28 Apr Medical Acupuncture
Today we take a look at Medical Acupuncture and answer a few questions you might have if you are considering this therapy
Acupuncture involves the use of fine needles in points across the body and has been used for thousands of years.
Acupuncture has its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is now used worldwide in medical settings.
Medical Acupuncture is performed by a qualified Doctor trained in both Western Medicine and Medical Acupuncture. A Medical Acupuncturist will consider and incorporate the modern medical knowledge of anatomy, neurophysiology, and evidence-based medicine as well as Classical Chinese Acupuncture concepts.
In Australia, Medical Acupuncturists are required to have completed a training program through the Australian Medical Acupuncture College and be registered through AHPRA. A Doctor is required to have completed both their Medical Degree as well as their Specialist Training (eg GP Fellowship) before being permitted to study Medical Acupuncture- usually about 11-13 years of training all up!
What types of acupuncture are there?
At Top Health Doctors we perform a variety of acupuncture modalities including:
- Traditional filiform needles
- Modern fine superficial needles
- Laser Acupuncture
How does acupuncture work?
In TCM, acupuncture is believed to help move and balance qi (energy) across the body via meridian channels.
The modern proposed mechanism is that acupuncture works via our neurological sensory and pain modulating pathways to have effects both locally (near the needle) and centrally in the brain, in the spinal cord and across the whole body.
What is it used for?
Acupuncture is used either alone, or in combination with other therapies for
- Chronic pain
- Musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, and rotator cuff syndrome
- Sports injuries
- Period pain
- Allergic and inflammatory conditions
Scientific evidence for acupuncture has been established for a variety of common medical, pain and musculoskeletal conditions.
Is it the same as Dry Needling?
You may have heard of Dry Needling which is commonly offered by Physiotherapists and other Musculoskeletal therapists. While both use similar needles, Acupuncture targets different anatomical structures and uses different needling techniques. A Medical Acupuncturist also requires more extensive training before being permitted to practice.
What to expect in a session?
Your Medical Acupuncturist will take a thorough history of your condition, perform an examination, and will review any investigations you may have had such as Xrays and Ultrasound Scans. Your doctor will take into consideration your current medications and other therapies you may be receiving. Medical Acupuncture is commonly used alongside other medical treatments such as medication, physiotherapy, massage, and exercise therapy.
During treatment you will sit or lie in a comfortable condition for anywhere from a few minutes up to half an hour. Sterile, single-use needles are used and are placed in a variety of locations around the body. Fine superficial needles and lasers are available for those who might be less comfortable with needles.
How do I prepare?
If you have been referred by another GP or allied health professional, please bring your referral and a copy of any scans or tests you have had for your condition. Please don’t stop or change any of your regular medications or therapies without discussing this with your doctor.
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Some patients like to bring a blanket or their favourite relaxing music/meditation track and headphones.
How many sessions will I need?
A new minor injury may only require one session. Chronic conditions which have been present for more than a few months may benefit from weekly to fortnightly sessions.