Acupuncture is a form of treatment that has been used for thousands of years. It involves the insertion of fine, solid needles in to specific points on the body with the purpose of treating pain, dysfunction and disease. Contemporary medical acupuncture is based on current concepts of neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, anatomy and pathophysiology. The effects of acupuncture are well researched and its effectiveness has been reported in the medical literature. Acupuncture affects the body at different levels. Locally where the needles are inserted there is an increase in blood flow. This helps to promote healing. At the spinal cord and brain level, the release of certain natural chemicals including endorphins (one of the body’s natural pain killers) is stimulated. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or trigger release of chemicals that influence the body’s own internal regulating system. Contemporary acupuncture may also use electrical current to influence the structures at the acupuncture point and along the acupuncture channel between points.
Contemporary acupuncture works well when used in conjunction with manual therapy techniques as part of an integrated therapeutic approach to deal with pain, headaches and other neuromuscular problems.