Western Medical Acupuncture treatment involves fine needles being inserted through the skin and briefly left in position. Sometimes manual or low voltage electrical stimulation is applied to assist the process. The number of needles used may vary from one to more than a dozen, depending on what needs to be achieved. I will always assess each patient’s case on the day and treatment will be tailored to the individual. Nevertheless, I do find that acupuncture works particularly well alongside other techniques such as osteopathy and will often blend both together within a session if appropriate and if the patient is happy to proceed in this way.
Treatment might be once a week to begin with, then at longer intervals as the condition responds. A typical course of treatment might last from 5 to 8 sessions. In some cases, however, long-term relief can be profound and immediate.
Acupuncture stimulates the nerves in skin and muscle, and can produce a variety of effects. We know that it increases the body's release of natural painkillers - endorphin and serotonin - in the pain pathways of both the spinal cord and the brain. This modifies the way pain signals are received and can be a very useful way of breaking the cycle of pain which causes spasm that then leads on to more pain. As the pain threshold is raised, patients find that they are able to move and take exercise more normally again and that their day-to-day life also improves.
Traditional (Chinese) Acupuncture differs in philosophy as well as practice and training. It is less based on reliable scientific research and focusses more on channelling what is thought of as a "vital force" (qi) around the body. Although it also often provides patients with feelings of calmness or euphoria, it is less focussed on the actual pathophysiology of specific muscle groups or myofascial trigger points.