What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is treatment method in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves using extremely fine needles in specific points from head to toe. Over thousands of years, the practice has evolved. Now, it is a widely accepted and frequently used treatment method in physiotherapy and massage therapy. In combining traditional theory with modern science and knowledge of anatomy, acupuncture has become another tool for physiotherapists. Actually, it can help to achieve many of the desired effects which people commonly attend physiotherapy to achieve through other types of therapy. 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 many purposes. Mainly, acupuncture can have significant impacts on pain control, tissue healing, and on our nervous system. Through directly targeting trigger points, acupuncture works to encourage local healing, while stimulating more general wide-spread effects. For these reasons, it can be used to assist in treating pain in any region of the body. Also, it can be a great tool to encourage general relaxation and other positive effects throughout the body. Because it impacts the nervous system, acupuncture also has benefits related to stress, anxiety, digestion, breathing. These are all important factors which impact 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. Sessions tend to be separated by at least 2 days. By this point, the majority of individuals should be seeing a gradual decrease in their symptoms; others may be completely pain-free. By 5-6 sessions, someone should be seeing some form of positive result. If not, the individual and their physiotherapist should consider shifting focus towards other conservative treatment methods. These might include 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. There might be points located far away from the actual site of your pain that can be beneficial for you. Your physiotherapist will explain why they are using them, and encourage questions if you have them. Some people experience a brief moment of pain, but the feeling is more commonly described as a “dull ache”. Sometimes, depending on the region, it is not felt at all. Acupuncture treatment can last anywhere from 5-20 minutes. 

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. 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. Of course, this depends on what is revealed in the ongoing physical assessment. For best results, it is important to keep up with the stretches/exercises as prescribed by your physiotherapist. Additionally, other physiotherapy techniques such as manual therapy, modalities, shockwave therapy, etc. may be beneficial. This, again, depends 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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