Most people will have heard of acupuncture at some time or another, acupuncture is the practice of inserting needles into specific points on the body in order to restore balance, or to make us feel better. Acupuncture is historically thought to have originated in China many thousand years ago and came about through the combination of a belief system and how energy flowed through the universe and through us.
These energy lines are called Meridians. When we are ill the energy running through the meridians is said to be disrupted and acupuncture aims to restore the essential energy for our body to get well again.
The previous explanation is the Chinese explanation for effects derived from acupuncture treatments. There is a Western interpretation of this which is the pain gating mechanism. Pain is perceived by us in the brain by signals travelling along nerves from the affected part. The effect of the needle is to stimulated other nerves which in effect block the pain signal to the brain and thus reduce the pain we experience.
Many NHS trusts now routinely use acupuncture treatments throughout many departments including physiotherapy and podiatry and more and more evidence of the effectiveness of this treatment are being regularly published. Acupuncture is a very safe treatment, BiPED only use single use, disposable sterile needles. Acupuncture is often painless although certain sensations are often experienced from the insertion of the needles. These sensations are often described as fullness, heaviness, tingling or warmth. These sensations are traditionally called DeQi and are seen as not only normal but even desired in order for good restoration of energy throughout the body.
Podiatric acupuncture differs from other acupuncture techniques in that treatment is given for various conditions, pains and aches anywhere in the lower limbs, be they acute or chronic in nature. Acupuncture may be offered along side other podiatric treatments for example biomechanical and verrucae treatments. At BiPED our scope of practice does not permit us to directly diagnose or treat syndromes and conditions not related to the lower limb such as depression, addiction, insomnia etc. though sometimes as a results of treating lower limb conditions other benefits may and often are noticed.
In the majority of cases acupuncture treatments last for 25 minutes in duration and are £30. A course of about 6 to 10 treatments on a weekly basis is usually necessary initially. If this is helpful the frequency will be reduced and may need only top up treatments on an infrequent basis.
Contraindications to Podiatric Acupuncture (People in these categories should generally not receive treatment.)
•If you have had a stroke within 48 hours
•Anyone who has acute bleeding
•If you have an unstable cardiac condition
There are some other conditions which may make it difficult or inappropriate for you to receive acupuncture which would be noted and discussed during your initial assessment. You will also be asked to complete a consent form for acupuncture treatment. If you are driving following acupuncture you may be advised to wait for ten minutes following treatment as acupuncture sometimes causes people to feel sleepy.