Acupuncture is an alternative medicine methodology originating in ancient China, that involves manipulating very fine, solid needles that have been inserted into acupuncture points in the skin. Of these disposable needles, some are so fine that 10 of them can fit into the width of a normal syringe.
According to Traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating these points can correct imbalances in the flow of Qi through channels known as meridians.
ACUPUNCTURE Versus DRY NEEDLING
Many of the acupuncture points have been called “trigger points” by physiotherapists and other body workers. During the last few years, practitioners not trained in Chinese medicine have begun using acupuncture needles on patients, calling it “Dry Needling”. Practitioners who use Dry Needling are not acupuncturists and are not required to meet the regulatory standards set out by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (http://www.chinesemedicineboard.gov.au/Codes-Guidelines.aspx). Investigations have begun into adverse events resulting from Dry Needling, however there is still much research left to do (Halle & Halle, 2016). Florida USA has recently banned dry needling through a court order because of the risk to public safety.
From the perspective of a trained acupuncturist, Dry Needling is a more painful technique, as these points are stimulated till the muscle twitches in response, a practice used infrequently in traditional acupuncture.
Acupuncture is generally a very gentle therapy that is carefully adapted by the practitioner to suit individual patients’ sensitivities and needs and can be a relaxing experience.
Randomized controlled trials have recently been done using acupuncture in the emergency wards of 4 Melbourne hospitals, and have shown that it may provide some pain relief (Cohen et al., 2017). The long term use of opioids is now being questioned for their efficacy, so it is very important to find other ways to assist with both acute and chronic pain conditions.
This current research shows how acupuncture has a positive result on pain relief: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK409491/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK409491.pdf
A summary of the findings is here: https://discover.dc.nihr.ac.uk/portal/article/4000672/acupuncture-shown-to-have-benefits-for-treatment-of-some-chronic-pain?utm_content=buffered7fb&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
There is minimal sensation sometimes, no more than a mosquito bite or the pressure of a fingernail on the skin as they are very thin. Usually the pressure of the guiding tube is felt more than the needle insertion. A quick feeling may be detected when the Qi is activated, which fades and may leave a lovely tingle while the needles are working.
International Acupuncture News
With global communication becoming more open, the quality of research is gradually improving. The research that has been conducted so far includes only a handful of the huge number of conditions that are written about in Chinese medicine literature. A large body of anecdotal evidence, Classical literature and clinical notes have been collected by Chinese medicine physicians over the last 2500 years.
In China, hospitals incorporate and integrate Western and Chinese medicine for the improved health of the patient. At the Philadelphia Children’s hospital in America (http://www.chop.edu/services/acupuncture-program), they are now offering acupuncture treatments instead of just opioids for pain relief and other complaints. A few hospitals in America are also using acupuncture for pain relief in their emergency wards (Tsai, Fox, Murakami, & Tsung, 2016). The American military is also incorporating it into their health care; in particular with their veterans (Madsen, Patel, Vaughan, & Koehlmoos, 2018). Acupuncture is the fastest growing medical profession in America and is widely supported by their insurance systems.
As the largest public-sector provider of integrated medicine in Europe, the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM) offers acupuncture alongside it’s other therapies. https://www.uclh.nhs.uk/OurServices/OurHospitals/RLHIM/Pages/Home.aspx
People seek out Chinese medicine for support with many health issues. So far only a few very specific conditions have been researched by Western scientific standards. The translation of Western assessment techniques to Chinese medicine theory can be difficult for some researchers to fully comprehend. For this reason, much of the early research into acupuncture was of low quality and did not comply with the rigorous scientific methods applied to Western testing. Presently AHPRA’s strict advertising guidelines mean that we are allowed to mention less than 10 conditions with approval, that are treated by acupuncture. Over 12,000 systemic research reviews and randomized controlled trials have been done on Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Many have not been translated yet whilst others are older than 5 years.
Conditions that we can mention according to AHPRA
- manage pain stress and fatigue related to autoimmune disorders in consultation with other treating practitioners
- manage pain fatigue and nausea relating to chronic diseases
- manage vomiting and nausea due to chemotherapy
- reduce musculoskeletal pain during pregnancy
- help as a fertility adjunct with IVF treatment
- nausea and vomiting
- reduce chronic pain relating to depression by managing the underlying pain
Please contact Bayside Chinese Medicine by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 0418327892 for more information about how we can help your condition if it is not listed.
Cohen, M. M., Smit, D. V., Andrianopoulos, N., Ben-Meir, M., Taylor, D. M., Parker, S. J., Cameron, P. A. (2017). Acupuncture for analgesia in the emergency department: a multicentre, randomised, equivalence and non-inferiority trial. The Medical Journal of Australia, 206(11), 494-499.
Halle, J. S., & Halle, R. J. (2016). PERTINENT DRY NEEDLING CONSIDERATIONS FOR MINIMIZING ADVERSE EFFECTS – PART ONE. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 11(4), 651-662.
Maciocia, G. (2015). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine E-Book: A Comprehensive Text: Elsevier Health Sciences.
McDonald, J., & Janz, S. (2017). The Acupuncture Evidence Project.
Lee, J. H., Choi, T. Y., Lee, M. S., Lee, H., Shin, B. C., & Lee, H. (2013). Acupuncture for acute low back pain: a systematic review. Clin J Pain, 29(2), 172-185. doi:10.1097/AJP.0b013e31824909f9
Madsen, C., Patel, A., Vaughan, M., & Koehlmoos, T. (2018). Use of Acupuncture in the United States Military Healthcare System. Medical Acupuncture, 30(1), 33-38. doi:10.1089/acu.2017.1260
Ming-Shun, W., Kee-Hsin, C., Chen, I. F., Shihping Kevin, H., Pei-Chuan, T., Mei-Ling, Y., Chiehfeng, C. (2015). The Efficacy of Acupuncture in Post-Operative Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE, 11(3), e0150367. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150367
Tsai, S.-L., Fox, L. M., Murakami, M., & Tsung, J. W. (2016). Auricular Acupuncture in Emergency Department Treatment of Acute Pain. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 68(5), 583-585. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2016.05.006
Wang, Y.-Y., Li, X.-X., Liu, J.-P., Luo, H., Ma, L.-X., & Alraek, T. (2014). Traditional Chinese medicine for chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Complementary therapies in medicine, 22(4), 826-833.