What is Medical Acupuncture?
Medical acupuncture is a therapeutic modality involving the insertion of fine needles; it is an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, and the principles of evidence based medicine.
The modern scientific explanation is that needling in the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release endorphins and other chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals either change the experience of pain or trigger the release of other substances and hormones, which influence the body’s natural healing abilities.
What is it used for?
Acupuncture practitioners use acupuncture to treat a wide range of health conditions. It is often used to treat pain conditions such as headache, lower back pain and osteoarthritis.
Acupuncture is occasionally available on the NHS, although access is limited. Most acupuncture patients pay for private treatment.
Does it work?
Currently, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) only recommends considering acupuncture as a treatment option for chronic lower back pain, chronic tension-type headaches and migraines. NICE makes these recommendations on the basis of scientific evidence.
There is also some evidence that acupuncture works for a small number of other problems, including neck pain and post-chemotherapy nausea and vomiting.