What is it?
The following excerpt is taken from the Acupuncture and Dry Needling Group of The APA (Australian Society of Acupuncture Physiotherapist) guidelines;
Dry Needling involves needling to altered or dysfunctional tissues in order to improve or restore function. This may include needling of myofascial trigger points, periosteum and other soft tissues.
Western acupuncture utilises meridian points but applies it to ‘western’ reasoning with particular consideration to relevant neurophysiology and anatomy. It does not utilise any traditional Chinese medicine assessment methods or paradigms. Points are stimulated to create local, spinal segmental or supraspinal pain modulating effects.
Simply put, acupuncture involves the insertion of a sterile once-only use fine needle to soft tissue to reduce pain, release tension and improve movement.
The scientific research of the effect of acupuncture is now quite broad and extensive but 3 main ways it works are listed below:
- Stimulation of the nervous system to release pain relieving chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
- Change in length-tension of muscle or other soft tissue to reduce tension, i.e. Muscle spasm release and trigger point release ( = pain relief and movement restoration).
- Accelerated healing via increased blood flow and other healing cell stimulation.
The improved biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems.
What is the Scope of Medical Acupuncture?
Medical acupuncture is a system which the WHO says can influence three areas of health care:
- promotion of health and well-being,
- prevention of illness,
- treatment of various medical conditions.
Acupuncture is particularly useful in resolving physical problems related to tension, stress, pain and emotional conditions.
What are the Needles like?
We use tiny, sterile, single use disposable acupuncture needles and treatment is generally as comfortable, or more comfortable than deep tissue massage or joint mobilisation, often with even greater benefits for the nervous system. The point is smooth (not hollow with cutting bevelled edges like your typical hypodermic needle) and insertion through the skin is not as painful as injections or blood sampling. The risk of bruising and skin irritation or infection is less than when using a hollow needle
Do they hurt?
People experience acupuncture needling differently. Most patients feel only minimal pain as the needles are inserted; some feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, there is usually no pain felt. Sometimes on stimulation a twitch response in the muscle may occur which is normal and equates to good relief of muscle spasm or a trigger point.
NB. We are physiotherapists who use acupuncture and dry needling and are not Chinese medicine acupuncturists. We incorporate it into our holistic treatment package / paradigm as an adjunct and effective treatment option to achieve the best result for you.
To find out how acupuncture may assist you, please ask any of our friendly staff!