How does it work ? What problems does it treat ? ?
Most people have heard of Acupuncture and yet it is surprising how few know what is it for and how it works. It's seen as being a mystical concept of balance and energy flows perhaps stemming from it's origins back in Ancient China some 3,000 years ago. It's now widely believed it existed long before this date and the Chinese were merely the first to document it and have claimed it as their own. It's popularity in Chinese and Eastern philosophies has been fairly consistant but it really became prominant in Western culture following President Richard Nixon's visit to China in the 1970's where the USA delegates witnessed surgery being performed using Acupuncture rather than an anaesthetic ( I don't recommend it ! ) Interest and
So what actually is Acupuncture ?
Acupuncture is derived form the Latin ' acus ' meaning needle and ' punctura ' meaning to puncture or prick. It simply refers to the insertion of slender sterilised needles into designated points on the body with the intention of influencing the body to promote healing and reduce pain and symptoms of disease. The needles are the width of a human hair and are single use.
What conditions does Acupuncture treat ?
Traditional Chinese Acupuncturists may use it to treat a whole host of conditions from skin disorders to infertility but at Natural Elements by far the most common conditions we use it for are listed below :
Back, neck, shoulder pain
Nerve pains e.g Shingles or Sciatica
Menopausal symptoms e.g hot flushes, insomnia,
Headaches & Migraines
Stress & Anxiety
Morning sickness & Chemo nausea
All Acupuncture at Natural Elements is delivered by Physiotherapists with additional Acupuncture training. Things such as morning sickness or chemotherapy nausea may only need Acupuncture to be used as a stand alone treatment but more often than not we use it alongside as a compliment our Physio skills to help reduce pain, promote healing and get you better again.
How does Acupuncture work ?
Everything in your body is under the control of the nervous system - it is the master controller for everything from movement, sensation and blood circulation to your hormonal status, blood pressure and your bowel movements. Acupuncture has an effect upon our nervous system by either dialling down an overactive system or revving up a sluggish system. In terms of pain relief there are three major mechanisms in play :
Causes a small local injury ( pinprick ) which kickstarts a healing response.
Closing or blocking the pain gate reducing pain signals reaching the brain.
Stimulating release of our body's own natural painkillers such as endorphins.
These three mechanisms are either short acting or long acting allowing Acupuncture's benefits to be felt long after the needles have been removed.
Acupuncture Myths !
It hurts - It doesn't, genuinely. Acupuncture needles are literally as thin as a human hair, nothing like the needles used for blood tests or vaccinations. Sone of the points are more sensitive than others but on the whole I've usually popped a couple of needles before people say " Tell me when you're going to start.. "
It makes you bleed - You can sometimes get a small pinprick of blood at soem acupuncture points ( especially on the scalp & face ) but generally this stops in seconds with pressure applied. No plasters required !
It's not safe during pregnancy - as a rule it's not advised to use Acupuncture during the first trimester but after that providing it is done by a suitably qualified practitioner it is safe with the avoidance of a few points.
You can't donate blood after Acupuncture - providing your practitiner is registered with an appropriate regulatory body and the local council then you can still safely donate blood. All of our practitioners are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council ( HCPC ) . Just ask us for our reg number and the donor centre can check the online register.
It has no side effects - Any therapy with the potential for an effect can have a side effect, thankfully they are minimal. By far the most common is feeling a little lightheaded or faint due to a slight drop in blood pressure. If it happens it happens then and there - not hours later - and it's easily remedied by removing the needles and lying down for a few minutes to let the blood pressure settle.
If you would like to book an Acupuncture session across any of our three sites then please either book online using our booking link above or feel free to give us a ring to discuss your needs.
* Please note due to the additional training required not ALL of our Physiotherapists offer Acupuncture. *