Looking for Exeter acupuncture sessions?
You’re in the right place.
Acupuncture is a wonderful tool to treat a range of health conditions and one that’s becoming increasing common in western medical clinics.
In this article we’ll look at what the treatment entails and answer some common questions we get from our clients.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
What is acupuncture?
According to the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists,
Acupuncture is one of the many skills used within physiotherapy as an integrated approach to the management of pain and inflammation and as a means of stimulating the body’s own healing chemicals in order to aid recovery and enhance rehabilitation.
There are different belief systems behind the treatment, depending on whether you approach it from a Chinese Medicine perspective or Western theory of science.
So what are the differences?
How acupuncture works
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM works on the premise of balance.
Much like the concept of Yin and Yang, it’s thought that the body has to maintain this delicate balance and that health conditions are the result of blocked energy or life force, known as Qi (pronounced “chee”).
This energy is thought to flow along channels in the body, called meridians. When the energy flow is disrupted, we suffer from physical symptoms.
Acupuncture can be used to release this stagnant energy and works by inserting fine needles into specific points dotted along these channels.
Certain combinations of acupuncture points work best to treat specific conditions.
When balance is restored, so we heal physical symptoms.
As there is no conclusive evidence for the theories presented in Traditional Chinese Medicine, researchers have proposed alternative explanations for the effects of acupuncture.
When needles are inserted in soft tissues of the body, they stimulate peripheral nerves.
This can help block pain signals being transmitted along the nerve from the area of injury to the brain.
At the same time, the brain releases its own natural painkillers, such as endorphins, which help to combat the problem.
The needles also have an effect at the site of pain. Often a form of treatment is used caused trigger point acupuncture.
Trigger points are knots within muscles that are often the cause or primary symptom of many of the conditions we treat in physiotherapy clinics.
By placing needles into these knots, we can increase the blood flow to muscles, releasing tight muscles fibres and reducing pain.
Whichever school of thought you prefer, acupuncture can be extremely effective for many common conditions.
Here’s how it can help you.
Neck and back pain
Many neck and back problems are caused by disc or joint issues. Frequently, tight muscles may also be a cause or effect of these conditions. Acupuncture can help decrease pain and increase flexibility.
After a car accident, the body goes into protection mode. By sending muscles into spasm, the body is preventing movement which could cause further structural damage. The result? A very stiff neck. In the days following a car accident, it can sometimes be hard to do much hands on treatment due to the severity of symptoms. Therefore, acupuncture makes for a perfect, gentle treatment.
Nerve pain can be excruciating. Like lightning bolts of pain, seemingly unrelieved by position or painkillers. Acupuncture, as we’ve already established, activates the brain’s natural painkilling substances as well as blocking pain message from travelling along the nerves, giving welcome release in some cases.
Posture and stress
We all work too much. Often we’re sitting for much of the day in front of a computer screen, our muscles slowly contracting over time due to poor posture and stress. Acupuncture can help treat these satellites of tension in the neck, shoulders and back.
Many sports injuries are the result of poor biomechanics and overtraining. Trigger points can easily form along major muscle groups which may have escaped the attention of the foam roller and precipitated an injury.
Repetitive strain injury
Commonly caused by overuse at work, repetitive strain conditions can be hugely debilitating, resulting in time off and adversely affecting your quality of life. Along with upgrading your workstation and implementing the necessary ergonomic changes, acupuncture is a beneficial adjunct.
This a commonly a repetitive, overuse type of injury and can lead to a significant loss of function in the affected arm. Using needles in the affecting forearm muscle can help improve flexibility and reduce discomfort.
Our Exeter acupuncture service can help a wide range of different conditions. Feel free to reach out and see if it’s suitable.
Does acupuncture always work?
Effective symptom resolution very much depends on the condition being treated and the individual response to therapy.
The therapist will ask the patient about the symptoms before and after every session to guide treatment.
Acupuncture will also be combined with other interventions like exercise therapy, which the patient will be expected to perform at home.
How many sessions will I need?
Again, this depends on the condition. However, on average 6 sessions is a good guide to determine if acupuncture is effective at managing your symptoms.
Is acupuncture suitable for everyone?
No, it’s not. Your therapist will perform a detailed assessment before deciding on any treatment.
If you suffer from the following conditions, acupuncture might not be suitable.
- Serious pathology, like cancer
- Heart issues or low blood pressure
- Have a pacemaker
- Have immune system issues
- Suffer from skin issues where the needles will be placed
- Are pregnant (or trying to conceive)
- Bleeding disorders, such as haemophilia
- Taking blood thinners, like Heparin or Warfarin
- Have metal allergies (e.g. to stainless steel)
- Have a fear of needles
- Are suffering from a cold/flu
Are there any side effects?
Acupuncture is generally a very safe treatment when administered by a trained professional.
At the time of treatment, some patients experience a dull ache or tingle around the needle, a sensation known as dae chi in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This is generally a positive sign that the treatment is taking effect.
After the treatment, there may be a small bruise or a little soreness where the needles have been.
Is there any chance of infection?
Reputable clinics only use single-use disposable needles that have been pre-sterilised.
Furthermore, the therapist will swab to skin with an alcohol wipe to ensure that the acupuncture point is clean.
After use, the needles are disposed of securely in a sharps box.
How long do sessions last?
This depends on the type of acupuncture being applied.
Trigger point acupuncture, for example, is quicker and the needles removed after the tight spots have been stimulated.
When using Traditional Chinese Medicine, the needles may be left in place for longer.
Therefore, please leave at least 30 minutes for treatment.
Which type of acupuncture will I have?
This is up to the treating therapist and will depend on the results of your assessment and may also change treatment to treatment.
Commonly, it may be a mixture of trigger point therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture points.
What should I wear for treatment?
The treating practitioner really needs to access the skin of the area that is affected.
However, commonly points distal to the site of injury are also used.
That means even if you have a shoulder problem, we may use an acupuncture point around the knee or ankle.
Therefore, wear accessible and/or loose fitting clothing.
It may be necessary to remove clothing if necessary, in which case the therapist will provide a towel for modesty.
Booking an Exeter acupuncture appointment
If you’d like to book an appointment, please contact us here first.
We only work with select clients who’ll benefit from our service, so we’ll start by asking you a few questions to determine if treatment will be appropriate.
Alternatively, click here to see what other services we offer in our Exeter clinic.
Acupuncture near me
For some people, it’s not always convenient to come into Exeter to attend an appointment.
Therefore if you live in a surrounding town near the city, we may be able to come to you.
Failing that, we might be able to recommend a local acupuncturist to who can offer treatment.