Medical acupuncture is a therapeutic technique that involves inserting fine needles into certain points across the body, to encourage healing and pain relief.
Also referred to as ‘western acupuncture’ the practice differs from the ancient Chinese practice it derives from. While still using needles to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities, it doesn’t adhere to the concepts of Qi or yin/yang, as followed in Chinese acupuncture.
What can it help with?
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which provides guidelines for the NHS on the use of treatments and care of patients, currently recommends acupuncture as a treatment for chronic tension-type headaches and migraines.
Other conditions commonly treated by acupuncture, though not officially recognised by NICE, include:
- Chronic pain, such as neck pain
- Joint pain
- Dental pain
- Postoperative pain
How does it work?
Needling specific body parts is thought to stimulate sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles of the body. This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. It is thought that these naturally released substances are responsible for the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture.