Acupuncture in Physiotherapy

Recently I had the opportunity to go on a Continual Professional Development course for Acupuncture in Physiotherapy. It was the first of a two weekend course run by the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists as a foundation into the principles of both Western and Eastern acupuncture, and how they can be integrated into general practice.

It may seem odd that I went on this course, despite offering dry needling as a therapy for the past couple of years. Although I went on a dry needling course three years ago, and I was quite happy with my technique and results, when I trained, I was not a qualified Physiotherapist. In fact, I had not even started on the path to being a physio at that time. Now, having gone through my degree and 1000+ clinical hours of training, the time was right to book onto this physiotherapy specific course.

Over the course of the weekend Western approaches and theories took priority, as did a fair amount of discussion about the evidence for and against acupuncture as a treatment, accurate placebos and comparisons with other modalities of physiotherapy and medical approaches. To be honest there was not a huge push from the tutor about why acupuncture is the best thing ever and how it will cure-all problems faced in physio, but there was rather an “investigate it, and decide for yourself” tone, which was refreshing for a CPD course.

Throughout the weekend we learnt and refreshed safe practices, what to avoid, and what to concentrate on. It was interesting to talk with the other physiotherapists on the course, the vast majority of them NHS based, about how they were intending on integrating it into their practice.

For the moment, I am pursuing acupuncture as an active part of my treatments, though if anyone feels uncomfortable then it obviously does not get used. The course has reinvigorated my enthusiasm for using it as an extra adjunct to helping with musculoskeletal and pain related problems. Obviously it should not be used all the time, but the continual usage of it clinically should give me some indication if it helps my patients alongside other physiotherapeutic measures.


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