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Western Medical Acupuncture

What Is Acupuncture?


A system of complementary medicine that involves pricking the skin or tissues with needles, used to alleviate pain and to treat various physical, mental, and emotional conditions. Originating in ancient China, acupuncture is now widely practiced in the West.


"Traditional" Chinese acupuncture uses a system of ancient ideas but many Modern Western practitioners find that acupuncture can be understood in scientific terms. The kind Gavin Attewell practices is Modern or Western Medical Acupuncture, as recognised by the British Medical Acupuncture Society (Certificate in Medical Acupuncture 2006), but also uses some "traditional" methods used by the Chinese. In many cases we make use of "trigger points". Needling the trigger point can relieve pain in distant areas. Acupuncture has important effects on the way in which the nervous system, glandular system and probably immune system work.


Western medical acupuncture: a definition

Western 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.While Western medical acupuncture has evolved from Chinese acupuncture, its practitioners no longer adhere to concepts such as Yin/Yang and circulation of qi, and regard acupuncture as part of conventional medicine rather than a complete “alternative medical system”. It acts mainly by stimulating the nervous system, and its known modes of action include local antidromic axon reflexes, segmental and extrasegmental neuromodulation, and other central nervous system effects. Western medical acupuncture is mainly used to treat musculoskeletal pain, including myofascial trigger point pain. It is also effective for postoperative pain and nausea. Practitioners of Western medical acupuncture tend to pay less attention than classical acupuncturists to choosing one point over another, though they generally choose classical points as the best places to stimulate the nervous system.

What to Expect from Acupuncture

Acupuncture points are located in all areas of the body. Sometimes the appropriate points are far removed from the area of your pain.


Needle insertion. Acupuncture needles are very thin, so insertion usually causes very little discomfort. Between five and 20 needles are used in a typical treatment. You may feel a deep, aching sensation when a needle reaches the correct depth.


Needle manipulation. The needles may gently moved or twirled after insertion. Another option is to apply heat or mild electric pulses to the needles. Used needles are safely disposed of and destroyed and NEVER re-used.


Needle removal. In most cases, the needles will remain in place for 15 to 30 minutes while you lie still and relax. There is usually no sensation of discomfort when the needles are removed.


After acupuncture. Some people feel relaxed (sometimes to the point of wanting to sleep) while others feel energized after an acupuncture treatment. But not everyone responds to acupuncture in the same way. If your symptoms don't begin to improve within a few weeks, as rarely happens, acupuncture may not be the right treatment for you and we may have to consider a different approach.


NB. Only new, sterile, disposible needles are used. They are safely disposed of after each treatment and are NEVER re-used.


There is no additional charge for acupuncture.

Not Sure?

For those of you who are "not keen", phobic of needles, or simply didn't expect Gavin to suggest acupuncture, please don't worry! He will understand and will never insist on using it. Generally Gavin uses acupuncture as an effective adjunct to Osteopathy, but not as a replacement for it. Rest assured, there will, without a doubt, be other effective ways for Gavin to treat your condition, even without using needles!

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