AcupunctureMedical Acupuncture

Most people are familiar with the idea of acupuncture being the insertion of very fine needles into specific areas of the body for therapeutic effect, but medical acupuncture (sometimes called Modern, Western Acupuncture or Dry needling) differs from most people’s concept of acupuncture as being an ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) discipline which works on rebalancing “lines of energy” or your “elements” such as “fire and water”.

In medical acupuncture we have borrowed the tools from TCM (i.e. the needles!) and applied them to a modern understanding of anatomy. One key difference is that we do not have to follow the very specific points of Meridians, which although documented for thousands of years by TCM do not follow anatomy as we now understand it. Another difference in practical terms is the length of time the needles are inserted; it is usually a few minutes at most, allowing us to incorporate it into your standard treatment session.

There are several common musculoskeletal conditions for which we have found it to be especially useful and would commonly enquire during an appointment whether the patient would like to incorporate some needles into their treatment plan:

  • Areas of very tight and painful muscle commonly known as “knots”, technically known as “trigger points” which can appear and cause pain in their own right, but can be part of a wider issue such as the muscle tension associated with a joint sprain in the neck or lower back.
  • Arthritic pain. There is no cure for arthritis but acupuncture can improve quality of life, indeed much of the research into acupuncture has focused on pain reduction from knee osteoarthritis.
  • Lower back pain and “Sciatica”. Relieving the tension in the lower back and hip muscles with needles can be highly beneficial.
  • And many more…

It is of course not suitable for everyone. There are safety concerns to be discussed, e.g. having a bleeding disorder may be a reason not to have acupuncture. Understandably, the idea of needles simply might not be everyone’s cup of tea! If we felt you would benefit from acupuncture we would of course discuss this with you beforehand and obtain your consent. It is also not suitable for every condition across the board e.g. the evidence of there being benefit for sciatica associated with a disc injury is not strong enough for us to recommend needles in these cases.

We don’t treat conditions outside of the musculoskeletal system with medical acupuncture, so for help with such things as stopping smoking, fertility, circulation disorders etc. So, please contact your local TCM acupuncturist, they are highly trained professionals in their field and good results in these areas are often achieved.