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Western medical acupuncture is a therapeutic modality involving the insertion of fine needles. It is an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, and the principles of evidence based medicine. In this practice, as clinicians we are all qualified in this approach to therapy. We use this as one of our therapeutic modalities as and when or if required.
How it works:
Much research has been done and much still remains to be discovered concernong how Western Medical Acupuncture works. Having said that, given the research, we can say that there is a plausible scientific basis for the treatment, at least in its modern form.
Here is a summary of the main topics that have been researched:
1. There are changes in the tissues at the site of needle insertion which probably speed up healing of injuries and recovery from disease.
2. The modern understanding of pain is that t depends on complex patterns of activity in the spinal cord and brain. There is good evidence that acupuncture can alter these patterns and so reduce itensity of pain.
3. A lot of pain in muscles and joints is thought to be due to what are called trigger points in the muscles. These are like knots, which hurt when pressed and cause pain to radiate to other places. Needling these can relieve pain and increase range of movement.
What diseases can be helped by acupuncture?
It is not possible to give a complete list, partly a lot depends upon the reaction of the individual patient. Some people respond well and others do not respond to treatment at all.
In general, acupuncture is good for pain, especially pain in the muscles and joints (including some kinds of arthritis).