Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine single use needles into specific points in the body. Rational for the choice of points is built from a combination of classical meridian and constitutional theory with modern functional anatomy and sports medicine assessment. All treatments in the classical model need to be individualized not just by dysfunctional or injured tissues but also by constitutional imbalance. Correct assessment and treatment of individual constitutional type enhances the repair of injured tissue and facilitates a return to balance in the body’s homeostatic mechanisms.
Traditional Understanding of Acupuncture
Acupuncture and Classical Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture has been an integral part of the Chinese Medical Tradition for over 2500 years. The earliest medical text that mention’s its use is the “Huang Di Nei Jing” or the “Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor” written in the Han Dynasty and is still one of the core texts studied to this day . Chinese Medicine believes that when we experience pain, poor health or mental/emotional imbalance it is due to disharmony amongst the channel networks and the organs of the body. Special interest is paid to how an individual’s symptoms relate to emotional patterns, diet and to the bodies’ ability to harmonize with the ongoing changes in our environment such as seasonal influences, lunar cycles (especially for women), temperature changes and weather patterns. Familiar statements such as “it must be about to rain my joints ache ” or “the children are always wild when it’s windy” or the observation by nurses in emergency wards of increased extreme behaviour around full moons mirror these classical observations and are seen to give a window into the underlying tendencies or imbalances of the individual. Once free movement and balance is re-established optimal health and vitality returns.
Acupuncture is usually combined with Classical Herbal formulas, lifestyle advice, stretching and/or breathing exercises for internal or chronic conditions. Massage and Chiropractic Manipulation may also be recommended to assist with treatment of injuries or movement restriction.
Acupuncture is used by the Australian Institute of Sport as well as many professional teams to assist in the management of their athletes. Treatment is aimed at restoring optimal muscle tone and assisting in local circulation to involved structures.
Suggested mechanisms of action include;
Acupuncture that is performed locally in or around injured tissue or localized to the spinal level that is associated with the injured tissue works via the following mechanisms.
Via the release of neuropeptides such as substance P and CGRP from primary afferent nerve endings that modulate local immune responses and produce vasodilation. This release improves local blood flow and increase the rate of healing.
There are also effects in the spinal cord which stimulate the inhibition of descending pain pathways in the dorsal horn of the spine, influencing sympathetic outflow and influencing motor output.
And with the addition of the traditional distal points in the hands or feet acupuncture may also activate nuclei in the brain inhibiting descending pain signals and regulating autonomic and endocrine responses.
In laymans terms acupuncture increases circulation through injured tissue and mediates the chemicals that are involved in the inflammatory process, it also has inhibitory effects on the pain mechanisms of the body.
[Bradnam, L. (2003), A Proposed Clinical Reasoning Model for Western Acupuncture. NZ Journal of Physiotherapy
Conditions Acupuncturists treat
Lower back ache, knee pain, bursitis, tendonitis, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, muscle tension, arthritis, sciatic, joint pain, sporting injuries.
Heartburn, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal bloating or pain, haemorrhoids, ulcers.
Common cold, asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, chronic cough, low immune system.
Menstrual cramps, irregularity, abnormal bleeding, menopausal symptoms.
High or low blood pressure, fluid retention, chest pain poor circulation, muscle cramps, stress, insomnia, withdrawal from medication or drugs, headaches, migraines, facial and inter-costal neuralgia, some paralysis conditions, post stroke recovery, fatigue, chronic pain, post-op recovery.
Note: If your condition is not listed above, consult the practitioner for further information
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine is part of an integrated system of primary health care that has developed and matured to become a natural and holistic system used effectively to treat a wide range of chronic and acute health problems.
Chinese herbal medicine is based upon the same diagnostic and theoretical understanding of disease or illness as Acupuncture: that each disease or illness presents with a core set of recognisable signs and symptoms, but the actual presentation of a particular disease or illness will vary from person to person. Therefore, individuals with similar health conditions may be provided with quite different Chinese herbal medicine prescriptions.
The Chinese herbal formulas generally consist of roots, barks, fruit and foods and have been approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association.
Your first visit for any new problem will be a comprehensive appointment during which a diagnostic pattern is determined from both the physician's observations and the patient's experience.
Areas of questioning may include:
- sensations of heat and cold
- urinary and bowel patterns
- specific details pertaining to your individual complaint.
After the Appointment
The Acupuncturists at Institute of Sports and Spines are here to assist in complete recovery. We believe that your care continues after you have left your appointment – you are a valued patient and will continue to be nurtured back to full health. This is why follow up appointments are sometimes recommended – so that the job isn't left half-done!
As a patient of Institute of Sports and Spines' Acupuncture Department, you are invited to phone and speak directly with your practitioner concerning exacerbations of pain, difficulty with exercises and any other treatment-related questions you may have. If the Acupuncturist is unable to attend your call, all efforts will be made to contact you as soon as possible.
- Initial Consultation $92
- Standard visit $70
- Combined massage and acupuncture (1hr) $98
If you are seeing the acupuncturist for a new condition, please inform reception so they can ensure you receive the additional time needed.