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Acupuncture is one of a number of different types of treatment that your physiotherapist may offer alongside others such as exercise, joint mobilisation and general rehabilitation to relieve pain and help you return to good health.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture originated in China over 2,000 years ago. The traditional Chinese medicine model of this technique uses needles inserted into the skin at specific points to influence the movement and levels of ‘Qi’ (i.e. energy or life force) within the body. According to Chinese medicine, any change in flow or balance of Qi can lead to pain, disease and disability.

Does acupuncture work?

The use of acupuncture for the effective treatment of pain is supported by an ever-growing body of scientific evidence. Acupuncture combined with physiotherapy is also widely accepted within both the NHS and private sector, with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommending in 2009 that acupuncture should be available as a cost-effective treatment for persistent non-specific low back pain.

What does acupuncture feel like?

When the needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache. Needles are inserted either for a second or two or maybe left in place for 30 minutes or more, depending on the effect required. During treatment, patients commonly experience a heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation.

How often will I need treatment?

This varies between patients. Sometimes the effects of treatment are dramatic, and only two or three treatments are required. With other patients, the effects are more subtle and they may need treatment over a longer period of time. After an initial consultation with one of our Physiotherapists in the clinic, an individual tailored course of acupuncture for your symptoms will be developed, as part of an evidence-based treatment programme.

Which conditions may benefit from acupuncture?

  • Neck or cervical pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Hip pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Arthritis and arthritic pain
  • Jaw and face pain
  • Tennis and golfer’s elbow
  • Sports injuries
  • Stress-related disorders