What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a derivative of Traditional Chinese Medicine and involves using extremely fine needles in specific points from head to toe. Over thousands of years, the practice of acupuncture has evolved and is now a widely accepted and frequently used treatment in physiotherapy. In combining traditional theory and acupuncture points with modern science and knowledge of anatomy, acupuncture has become another tool for achieving many of the desired effects which people commonly attend physiotherapy to achieve. Acupuncture is a low-risk treatment option and impacts three main areas: pain control, nervous system regulation, and tissue healing.

Women receiving acupuncture treatment for beauty
Woman having acupuncture treatment

How Does
Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture can be used for a wide range of functions. Mainly, acupuncture can have significant impacts on pain control, tissue healing, and nervous system regulation. Through directly targeting trigger points and creating small micro-tearing in the muscle, acupuncture works to encourage local healing, while stimulating more general wide-spread effects. For these reasons, acupuncture can be used to assist in treating pain in any region of the body and can also be a great tool to encourage general relaxion and other positive effects from head to toe. With the effects that it can have on the nervous system, there are also benefits as it pertains to stress, anxiety, digestion, breathing, and many other important things that all relate to our overall health and well-being.

How Long Does
Acupuncture Take To Work?

Some people see decreased pain and increased function after only one treatment, but that is not the most common result. For most people, gradual decreased pain is more common and tends to take place over 3-4 sessions, with sessions being separated by at least 2 days. By this point, the majority of individuals should be seeing a gradual decrease in their symptoms, while others may be completely pain-free. If by 5-6 sessions, someone is not seeing any results trending in the right direction, the individual and their physiotherapist should consider shifting focus towards other conservative treatment methods like exercise therapy, manual therapy, shockwave therapy, etc.

Acupuncture treatment on knee
Back acupuncture

What Does Treatment Look Like?

First, you and your physiotherapist will go through an assessment to determine the root cause(s) of your pain or limitations. From there, your physiotherapist will decide on the area(s) that are going to be treated. In acupuncture, there might be points located far away from the actual site of your pain that can be beneficial for you, but your physiotherapist will explain why they are using them, and questions are encouraged. Your physiotherapist will sterilize the area of your skin that will be treated, and gently tap the needle into place. Some people experience a brief moment of pain, but the feeling of the needle being inserted is more commonly described as a “dull ache” or even as not being felt at all depending on the region. From there, the needles will be left in for somewhere between 10-20 minutes, depending on how treatment is being used, while you relax until your physiotherapist returns to remove them.

How Do I Get The Most Out Of Acupuncture Treatment?

Acupuncture can be great on its own in treating pain, trigger points, and nervous system dysfunction, but it can work even better when combined with other forms of treatment. Your physiotherapist should always be providing you with some personalized exercises to encourage stretching and strengthening of your muscles depending on what is revealed in the initial and ongoing assessments. For best results, keeping up with exercises consistently during your care plan will keep you moving and increase the chances that treatment is going to be effective for you. Additionally, other physiotherapy techniques such as manual therapy, modalities, shockwave therapy, etc. may be beneficial depending on what you and your physiotherapist determine to be important in your treatment plan.

 At First Line Physiotherapy, acupuncture is considered part of physiotherapy treatment. If you have any other questions about acupuncture or would like help in deciding if physiotherapy and acupuncture are right for you, please contact us, and a team member would be happy to assist you.

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