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Medical Acupuncture

Medical Acupuncture

Physiotherapists use techniques derived from Traditional Chinese Acupuncture to help treat many different health conditions. Acupuncture is an ancient treatment technique used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). “Medical acupuncture” is a group of acupuncture treatments that use principles from western medicine to explain the effects of the treatment. Learn more about medical acupuncture below and find a clinic on Physio Roots!

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not, and is not intended to be, medical or professional health advice. You should not use this information to diagnose, treat or make any health related decisions. Whether and how any of the information on this website applies to your circumstances requires the assistance of a medical professional. Contact a doctor or appropriate healthcare professional to address your medical concerns and diagnose or treat any medical problems. Do not rely on this information to make decisions about your health or medical issues. Read our Terms and Conditions of Use for more information on the limitation of our liability.

What is Medical Acupuncture?

It can get understandably confusing with all the different types of needling treatments available.. 

Medical Acupuncture or "Western medical acupuncture" is traditional Chinese acupuncture with the scientific method applied to it to explain its effects.  Specific treatments and protocols that were derived from traditional Chinese acupuncture may be applied, but the theory driving the treatments may be different than what comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Your physiotherapist may treat with a combination of traditional Chinese acupuncture and western medical acupuncture.  The only way to know is to ask them!  Physiotherapists who learn acupuncture, in general, are taught specific treatments that have evidence-based medicine applied to them (to varying degrees).  In contrast, a traditional Chinese acupuncturist may use all of the acupuncture treatments, whether they've been medicalized or not.  

Acupuncture can have many positive effects on all bodily systems and may be used to treat a wide-range of conditions.  Physiotherapists tend to use acupuncture to influence the neuromusculoskeletal system, but the intent of treatment may be different depending on the issue.  Therapists may use acupuncture needles on their own, or with electrical stimulation.  It may also be recommended to use acupuncture in conjunction with other treatments (ie. exercise) to have better results.

Many people report benefits from acupuncture but as with any treatment, outcomes depend on many different variables.  Your physiotherapist should understand all the risks and benefits of acupuncture; these should be discussed prior to receiving treatment.

This article is not intended to be a literature review. References to scientific evidence may be provided to substantiate some information; however, this may not always be the case. For more information regarding scientific evidence pertaining to a specific treatment or service, speak with your physiotherapist or contact your provincial physiotherapy college.
Last updated Jul 7, 2022
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