Rest assured, acupuncture is a very safe procedure. The needles are disposable, so they are only used once. Technology has also seen improvements to the type of needle used – they are now thinner than the old style needles, improving comfort.

Acupuncture works by stimulating nerve endings in the tissue, which initiates a local defence reaction to stop the spread of infection where the needle is inserted. Messages are then transported along neural pathways to the brain. The brain interprets the stimulus and responds in specific ways. One of these responses is the release of endorphins, which are naturally occurring chemicals found in the brain. Endorphins are known to bind to pain receptors, reducing or blocking the pain sensation. The word endorphin means “the morphine within” relating to the body’s own ability to control pain. Endorphins not only help with pain relief but they also effect mood. You may have heard of the term “runner’s high” where prolonged, strenuous exercise results in the release of endorphins. The runner is not only able to exercise through the pain of their aching muscles but experience an exhilarating feeling, leaving them with a desire to exercise more.



People are often surprised that acupuncture can be used to treat such a wide range of conditions. It is commonly known to treat back or knee pain, but what is not so well known is that it is highly effective in treating conditions as diverse as migraines, nerve pain, stress and anxiety, sinus problems and even infertility.

Getting to the Point

Another effect of acupuncture point stimulation is increased blood supply that provides valuable nutrients and oxygen to the area being treated. Without these nutrients and oxygen the body cannot heal and function normally. The blood is also efficient in removing waste materials from the site, further promoting the healing process.

stimulated. Your registered acupuncturist has spent years learning the intricacies of the map of the body’s acupuncture point system.  This knowledge is used to apply the needles to the acupuncture points specific to the condition being treated.

The practice of acupuncture is a key part of Traditional Chinese Medicine dating back over 5,000 years. How is it that the insertion of thin needles into a person’s skin can bring about these positive results? I like to imagine the analogy of accessing the body’s control panel, i.e. the nervous system, to direct the brain to initiate specific responses to the acupuncture point 

Acupuncture instructs the brain to contract and relax the muscle tissue. So, when there are spasms in the muscles commonly found in back and neck injuries, the application of acupuncture can relax the muscles, relieving pain and dysfunction.

Electro-acupuncture is a technique used to heighten the effects of needle stimulation, this is especially beneficial for musculoskeletal treatments. It involves applying an electrical current to the acupuncture needles, causing muscle tissue to contract and relax in a rhythmical manner. This will decrease the amount of waste in the tissue by removing it through the lymphatic system. Once you remove waste from the tissue, blood can flow more easily, bringing those valuable nutrients into the tissue cells.

For those of you who are worried by the thought of needling, laser acupuncture is an alternative. The stimulation to the point is not as strong as needling but good results can still be achieved. It is an especially useful method for treating children.

The processes explained above show that acupuncture can be used to treat almost any physical condition. Acupuncture alone is a great treatment for a wide range of conditions however, there are many ailments that are more effectively treated with acupuncture in conjunction with massage, herbs, or a combination of all three. Your practitioner will prescribe the most appropriate treatment plan for you.

Ray Ridley

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