Just one of the many skills that may be used within contemporary physiotherapy and are used at Tyrrell Physiotherapy, Swords, Co. Dublin. It can be extremely effective when combined with other physiotherapy treatments such as exercise, manual therapy and relaxation techniques. Physiotherapists who practice acupuncture typically practice one of two types; Traditional Chinese and Western/ Medical Acupuncture.
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture
This refers specifically to the application of the Traditional Chinese model for understanding health. The main aim of this type of acupuncture is to balance energy of the body to promote health and wellbeing by inserting fine needles into specific points of the body and it is frequently used to treat a diverse range of conditions including low back pain, migraine and tension-type headaches as well as some women’s health complaints. It involves a detailed assessment using a Chinese model and may include an assessment by pulse or tongue diagnosis.
Dry Needling OR Western/Medical Acupuncture
Western acupuncture utilises the same range of points that traditional Chinese models use but bases point selection upon current understanding of physiology, anatomy and biochemistry with a primary focus on treating pain. It does not utilise any traditional Chinese medicine assessment methods.
Acupuncture is different from another type of needling (known as dry needling) which is performed by many physiotherapists. Dry needling is used specifically for the treatment of trigger points (commonly referred to as muscle knots).
What happens when I see my physiotherapist for Acupuncture?
- Acupuncture may not be appropriate for all patients. Your physiotherapist will help you decide if treatment is the best option for you or if another treatment is more appropriate for your condition.
- Be sure you have something to eat 1-2 hours before treatment. This helps to reduce the risk of feeling faint during your treatment session.
- Your physiotherapist will start by taking your full medical history, including your current health problems. You may be asked to complete a ‘consent to treatment form’.
- The number of very fine needles (usually about 10) used at a time during a treatment session will vary according to your condition and symptoms. The needles are inserted into the skin either where you feel pain if you are being treated for pain, away from the pain, or a combination of both.
- The needles may be left in for up to 30 minutes. During treatment, your physiotherapist may stimulate the needles by gently rotating them. This is sometimes done to increase the treatment’s effectiveness.
- The needles are removed at the end of the treatment and you will be asked to rest for a few minutes before you leave.