Acupuncture: Does it Really Work?


Acupuncture stimulates some points on the body using needles that are gently manipulated. It was developed in China over 3000 years ago and is among the oldest healing practices in the world.

How does it work?

According to modern science, the practice of acupuncture stimulates the production of natural pain-relieving hormones (endorphins). These assist the body to heal itself and reduce the transmission of pain messages into the brain. As to how exactly it all works is still up for debate but current research confirms that acupuncture is effective in the relief of certain types of pain and post-operative problems. Specially trained physio-therapists use acupuncture as an adjunct to treatment, to reduce pain and accelerate recovery.

In New Zealand, the needles physiotherapists use are disposable, single use and pre-sterilised. Several needles of varying width and length may be used in one session. They are left in position for up to 30 minutes before being removed. A needle is manipulated until a qi sensation is felt (a tingling or often warm heavy sensation that can spread away from the area of the needle).


Does it hurt?

Some people are put off by the needles and some, who suffer from real phobia, may never benefit from acupuncture treatment. However the most common report amongst first-time patients is how little they feel the needles. Some describe a weird sort of sensation, in a range that spans from tingling to heat. It is not uncommon to experience these feelings away from the needling site. In any case, an experienced acupuncturist knows how to avoid sensitive nerves.


What can you expect?

Needles may be inserted over the painful area or away from it. Pain relief may be immediate or develop over time with a cumulative effect, its effect building up over a series of treatments.

To decide whether acupunture is for you and whether it would be a good addition to your treatment, talk to your physiotherapist. Focus Health offers acupuncture treatment in all its Hawkes Bay clinics.

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