Acupuncture by Highland Physiotherapy

Julie Porteous currently works and lives in the Highland village of Aviemore from were she runs Highland Physiotherapy. Flexible clinic appointments are available, with home visits being available upon request.

Julie has spent a significant amount of time working in private practices abroad and in this time she encountered acute injuries from many different sports. During these roles there was a pressure to return patients to the outdoors as quickly as possible. Quick decision making skills and accurate rehabilitation programmes were required. Julie has also completed significnt post graduate training including Acupuncture, Kinesiology taping and is working towards a masters in Orthopaedic Medicine.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the many skills employed within physiotherapy as part of an integrated approach to the management of pain and inflammation. Physiotherapists base their treatments on scientific research and clinical evidence that Acupuncture can reduce pain by stimulating the brain and spinal cord to produce natural pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins, melatonin (which promotes sleep) and serotonin (to promote well-being), to name but a few. These chemicals assist the body's healing processes and offer pain relief as a precursor to other treatments such as manual therapy or exercise in order to aid recovery.

Acupuncture forms part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This ancient system of medicine dates back as far as 1000 years BC and is based on a holistic concept of treatment which regards ill health as a manifestation of imbalance in the body’s energy. Re-establishing a correct balance is the aim of TCM. Energy is referred to as Qi, (pronounced chee) and is described in terms of Yin energy – quiet and calm and Yang energy –vigorous and exciting. They are complementary opposites and in health exist in a dynamic but balanced state in the body. Practitioners of TCM believe that stimulating certain Acupuncture points on the body can help to restore the balance between Yin and Yang that becomes disturbed in illness.

Conventional acupuncture involves the use of single-use, pre-sterilised disposable needles of varying widths, lengths and materials that pierce the skin at the acupuncture points. The physiotherapist will determine the locations of these points on the basis of an assessment of the cause of the imbalance. A number of needles may be used during each treatment, and these are typically left in position for between 20 and 30 minutes before being removed.

Trigger point acupuncture may also be used to facilitate relaxation in specific muscles following traumas, for longer-term unresolved muscle pain, or as a means of increasing muscle length in order to aid stretch and rehabilitation. In the latter case, the needle is inserted into the affected muscle until the tissue is felt to relax under the needle, which is then removed. Trigger point needling often produces an effect much more quickly, and therefore, does not require the 20–30-minute treatment time

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is safe when practised by a member of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) because of the strict hygiene guidelines that must be adhered to, and the training courses and educational updates that are required in order to stay on the membership register.

The needles are disposable, pre-sterilised and individually packaged. These are often supplied in guide-tubes for easy insertion, which means that there is no risk of anything touching the needle during the process.

Physiotherapists undertake a responsibility to themselves and their patients, which is that they must be sure from the outset of their treatment that the principles of safe, hygienic insertion of needles and subsequent disposal are adhered to at all times. Used needles are disposed of in special containers that are destroyed by incineration.

Full (accredited) membership of AACP is granted only on evidence that a physiotherapist has completed at least 80 hours of training on courses approved by the Association.

All members have to give evidence of 10 hours continuing professional development (CPD) every 2 years in order to maintain their membership status. The supervision of the education register enables AACP, together with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and the Health Professions Council (HPC), to maintain the necessary high standards of practice.

All AACP members are covered by comprehensive professional liability insurance.

Why Use an Acupuncture Association Chartered Physiotherapist (AACP) Member?

Chartered physiotherapists work in close conjunction with general practitioners, consultants and other healthcare professionals. Those who practise acupuncture must attain a 3- or 4-year degree in Western medicine before embarking on acupuncture training at a postgraduate level. AACP members are Statutory Regulated Health Professionals as they are members of the Health Professionals Council.

Chartered physiotherapists are bound by a strict professional and ethical code of practice. The Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) requires its members to undergo a minimum of 80 hours of acupuncture training. Members of AACP are required to keep up with a stated minimum number of hours of continuing professional development each year in order to remain on the register.All AACP members have approved training in acupuncture for pain relief. Members of AACP are in a unique position to combine acupuncture with other treatment methods, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Manipulation
  • Muscle Re-education
  • Joint Mobilisation
  • Relaxation
  • Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Electrotherapy
  • Sports Rehabilitation
  • Ergonomic Assessments

How can acupuncture help me?

The use of acupuncture needling for the treatment of pain is supported by an ever-growing body of scientific evidence.Scientific research has examined the effectiveness of acupuncture for various conditions. In recent years large studies have begun to emerge which have helped to support the benefits of acupuncture treatment. For example it is accepted that acupuncture can help tension-type headaches and pain of osteoarthritis, for example osteoarthritis of the knee, especially when it is used in conjunction with other treatments such as physiotherapy.

Acupuncture combined with physiotherapy is widely accepted within both the National Health Service (NHS) and private practice. This is evident in the recommendation by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) that acupuncture should be available as a cost-effective short-term treatment for persistent non-specific low back pain (source: NICE 2009).

AACP members are required to keep abreast of scientific evidence and do so by fulfilling their obligation to complete their Continuing-professional Development obligations.

Acupuncture by Highland Physiotherapy

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Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm

Saturday - 10am - 4pm

Sunday - closed


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