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Acupuncture and Physiotherapy

Posted by: Terry On February 17, 2015 at 9:07 am
Many people think one kind of medical treatment should not be mixed with another kind of medical treatment and so they often regard traditional Chinese medicine with scepticism in preference to Western medicine. However, the concepts of Chinese and Western medicines are quite similar, except that the medical terms they use are very different.

Acupuncture is a safe, simple and effective treatment for many of the conditions a health professional will meet in everyday practice. It is particularly good for all musculoskeletal and painful disorders. These are the areas supported by most of the scientific researches into acupuncture. A wide range of dysfunctional problems also respond well.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, vital energy or qi flows through a system of 14 channels and regulates body functions. These channels are called meridians. The energy is in the forms of yin and yang, which mean negative and positive. Each meridian is identified with an organ or function, such as stomach meridian and heart meridian. These paths of energy can be mapped on the surface of the body and specific points (ie. Acupoints) can be identified. Piercing of these points can affect the flow of energy. There is a deep circulation of energy uniting the inner organs and a superficial system, which flows below the surface of the skin. Therefore, the more superficial energy can be influenced from acu points on the surface of the skin. The deeper energy is not directly accessible, but can be influenced indirectly by acupoints having the appropriate links. The balance of qi in the various vital organs is important to health. When there is excess or deficiency, there is malfunction, which gives rise to various illnesses. Total 361 acupuncture points are located within these 14 channels. And there are various types of acupuncture moralities, such as, ear acupuncture, scalp acupuncture, Physiotherapy Brisbane, Physiotherapist Brisbane, Physiotherapists Brisbane, Massage Brisbane, Back pain, Physiotherapy Brisbane, electro-acupuncture, eye acupuncture, acupressure, moxa, cupping, spooning and etc.

Some examples

Needle head moxa:

Moxibustion is the burning of the dried leaves on specific meridian points or inflamed areas of the body to assist in promoting healing. Moxa can be applied directly to the skin or indirectly where there is a space between the moxa and the skin


Moxibustion is the burning of the dried leaves on specific meridian points or inflamed areas of the body to assist in promoting healing. Moxa can be applied directly to the skin or indirectly where there is a space between the moxa and the skin


Acupuncture can treat various kinds of disorders, whether it’s musculoskeletal, neurological, respiratory, or just simply pain. The World Health Organization has listed over 100 different physical conditions treatable by acupuncture. Various results of acupuncture treatments can allow patients to perform better in physiotherapy rehabilitation programs. For example, a patient receiving gait retraining has a lack of clarity in the cornea. Simply by applying a couple needles in the specific points of gall bladder and liver meridians can increase patients’ visual clarity spontaneously. Then the patient will be able to perform better in gait practices with visual feedback.

The emphasis of scientific investigation has shown that acupuncture has an effect on the pain systems of the body, but there has been little work in the literature of the West, referring to the effects of acupuncture on other disorders. Pain is probably the most common condition that is faced in clinical practice. There is little doubt that acupuncture can relieve pain by simulating physiological reactions to an invasive stimulus. Pain relief is initiated by acupuncture stimulus of the small diameter nerves in muscles, which send impulses to the spinal cord. The spinal cord and the brain are then activated to release chemical agents. This mediates opiate type pain relief within the body. Short term relief of pain using acupuncture can enable painful joints to be mobilized and/or exercised and be incorporated in a full rehabilitation program. Little explanation has yet emerged regarding the mode of action in non-painful medical conditions.

Some studies have been done on the efficacy of using physiotherapy and acupuncture, in the rehabilitation of some common disorders. In cases of cervical spine degeneration (arthritis in neck), treatments which also include acupuncture, bring about earlier symptomatic improvement with increased neck movements. The effect of only receiving physiotherapy takes longer, so, the patient needs more treatment sessions to achieve a similar stage of improvement.

Some research studies had been done on whether sensory stimulation can improve the functional outcome in stroke patients or not. They all concluded that patients given sensory stimulation such as in the form of acupuncture on top of standard physiotherapy and occupational therapy, recovered faster and to a larger extent than the standard group, with significant difference for balance, mobility, activity of daily living, quality of life and days spent at hospitals or nursing homes.

Acupuncture is great for treating sprains and damage to muscle tissue, tendons, ligaments and joint capsules, particularly if it is undertaken soon after the incident. Needling has multiple benefits. First, needling increases the circulation of the blood. By increased circulation through a traumatized area, dead cells are cleansed away and healing is accelerated. Studies show that the flow of blood to injured limbs is greatly impaired when the blood supply is blocked by blood vessel paralysis, spasm or contraction. Almost immediately, acupuncture brings a much needed supply of both white blood cells to cleanse and fight possible infection and red blood cells to generate new tissue growth.

Secondly, needling decreases muscle tension and the tightness of connective tissue. Spasms and contraction can be relieved without the use of drugs. A kind of natural splinting takes place following an injury (a stiffening of surrounding tissue). This splinting is beneficial at an early stage but often impedes healing if it persists. Acupuncture helps to relax this reflex. Dry needling can be used for just this purpose.

The concept of acupuncture treatment, therefore, is simply giving the correct stimulus for the body’s ability to return to its balanced state of health. Using acupuncture as a part of the physiotherapy treatment can achieve instant results in minimizing patient’s deficits, thus allowing the patient to participate and to perform better in rehabilitation programs. Acupuncture may also enhance the outcome of physiotherapy treatment, in regards to minimize medical cost and rehabilitation time. Therefore, the combined treatment of physiotherapy and acupuncture can be considered as a new beneficial technique in producing significant treatment outcomes. My own clinical experience also supports this positive response. However, for the full understanding in the mechanism of acupuncture to be explained in Western terms, further studies are required.

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