Posted on 3rd October 2018 by Fiona
At goPhysio our team of Clinicians are trained to use a variety of acupuncture techniques, from Dry Needling (which focuses on the myofascial trigger points), through to Traditional Chinese Acupuncture.
The different methods of acupuncture can all be used to assist in the treatment of a variety of injuries from knee pain through to headaches, helping speed up the return to active rehabilitation as well as improving general health and wellbeing.
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture is based around specific acupuncture points, of which there are over 2000 in the body (361 commonly used points identified by the World Health Organisation in 1991). These points are connected by pathways called meridians. These pathways conduct energy, known as Qi, through the body and its internal organs.
When we experience pain, one theory is that it is due to a disruption in the flow of this energy. When acupuncture is administered using this method the therapist is aiming to elicit a sensation known as De-qi in order to harmonise the flow of Qi (energy). De-qi is the sensation that is felt by the person receiving the acupuncture and is a sign to the acupuncturist that indicates the curative effect has been initiated. De-qi can be described in numerous ways ranging from a sensation of heaviness, warmth, cold or aching through to tingling or numbness.
As well as a physical sensation felt by the person receiving the acupuncture De-qi is also a biomechanical phenomenon known as needle grasp. In needle grasp the therapist feels resistance to further needle manipulation/stimulation which has been described as a fish biting on a line (Song to Elucidate Mysteries, Biao You Fu).
Dry Needling, or Myofascial Needling
Dry Needling, or Myofascial Needling, is based around placing the acupuncture needles in areas of tightness/restriction or muscular trigger points. Several theories as to how this method of needling works include the stimulation of the nervous system, relaxation of trigger points (tight knots) and the stimulation of the body to produce substances called endorphins and natural opiods which reduce pain.
As with Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, the therapist will manipulate the needle, most commonly by rotating it. This fundementally leads to the winding of the tissues around the needle like winding spaghetti round a fork (at a microscopic level!).
The needle grasp (fish biting on a line) that is felt in Chinese acupuncture is the same as the winding of tissues (spaghetti around the fork) that is elicited in dry needling/myofascial needling.
Consequently the two approaches to acupuncture have many overlaps both from a patient experience as well as the therapist application.
When would acupuncture benefit me?
Our Clinicians may suggest acupuncture to you as a treatment technique, if they think it would help ease your pain or symptoms. It is generally a treatment used as part of a holistic recovery plan, a good way to help ease your pain so you can get more active and move easier, which in turn will boost your recovery. It is often combined with an exercise programme, education and advice and other physio treatments that will help your recovery.