What is Medical Acupuncture
Western Medical Acupuncture or “dry needling” is the therapeutic modality involving the insertion of fine needles. It is an evidence based approach applying anatomy, physiology and pathology which is complimentary to Traditional Chinese Acupuncture. Doctors and missionaries brought acupuncture to Europe in the 17th century. It is now a common and widely accepted therapy.
Western Medical acupuncture practitioners consider the physical and chemical effects the insertion of needles may have on ‘trigger’ points or acupoints. Trigger points are sensitive spots, often situated where nerves leave or enter muscles or tissues. Inserting a needle at these points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain.
These chemicals will either change the experience of discomfort, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system. The resulting improvement in biochemical balance results in stimulation of the body’s innate healing abilities, and promotion of physical and emotional well-being.
The inserted needles, by stimulation of the nervous system, have a local effect on the skin and muscles – dilatation of local blood vessels helps to increase blood flow to the area and remove waste products. Consequently, this creates a chain reaction where opioids and other pain management chemicals are released from the body to reduce the pain in the affected area and induce global relaxation.
What to expect
The practitioner will take a full and detailed history and examine the patient prior to treatment. Acupuncture treatment involves single use sterile fine needles inserted through the skin which are briefly left in position. Manual stimulation is sometimes applied to assist the process. The number of needles inserted will depend on the individual and their condition and may be as few as two or three. The practitioner may suggest a combination of osteopathic treatment along with acupuncture if it’s beneficial for the patient.
Benefits of Western Acupuncture
Dry needling can be a beneficial therapy for conditions such as:
- Neck pain (including headache and whiplash)
- Upper back and shoulder pain
- Jaw and mouth problems, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
- Migraine and tension-type headaches
- Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow pain
- Lower back pain (including sciatica type symptoms)
- Pelvic pain
- Hip and thigh pain
- Knee pain
- Calf pain
- Night cramps
- Phantom limb pain
- Postherpetic neuralgia, a complication of shingles
“I have been treated by Karen in the past and am currently seeing James for my back problems. They are both highly professional and progressive in their field. They take the necessary time and care to get to know you and your problems, I highly recommend them both. ”
– Karen Jamshidi