Acupuncture, a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the insertion of fine needles into points on the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a discipline in itself. Acupuncture is also used in modern day physiotherapy and osteopathy.
Musculoskeletal acupuncture is mainly used to treat pain. There are two main effects that are at play when you have this type of acupuncture – local and central effects.
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Benefits of Acupuncture…
The insertion of the needle has numerous local effects. The insertion of a foreign object in to a muscle or tendon will increase blood flow to that area. The blood flow increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to that area, and removal of waste from that area. This is aimed at speeding up and aiding injury healing. There is also increased cellular activity in the area where the needle is inserted. These cells could be fibroblasts that produce collagen or macrophages, an immune cell, that clears inflammation and debris.
The insertion of the needle can also mechanically stimulate the muscles into which it has been inserted, this stimulation, often referred to as dry needling, can be quite painful and is believe to mechanically deactivate tension points in the muscles.
We also know that acupuncture causes stretching of the fascia that can aid tissue healing and flexibility
MRI studies have demonstrated that acupuncture changes the activity in the brain. One of the areas that is affected is the pain areas. Pain is a multimodal output from the brain, and acupuncture can modulate this output, thus reducing the pain that you experience.
The second main central effect that acupuncture stimulates is the production of brain chemicals. These include endorphins, endomorphins and serotonin. These chemicals make you feel happier, more relaxed and experience less pain.
Acupuncture is very useful for low back pain and sciatica, neck pain, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow and runners knee. It usually takes a number of sessions to see a marked improvement in symptoms.
Dry needling is a form of acupuncture where needles are inserted into trigger points in the muscles. Trigger points are painful taught palpable tension points in muscles commonly described by people as ‘knots’. Needling them causes a muscle fibre contraction after which the muscle relaxes.
The dry needling technique also stimulates blow flow into the area, and stimulates the brain to releases endomorphins, your own natural painkillers, thus having an analgesic effect.
Dry needling can be a little uncomfortable – you will feel a scratch as the needle goes through the skin and with the right needle stimulation you will feel a sensation of ache where the needle has been inserted – but it is not extremely painful or as bad as an injection or blood draw. The needle will then be stimulated which can increase the sensation of ache and also cause some minor muscle contractions.
It is not unusual to feel a little tender where the needles were inserted for about 24 hours after the session. This is quite normal and that sensation will pass.
I could not recommend Wandsworth physiotherapy more highly. Both Steve and Sid were invaluable to my marathon preparation and because they offer a wide range of services including physiotherapy, acupuncture and sports massage they are able to treat people in numerous ways to get the best results.
These guys are fantastic! Really quick to reply and they found me an appointment on the same day. I've since had regular treatments with Alessio who is excellent, and my torn IT band, shoulder and other ailments are much improved. Brilliant for both sports injuries and wellness.
Booked an appointment for the same day on a Saturday. Adele has been very welcoming and helpful, providing useful advice as well as efficient treatment. Great local clinic, will definitely come back and recommend.
Great Physio. Adele is very knowledgeable and helpful. She knew exactly where the pain was and was able to fix it. Everyone is very friendly. It's definitely worth a visit if you have any sort of pain!
I've been several times for several different problems and Steve has always been excellent. He listens really carefully and asks good questions to find out exactly what's wrong, and is very clear with follow-up exercises to continue the therapy at home. Highly recommend him!
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Please note we have a 24 hour cancellation policy. Please respect our Physiotherapists and Osteopaths and give them more than 24 hours notice if you need to change or cancel an appointment. Failure to do so will incur a cancellation charge and result in you needing to pre-pay for appointments thereafter.
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