Acupuncture Awareness Week

This week the British Acupuncture Council is launching the very first Acupuncture Awareness Week and their website is full of useful information. Of all the treatments I use, acupuncture is by far the one that most clients are curious about. Acupuncture has been used in China for over 2000 years. Fine needles are inserted into the skin to stimulate the body. Obviously, the needles are sterile and disposed of after use. Acupuncture can help with all sorts of muscle or joint pains like back pain for instance. The most common question is; how does it work? Let’s use back pain as an example (the following information was provided by the British Acupuncture Council).

“Acupuncture can help back pain by:

  • Providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987; Zhao 2008).
  • Reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007;Zijlstra 2003).
  • Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility – by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling and bruising.
  • Reducing the use of medication for back complaints (Thomas 2006).
  • Providing a more cost-effective treatment over a longer period of time (Radcliffe 2006;Witt 2006).
  • Improving the outcome when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises (Ammendolia 2008; Yuan 2008).”
  • Releasing tight bands in muscles

Following research into the effects of acupuncture on low back pain, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) now recommend that GPs offer a course of 10 sessions of acupuncture as a first line treatment for persistent, non-specific low back pain.

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