Acupuncture is one of the many treatment techniques utilized by PSMC physiotherapists as part of an integrated approach to the management of pain and inflammation. This use of Acupuncture in western medicine is based on scientific research and clinical evidence. Acupuncture can reduce pain by stimulating the brain and spinal cord to produce natural pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins, melatonin (which promotes sleep) and serotonin (to promote well-being), to name but a few. These chemicals assist the body's healing processes and offer pain relief as a precursor to other treatments such as manual therapy or exercise in order to aid recovery.

At PSMC all our physiotherapists are members of the ACCP (Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists). AACP members combine TCM principles with scientific evidence as a means of reducing pain and promoting healing, always with the aim of enhancing physiotherapy treatments such as exercise and rehabilitation techniques to promote recovery and improve quality of life. There are several techniques for applying acupuncture:

Conventional acupuncture Acupuncture involves the use of single-use, pre-sterilised disposable needles of varying widths, lengths and materials that pierce the skin at the acupuncture points. A number of needles may be used during each treatment, and these are typically left in position for between 20 and 30 minutes before being removed.

Dry needling or trigger point acupuncture This type of acupuncture may also be used to facilitate relaxation in specific muscles, for chronic muscle pain, or as a means of increasing muscle length in order to aid stretch and rehabilitation. In this type of acupuncture, often used an adjunct to manual therapy, the needle is inserted into the affected muscle until the tissue is felt to relax, and then then removed. This produces an effect much more rapidly than traditional acupuncture, and therefore, does not require the 20–30-minute treatment time.

Electroacupuncture Needles can be coupled to the electrodes of an electroacupuncture machine. Low-frequency electroacupuncture is intended to contribute to the mechanism of pain reduction, especially by stimulating chemicals in the brain that aid analgesia, relaxation and sleep. This technique is particularly useful in chronic pain problems and solid research supports its use.


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