Physiotherapy Acupuncture FAQ

10.2.19 Physiotherapy, Acupuncture

Physiotherapy Acupuncture FAQ


Would I benefit from acupuncture?

Currently, there is good scientific evidence supporting the use of acupuncture for the following conditions: lower back pain, elbow pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, and chronic pain. Research is ongoing for many other conditions, though the results are promising for pains in the hip, foot, and shoulder. 


What is the science behind acupuncture?

The science behind acupuncture is complicated and, frankly, not well understood. Simply put, acupuncture provokes multiple biological responses, both locally (at the site of insertion) and systemically (in the whole body). One such biological response is the release of endogenous opioids (opioid peptides) that induce pain relief. 


Do you incorporate Traditional Chinese Medicine into your acupuncture practice? 

Yes, my acupuncture training included elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In addition to the Theory of Ying and Yang, the Theory of Qi, and the Theory of Five Elements, my training emphasized the use of the Theory of the Channels and Collaterals (Meridians). This theory forms the basis for acupuncture, and can influence which points I select for treatment. 


What should I feel during an acupuncture treatment?

Contrary to popular belief, acupuncture is not meant to hurt. Though you may feel some mild pain, most people report minimal sensation upon insertion. Once a needle is fully inserted, you may feel a mild, dull ache or a light tingling sensation. Some also report feeling a general heaviness in the treatment area. 

How many acupuncture treatment sessions do I need?

While the results vary from person to person, one systematic review found that six or more treatment sessions were required for significant improvements. Treatments were typically performed two to three times per week, and lasted fifteen minutes. 


Are you a Registered Acupuncturist / Can you bill the treatment as acupuncture?

No, I am not a Registered Acupuncturist, and cannot bill as such. I am a Registered Physiotherapist with additional training in acupuncture, which allows me to perform acupuncture as part of a physiotherapy treatment session. Therefore, all treatments, even those that include acupuncture, will be billed as physiotherapy. 


How do you choose the acupuncture points?

There are not set rules as to how many needles to use for each condition, or exactly which points to use. Generally, a combination of points local to the injury/pain and distal to the affected area is used. Local points are good for activating the release of neurotransmitters, while distal points help when pain is too acute to allow local points. Following an initial assessment, I will determine which combination of points would work best for you. 


If you believe you may benefit from physiotherapy with the use of acupuncture, book an initial physiotherapy assessment at The Massage Clinic Health Centres today. 

Alyson Schwichtenberg

Registered Physiotherapist

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