Acupuncture is a collection of procedures involving penetration of the skin with needles to stimulate certain points on the body.
Physiotherapists are able to combine acupuncture with other natural treatment methods, such as exercise, manipulation and relaxation techniques. All physiotherapists who practice acupuncture are trained to give simple pain relief but some may also be skilled in the treatment of more complex problems. Treatment in these cases aims to help the body balance itself, and is not just for the relief of symptoms.
Will it hurt?
This is the most common question when needles are used. The fine needles are usually only inserted a few millimetres and this gives rise to a sensation which should only be a very mild discomfort. If this is not the case, please inform Kirsty at once.
Will I respond?
Research shows that 70% of people gain relief from pain with acupuncture. It does not work for everybody or every condition but frequently good results are achieved when other treatments have not achieved a good response. The effects are cumulative, with pain relief building up as treatment progresses. Occasionally the condition may become a little worse at the beginning of the treatment course.
What to expect?
Please eat prior to your acupuncture treatment. This is because acupuncture can cause a slight drop in your blood sugar level and fainting can occur.
After a thorough assessment, a number of needles may be inserted (usually 4 or 5). There is a pricking sensation on insertion and the needle may be stimulated by hand to produce a sensation. You may feel a tingling sensation or mild ache around the needle site - this is called De Qi.
The needles are left in the skin for a period of time, depending on your response to the treatment and the physiotherapist’s practice. Needles are not usually left in the skin for longer than 20 minutes.
Physiotherapists work in close association with GP’s and specialists. They have undergone a thorough training based on western medicine, before training in acupuncture at a post-graduate level. Physiotherapists who are trained in acupuncture are bound by strict professional rules and ethical codes, monitored by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).