What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points to treat a variety of illnesses, injuries or diseases.
Traditional Chinese Acupuncturists utilise the Taoist philosophies of Yin and Yang – that the balance of energy in the body is vital to normal health. They treat the body holistically, using the pulses and the tongue to diagnose the patient and the insertion of needles along the meridian planes.
Western Acupuncture relies on the practitioner’s western medical diagnosis. The practitioner uses their anatomical knowledge of the position of the nerves to select acupuncture points to treat pain and restore homeostasis to the nervous system.
Dry needling uses the body’s own reflexes (or twitch response) to relieve stiff and painful ‘muscle knots’, restoring range of motion and receiving pain.
Acupuncture is not as painful as most patients expect it to be. A needle is inserted till a “Chi sensation is felt” a tingling or often warm heavy sensation that can spread away from the area of the needle. This is the nervous system being influenced by the stimulation.Needles are left in place for between 3 seconds (for muscle spasm/trigger point treatment) and 10-20 minutes for standard treatments. Many patients are now seeking acupuncture to avoid using pain medication. It appears to be effective in 80% of cases and the pain relief effect can be cumulative. It has few side effects – mainly sleepiness after treatment.
Physiotherapists at Prohealth are members of the Physiotherapy Acupuncture Association of New Zealand, and practice the highest standards of safety and hygiene, including the use of disposable needles.
Registered Physiotherapy Acupuncturist denotes advanced training in acupuncture.
Conditions that may be assisted include:
- Chronic Pain
- Spinal injuries
- Occupational Overuse Syndrome
- Hay fever
- Painful conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system
- Tendonitis, Bursitis, Synovitis
- Stop Smoking
- Nail Biting
- Nerve injury and paralysis
Want to know more?
Acupuncture Patient Information
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of therapy in which fine needles are inserted into specific points on the body. Some physiotherapists also use a smouldering herb called ‘moxa’ to warm these points, or an electrical stimulator on the end of the needles.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is generally very safe. Serious side effects are very rare – less than one per 10,000 treatments.
Does acupuncture have side effects?
You need to be aware that:
- drowsiness occurs after treatment in a small number of patients, and, if affected, you are advised not to drive
- minor bleeding or bruising occurs after acupuncture in about 3% of treatments
- pain during treatment occurs in about 1% of treatments
- existing symptoms can get worse after treatment (less than 3% of patients). You should tell your acupuncturist about this, but it is usually a good sign
- fainting can occur in certain patients, particularly at the first treatment
In addition, there are particular risks that apply in your case, your physiotherapist will discuss these with you.
Is there anything your practitioner needs to know?
Apart from the usual medical details, it is important that you let your physiotherapist know:
- if you have ever experienced a fit, faint or funny turn
- if you have a pacemaker or any other electrical implants
- if you have a bleeding disorder
- if you are taking anti-coagulants or any other medication
- if you have damaged heart valves or have any other particular risk of infection (ie if you have to have antibiotics to go to the dentist)
- if you are pregnant
Single-use, sterile, disposable needles are used in the clinic.
All physiotherapists practising acupuncture at Prohealth are members of the Physiotherapy Acupuncturists Association of New Zealand and maintain the highest standards of practice and ongoing education.