I use 4 main methods of acupuncture:-
(1) Acupressure – Palpation of tender muscle points and acupuncture points.
(2) Dry needling – Placement of a fine needle into a muscle, aiming for a trigger point. This is very useful for muscular and tendon problems.
(3) Traditional acupuncture point stimulation – Superficial needle insertion at a traditional acupuncture point.
(4) Electroacupuncture -A painless low voltage current of 20 milliamperes is passed through the skin via clips attached to two needles about 1cm apart. It used to give a bigger “dose” of acupuncture which can be useful in certain scenarios.