Acupuncture Therapy at Riverwood Physiotherapy

Experience Comprehensive Pain Management and Recovery with Our Expert Acupuncture Services.

Acupuncture Therapy

Acupuncture is an ancient, safe, and effective treatment that involves inserting sterile, single-use needles into the body to reduce pain and inflammation, increase circulation and improve function. 

Acupuncture originated in China approximately 3000 years ago but has grown in popularity in Western medicine in the last century. The Traditional Chinese Medicine theory is that acupuncture points on the body are connected by pathways or meridians. Disruption of the energy flow through these pathways is thought to cause pain and disease. By applying acupuncture to certain points, the energy flow is restored thereby improving health. The Western medical approach to acupuncture believes that the insertion of needles stimulates the central nervous system to release endorphins and oxytocin. These biochemical changes encourage natural healing, pain relief, and promote emotional well-being. Inserting acupuncture needles to an affected area also promotes increased localized blood flow which in turn brings increased oxygen and nutrients to the area to speed up healing. It is recognized as being a highly effective tool for supporting injury recovery and treating chronic pain. 

Many studies have shown that acupuncture is effective for a variety of conditions such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic tendon inflammation such as tennis elbow, Achilles tendinopathy
  • headaches
  • lower back pain
  • myofascial pain
  • acute sprains and strains

In a 2018 review, data from 12 studies (8,003 participants) showed acupuncture was more effective than no treatment for back or neck pain. The pain-relieving effect of acupuncture was comparable to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). A 2017 clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians included acupuncture among the nondrug options recommended as first-line treatment for chronic low-back pain. 

A 2019 clinical practice guideline from the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation recommends acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, or hand. The guideline states that the greatest number of studies showing benefits have been for knee osteoarthritis. 

A 2020 review of nine studies that compared acupuncture with various drugs for preventing migraine found that acupuncture was slightly more effective, and study participants who received acupuncture were much less likely than those receiving drugs to drop out of studies because of side effects.

The needles used in acupuncture are hair-thin so there is minimal to no pain felt when it is inserted. Once inserted there is a vague sensation of pressure or ache which is not unpleasant. Most people find the treatments relaxing and comfortable with minimal to no side effects. Generally, anywhere from 4 to 12 needles are inserted in each body part being treated and they are left in place for 10-15 minutes.

Acupuncture is not for everyone and there are some contraindications to needling. Acupuncture should not be used in pregnant women, those with pacemakers or mechanical heart valves, those with blood clotting issues (i.e. hemophilia or on anti-coagulants), immunocompromised conditions (i.e. cancer, HIV) and anyone with open or infected skin. 

The needles are single use, sterilized and individually packaged so there is very little chance of contamination. Physiotherapists follow strict hygiene guidelines and training to ensure receiving acupuncture is perfectly safe. As with any treatment, there are some potential adverse effects with getting acupuncture, the most common being tissue trauma – mild bruising or bleeding. More rarely there is the potential to feel faint, nauseated, develop an infection, and have transient worsening of symptoms. In extremely rare instances a needle can break, or an organ could be perforated. 

If you are interested in acupuncture, speak with your physiotherapist for further information to see if it would be a beneficial addition to your treatment plan. Acupuncture is usually used in conjunction with other physiotherapy techniques and exercises to maximize your recovery potential.

Ready to embark on a journey towards holistic health and recovery? Riverwood Physiotherapy offers a range of services tailored to meet your needs, including Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, and Massage Therapy. Take the first step towards enhanced well-being by booking your appointment online today. Discover the path to a healthier, more vibrant you with our expert team by your side.

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