June 1, 2017

Western Acupuncture

What is Western Acupuncture?

Medical or Western Acupuncture can also known as Dry Needling. It is a western adaptation of traditional acupuncture. It is practiced predominantly by doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths & chiropractors and uses a more select range of acupuncture techniques on the basis of a western medical diagnosis and evidence based research.

It is not one of the various forms Traditional acupuncture and should not be confused as such! Dry Needling is based on anatomy, physiology and western scientific findings and is often used in conjunction with other therapies as discussed above. Most acupuncturists that practice western acupuncture have some sort of medical qualification and have studied it as a post graduate qualification.

What Dry Needling may help with?

  • For pain relief of musculoskeletal pain
  • For chronic pain such as neuralgia, myofascial pain syndromes, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis of the knee

How does Western Acupuncture work?

Several processes have been proposed to explain acupuncture’s effects, primarily those on pain. Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain.

These chemicals either change the experience of pain or release other chemicals, such as hormones, that influence the body’s self-regulating systems. The biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being. There are three main mechanisms:

Conduction of electromagnetic signals: Western scientists have found evidence that acupuncture points are strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. Stimulating points along these pathways through acupuncture enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at a greater rate than under normal conditions. These signals may start the flow of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and of immune system cells to specific sites that are injured or vulnerable to disease.

Activation of opioid systems: research has found that several types of opioids may be released into the central nervous system during acupuncture treatment, thereby reducing pain.

Changes in brain chemistry sensation, and involuntary body functions: studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones in a good way. Acupuncture also has been documented to affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes whereby a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature are regulated.

What Does Western Acupuncture Feel Like?

Acupuncture needles bear little resemblance to those used in injections and blood tests. They are much finer and are solid rather than hollow. When the needle is inserted, the sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache.

Needles are normally left in place for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the effect required. During treatment patients commonly experience heaviness in the limbs or a pleasant feeling of relaxation.

What is electro-acupuncture?

Quite similar to traditional acupuncture in that the same points are stimulated during treatment. As with traditional acupuncture, needles are inserted on specific points along the body. The needles are then attached to a device that generates continuous electric pulses using small clips. These devices are used to adjust the frequency and intensity of the impulse being delivered, depending on the condition being treated. Electro-acupuncture uses two needles at time so that the impulses can pass from one needle to the other.