Medical Acupuncture Explained - The Osteopaths
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Acupuncture is the insertion of fine, sterile, single-use needles into points in the body. It is used to release tension to encourage healing and relief. Research indicates that acupuncture might increase the amino acid, adenosine, which is activated by the body to promote healing following an injury.

Acupuncture is often recommended following a medical diagnosis and is carried out in some NHS practices as well as privately.

Like many treatments, it has varying effects on different people but can be an incredibly effective pain reliever. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends using acupuncture as a treatment for migraines and chronic tension headaches, but there are other areas where acupuncture can be very effective.

What is acupuncture used for?

Acupuncture can be used to alleviate the symptoms and pain associated with many conditions:

  • chronic headaches and related neck pain
  • post-operative pain
  • joint pain
  • sports-related muscular injuries

There have been over 10,000 clinical trials published and the British Acupuncture Council reports that over 2.3 million treatments are carried out each year in the UK, making acupuncture one of the most popular complementary treatments.

Does it hurt?

Acupuncture needles are so fine that they shouldn’t cause any pain or soreness. Their ends are rounded to prevent them puncturing cells – they fit between them, causing less discomfort. A dull ache or tingling may be felt where they come into contact with nerves.

Depending on symptoms and areas of pain, needles are inserted at certain points just below the skin. If the pain is muscular, the needles may need to go slightly deeper to reach the muscle tissue. Once inserted, you will remain still – this could be for any time between a few minutes and half an hour, depending on your symptoms, after which the needles are removed and disposed of.

The treatment may feel unusual at first, and not like anything you’ve experienced before, but certainly shouldn’t be painful. Let the therapist know immediately if you feel discomfort.

After receiving acupuncture treatment, you may experience some mild side effects. These could include dizziness and light-headedness, a slight worsening of conditions before improvement, or discomfort at the needles’ entry points. These will quickly recede.

What are the benefits?

Acupuncture brings many benefits to the patient. It increases blood flow to the area the needles are inserted which in turn encourages healing. It can also be a relaxing process, depending on symptoms.

Acupuncture promotes general health and well-being through its use in maintaining the body’s flow of energy. It brings pain relief and often release from chronic pain which in turn alleviates stress. Acupuncture is an entirely drug-free treatment, suitable for all ages and very safe.

Like many complementary therapies, there is no guarantee that acupuncture will work for everyone and it greatly depends on individual symptoms. Each treatment is tailored to each person so it’s definitely worth considering for a whole host of ailments, and given the overall realignment benefits, acupuncture may well help alleviate more than one health issue.

We sometimes use acupuncture alongside Osteopathic treatment. If you think you’d benefit from receiving acupuncture give us a call on 0141 887 3734.

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