Western Medical Acupuncture (WMA) is a therapeutic technique involving the insertion of fine needles into specific points of the body. It is an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, and the principles of evidence based medicine.
Western Medical Acupuncture (WMA) acts principally by stimulating the nervous by way of the skin and muscle, and can produce a variety of effects. It is mainly used to treat musculoskeletal pain, including myofascial trigger point pain. It is also effective for postoperative pain and nausea. Acupuncture has been proven to increase the body’s release of natural painkillers – endorphin and serotonin – in the pain pathways of both the spinal cord and the brain. This modifies the way pain signals are received helping to reduce the pain.
Acupuncture does much more than reduce pain, and has a beneficial effect on health. Acupuncture can relieve symptoms of some physical and psychological conditions and may encourage the patient’s body to heal and repair itself, if it is able to do so. Patients often notice an improved sense of wellbeing after treatment.
Modern research shows that acupuncture can affect most of the body’s systems – the nervous system, muscle tone, hormone outputs, circulation, antibody production and allergic responses, as well as the respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems.
Practitioners will assess each patient’s case and treatment will be tailored to the individual. Typically, the needles are inserted through the skin and left in position briefly, sometimes with manual or electrical stimulation. The number of needles varies but may be only two or three. Treatment may initially be once a week, then at longer intervals as the condition responds. Typical courses of treatment can be 5 to 8 sessions.