What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin at specific points. It is one of the oldest medical systems, developed & practised in China for over 2000 years, and increasingly in Western medicine since the 1970’s.
Acupuncture may be used to treat a wide- range of common health problems and to reduce pain. It stimulates the body to produce its own pain and stress relieving chemicals, (endorphins & oxytocin). It may promote sleep by stimulating the release of melatonin in the body and can encourage a sense of well- being by stimulating the release of serotonin.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture should not be painful as the needles used are approximately the width of a human hair, so having acupuncture does not feel the same as having an injection or blood test. You may have feelings such as warmth heaviness tingling or a mild ache or discomfort. This is temporary and should resolve soon after the session and usually within 24 hours.
It should not feel unpleasant, and these are signs that your body is reacting to acupuncture. Some people do not have any of these sensations but still gain benefit from the treatment.
Are there any side effects?
Any side effects tend to be mild and short lived. These may include fatigue, light-headedness and occasionally bruising of the skin around the needle sites. If you continue to feel excessively tired after treatment it is recommended that you do not drive or operate machinery. Many people find they have a really deep sleep the night after an acupuncture treatment.
There are certain health conditions that may stop you receiving acupuncture or mean that the treatment should be used with caution. Because acupuncture can create a sensation of light-headedness it is advisable to have eaten and be well-hydrated before your treatment session.
What happens during an acupuncture treatment?
The physiotherapist will insert a number of fine needles at various specific points according to your condition. Following insertion, the physiotherapist may manipulate the needles by rotating them, which is intended to stimulate response. The needles will be left in place for up to 30 minutes and then removed at the end of the session.
The effects of acupuncture are cumulative. Everybody responds in different ways and at different rates. Some people may experience significant relief immediately, while for others the benefit steadily accumulates over a series of sessions, usually at weekly intervals.
The number of treatment sessions required will depend on your condition and your physiotherapists assessment. Many patients will find gradual improvement over the course of treatment.
If you have any questions about whether acupuncture may be right for you, please speak to one of the physiotherapists. At Bridgeview, Claire is qualified and highly experienced in the use of acupuncture.