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What is Acupuncture?


Many people report a reduction in pain, improved sleeping pattern and a general well being boost with acupuncture. Research is now showing very positive results for treatment of specific areas with acupuncture. Lets learn more.

Acupuncture chart of human body

Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been used by the Chinese for many years to treat a great variety of problems. In recent years acupuncture has become more popular in the West and is used within Physiotherapy as a form of pain relief. It can be very effective on both acute and chronic conditions due to its effect of stimulating endogenous opoids (the natural pain killers) and other neurotransmitters such as serotonin (the "happy hormone") produced within the body.

Many people report a reduction in pain, improved sleeping pattern and a general well being boost with acupuncture. Research is now showing very positive results for treatment of specific areas with acupuncture.

Physiotherapy and Acupuncture

Physiotherapists using acupuncture at the Whitehouse are registered with the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists and have therefore had recognisable training.

Initially you will be asked a few questions about your symptoms and general health. Once the decision has been made to use acupuncture and you have agreed and signed this consent form, decisions are made as to appropriate positioning of needles. This depends on the area to be treated and the sensitivity of the tissues. Points can be local to the area to be treated or further away.

Acupuncture is a useful adjunct to Physiotherapy, particularly in the treatment of inflammatory joint conditions. Reducing a patients’ pain can enable them to achieve more in the rest of their Physiotherapy programme, such as increased range of movement and exercise tolerance.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

All needles are sterile, pre-packed and disposable so there is no risk of infection. We have comprehensive standards of practice and procedures in place should an emergency occur. There are only a few cases in which Acupuncture should not be used. Your Physiotherapist will run through a few safety questions before performing the treatment.

Some Common Misconceptions:

Acupuncture is just placebo:

This a very common claim about acupuncture and though it’s difficult to prove conclusively that positive reactions to acupuncture aren’t just placebo, the Cochrane review cites examples where acupuncture was pitted against “fake therapies”. During the fake therapy needles were inserted at the wrong points and the true treatment had better results. Moreover, it demonstrates that some ailments respond to acupuncture whereas others don’t, implying that the effects of acupuncture go beyond that of the placebo effect.

Anyone can administer acupuncture:

A lot of people think that acupuncture is an unregulated practice and that anyone can offer it without necessarily having any qualifications. The truth is that acupuncturists are very well qualified. They’ll have attained a 3 or 4 year degree in Western medicine before undertaking postgraduate training in acupuncture. The best acupuncturists will be members of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) which means they’ll have undergone a minimum of 80 hours acupuncture training and will have to keep up with a minimum number of professional development hours each year. Advanced members have a minimum of 200 hours training.

Acupuncture is painful:

People tend to know that acupuncture involves needles, and for this reason a lot of people think it hurts. The truth is that acupuncture isn’t painful, although you’re likely to feel a unique sensation. The majority of patients find acupuncture very relaxing and describe the sensation as a kind of pleasant tingling.

An Official Care Path:

Acupuncture is so well established as a treatment that it is an official care path recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in certain treatments, for example low back pain. Moreover, most people who have had it recommend it highly, so don’t be put off by the myths. Acupuncture could offer you a lot of relief from pain and significantly aid recovery.

James Walker

Service Development Director & Senior Physiotherapist

James is the Service Development Director and a Senior Physiotherapist at the White House Clinic. He qualified from Sheffield Hallam University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Physiotherapy in 2009.

James Walker

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