Traditional Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine which goes back nearly two thousand years, and has been used to treat a variety of illness and medical conditions. More recently, western medical acupuncture has also been widely used and accepted all over the world, including in the NHS. It is also used by many of the world’s greatest athletes, sports people, and celebrities to treat musculoskeletal conditions and relieve pain.
Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or "life force", flows through the body in channels called meridians. This energy is known as Qi (pronounced "chee"). Practitioners who follow traditional beliefs about acupuncture believe that when Qi does not flow freely through the body, this can cause illness or injury. By inserting very fine sterile needles into channels that have become blocked, the acupuncturist stimulates the body's healing response and thereby helps to restore its natural balance. Different combinations of points are used to treat different conditions. Acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of conditions / health problems; the overall aim is to restore the body's equilibrium. Patients often notice an improved sense of well-being after treatment.
How does it work?
Western medical acupuncture is more commonly used in the treatment of injuries after a proper medical diagnosis. It is based on scientific evidence that shows the treatment can stimulate nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue. A possible scientific explanation for how acupuncture works is that the insertion of needles stimulates deep sensory nerves in the body that causes a release of pain-relieving substances, such as endorphins. These substances, once released in the body, can help with pain relief and assist healing. Acupuncture is also believed to increase blood flow into the area being treated and a fresh blood supply is important for tissue repair.
What is it used for?
Some evidence has found acupuncture may have a beneficial effect on the following conditions:
- Lower back pain
- Tension-type headaches
- Migraines / headaches
- Neck Pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Post-operative pain
- Joint Pain
However, because of disagreements over the way acupuncture trials should be carried out and over what their results mean, the existence of some positive evidence does not mean acupuncture definitely works for these conditions.
Does it work?
All health professionals have a duty of care, ethically, morally and professionally to provide only safe and effective treatments. Therefore, like all forms of medical treatment, the chosen pathway(s) should be justified and based on clinical research evidence. A growing body of evidence-based research in the support of acupuncture is available on The British Acupuncture Council website under 'evidence-based clinical research' .
Currently, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) only recommends considering acupuncture as a treatment option for chronic lower back pain, neck pain, chronic tension head aches and migraines. NICE makes these recommendations on the basis of scientific evidence.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends acupuncture as an effective treatment for over forty medical problems, including allergies, respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, gynecological problems, nervous conditions, and disorders of the eyes, nose and throat, and childhood illnesses, among others. Find out more about the evidence for and against acupuncture
Everybody responds differently to acupuncture, with some having great results and others feeling little difference. NJD Sports Injury Centre use safe, effective Acupuncture to reduce pain and to treat many musculo-skeletal conditions including sports injuries. We often combine Acupuncture with other forms of treatments to provide a more comprehensive multi factorial approach.