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jennifer

acupuncture

does acupuncture work or is it really just a cranky alternative treatment.
what does it work best for and how does it work i.e. if it does in fact work at all.
Kaz - can you give advice on this one?
Lunaness

Hi Jennifer

I've had acupuncture on and off for the last 20 years. I injured my back in a car accident when I was 15 (passenger obviously) and was warned by an orthopedic surgeon that I'd have problems later on in life. By later I didn't think he meant 18! I woke up one morning doubled over in agony (literally walking practically at right angles) and had to call the doctor out. He told me that apart from painkillers & anti-inflamatories, he couldn't do anything for me but recommended a sports injuries & physical medicine practitioner locally. As a last resort I went along and after examination was informed I had a torn muscles and compacted discs in my lower back which was causing the sciatic nerve to become trapped sending referred pain down my leg). I was quite sceptical because I'd never received treatment like acupuncture before or known anyone who had but thought it had to be worth a try. After the 2nd treatment I was walking almost upright again, after 4 sessions I was pretty much sorted ~ I was absolutely amazed and more than a little relieved I can tell you!

I've used the same guy since then ~ whenever I suffer a really bad bout with my back which I know won't pass on it's own, I have 2 or 3 sessions with him and I'm right as rain again.

Before I knew my partner, he'd received treatment with acupuncture for depression and then later to help heal his broken arm (shattered elbow & humerus broken in 6 places) ~ I've just asked him how effective he thought the acupuncture was and he's convinced that it helped with both the depression and the broken arm. He visited a different kind of practitioner who worked in a more holistic way but from what I understand the way the acupuncture itself works is basically the same.

Acupuncture is one of those mysterious therapies which people seem to have a limited knowledge of workings wise and some actually believe doesn't work. From what I understand (and my knowledge is based on how it was explained to me by the guy who treated my back), the needles are used to stimulate the body's natural healing resources at the site of treatment and the body does the rest.

All I can say is that in my experience acupuncture works very effectively.

Were you thinking of having it yourself Jennifer?

All the best,

Vanessa.
kaz

It's good to know that it worked for yourself and your partner L.

There is an increasing body of medical research that proves the efficacy of acupuncture for certain medical conditions. Some of these include the reduction in post-operative nausea and vomiting, reduction of the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee and the increased likelihood of successful IVF treatment combined with acupuncture.

With the medical field becoming more and more evidence-based (practitioners are only encouraged to use techniques which have research/medical evidence to back them up) research into the effectiveness of all modalities is essential to ascertain which treatments will be funded.

From a personal perspective I have used acupuncture for nearly 20 years and as with the other modalities that I use, I expect it to be effective for approximately 70-80% of the patients that it is used on to a varying degree. That is, some patients will have no effect, some will have a slight effect grading up to the other extreme where the patient will have an amazingly fast response. I am qualified as a Traditional acupuncturist so I will assess, diagnose and treat according to Eastern principles for condition such as infertility, depression and migraine or I will use the acupuncture in a Western way to compliment the treatment of musculo-skeletal problems such as back pain or all the other joints/structures that physiotherapists treat.

I am pleased to be a physiotherapist that uses acupuncture rather than a sole-qualified acupuncturist as I can combine this treatment with all the other physiotherapy modalities such as advice, exercises, mobilisation, electrical treatment (and nagging) to effect resolution of the problem and help to prevent reccurence.
jennifer

i am toying with the idea of acupuncture but am feeling a little sceptical.
we have a lot of chinese herbal shops springing up where i live and they all offer acupuncture for holistic well being etc.  Thanks for that information - very useful.
kaz

The Chinese/herbal shops are appearing in every High Street. Most are offering a free holistic assessment. I have had reports from a couple of people that after the assessment they were offered a trial acupuncture treatment where very basic tonification points were used after which the client was presented with a 35 bill for treatment.

The basic tonification points willact like a tonic on the body but a holistic assessment should point out specific energy imbalances that are causing the symptoms that prompted you to visit the acupuncturist in the first place. Once the diagnosis of the energy imbalance has been made there will be specific points on the body that should be used to redress the balance.

If you are going to go for any sort of treatment, if possible go to see someone who has been personally recommended to you by a friend, relative or colleague.
Lunaness

kaz wrote:
I am pleased to be a physiotherapist that uses acupuncture rather than a sole-qualified acupuncturist as I can combine this treatment with all the other physiotherapy modalities such as advice, exercises, mobilisation, electrical treatment (and nagging) to effect resolution of the problem and help to prevent reccurence.


It's a shame that people on a low income/tight budget don't have access to this level of care & treatment on the NHS.

On the 2 occasions I've been referred for physio by my doctor, I've had to wait for around 12 weeks for an appointment by which time I've found it necessary to pay for treatment myself in order to carry on working & looking after my kids. I did go along for an x-ray (on the advice of the private practitioner I see) & was told that I have compacted discs, some nerve damage and arthritis in my spine and offered no more than some simple bending "touch your toes" type excercises (I wish! When my back's bad I can't even put on my socks without help).

It's incredibly frustrating that I can't get acupuntcture treatment on the NHS, I really can't afford to pay for private treatment but I dont have any option if I want to be able to function. I just hope that at some point in the future that will change.
kaz

Lunaness wrote:
kaz wrote:
I am pleased to be a physiotherapist that uses acupuncture rather than a sole-qualified acupuncturist as I can combine this treatment with all the other physiotherapy modalities such as advice, exercises, mobilisation, electrical treatment (and nagging) to effect resolution of the problem and help to prevent reccurence.


It's a shame that people on a low income/tight budget don't have access to this level of care & treatment on the NHS.



Most if not all NHS physiotherapy out-patient departments will have physiotherapists than are qualified to do acupuncture as part of the treatment.
Physiotherapy treatment concentrates on pain relief, restoration of function and movement with education and advice to prevent recurrence or to allow the client to be able to cope with the problem.
sandra

My OH was successfully treated for achilles heel problems. It was a lot better after the treatment. :-)
green man

If you do go for acupuncture, then just make sure that disposable needles are used before you make yourself an appointment, if they are sterilised that's no good they need to be disposable.
Justme

Kaz whats the deal with the migrain treatment?
Is it preventative IE one course of needles will stop them or for treating you during / after a bout?

I tend not to have one for ages then will have a few over a week or two. Or I will have a one off triggered one. One thing that will trigger one is lots of bright flahing lights & loud noises (a fair ground is  very likely to trigger one if I am there to long). To much choc will push me towards one too.


Justme
kaz

Justme wrote:
Kaz whats the deal with the migrain treatment?
Is it preventative IE one course of needles will stop them or for treating you during / after a bout?


I use traditional acupuncture to balance the energy that is out of synch. A course of treatment (between 3 - 6 usually) can 'cure' the migraine until the Western lifestyle pushes the energy out of balance again rolleyes.gif  Booster treatments may be necessary but the migraines can stay away for up to 5 years if not forever.
A different type of acupuncture can be used during a bout to reduce or alleviate the symptoms but to be honest people are usually too ill to come for treatment during a migraine attack.
freckle

Re: acupuncture

jennifer wrote:
does acupuncture work or is it really just a cranky alternative treatment.
what does it work best for and how does it work i.e. if it does in fact work at all.


OH does acupuncture in animals.  Usually sees things that conventional medicine can't improve so a poor starting base but has had some great success, mostly with arthritis and incontinence.  Obviously with animals there is no placebo effect so it must be working!!
kaz

I agree Freckle - it can't be the placebo effect with animals.

Like your husband I see a lot of (human) cases that western medicine hasn't helped but get a very good result with acupuncture

If you think of something like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), it is a diagnosis that is given because all the tests for other things have proved negative  :-? . In Chinese terms the symptoms of IBS are just one of the symptoms of an underlying energy imbalance that can be corrected.

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