Needle Therapy

Needle Therapy or Western-style Acupuncture is based on the Eastern technique of fine needle insertion but the underlying approach differs.  While traditional Chinese medicine is based on the idea that acupuncture restores the flow of Qi (life energy) to the body, Western needle therapies takes more of the approach that needle insertion stimulates nerves, connective tissues and muscles to increase blood flow, release endorphins and promote an analgesic effect.   It is used to treat pain of the musculoskeletal system and myofascial trigger point pain as well.

A key researcher into the effectiveness of acupuncture is Dr. Bruce Pomeranz, a neurophysiologist, who has been studying acupuncture at the University of Toronto for the past 20 years.   He explains that “ acupuncture stimulates peripheral nerves that send messages to the brain to release endorphins (morphine-like compounds); these endorphins block pain pathways in the brain.”1

One type of western needle therapy is called Motor Point Acupuncture which involves inserting a needle into a motor point (specific area of muscle where minimal stimulation is needed to cause a muscle twitch) to reset its function and strength.  Another western acupuncture technique is Dry needling or Intramuscular Stimulation.  The needles are inserted into the muscle causing a ‘twitch’ to release the muscle pain and tension.  There is no drug or any substance inserted , thus the term “dry”.  Generally speaking there is no pain.  If the muscle is tight and shortened or is being stimulated to increase some strength, the client may experience some temporary discomfort.

Physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, nurses and naturopathic doctors are permitted to use acupuncture as part of their scope of practice and usually require specific training. Many physiotherapy, sports injury therapy and massage therapy clinics utilize western needle therapy techniques in their treatment approach.  These techniques are used to deal with pain reduction and muscle relaxation.  The number of treatments varies between clients depending on the type & severity of their condition, their healing time, and the condition of their nerves.

1http://www.medicalacupuncture.org/acu_info/interviews/pomeranzart.html

 

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Specific Techniques

Practitioners

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