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The Ultimate Guide to Acupuncture Treatment, Risks & Benefits

Acupuncture Therapy

How can inserting needles into the skin make someone feel good? It sounds scary and painful, doesn’t it? You might be surprised, but the answer to this is “no.” It’s certainly far from the most painful procedure that you can imagine. It has been studied and practiced for over 2500 years, which is indicative of its worth.

Many people around the world swear by acupuncture, calling it a miracle treatment that improves their standard of living. It has been reported to treat everything from anxiety and pain to nausea and cramps. According to research, millions of Australians use acupuncture for treating a multitude of health problems.

 

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of several techniques used in physiotherapy, both in order to help with recovery and to improve the rehabilitation of the body. Essentially, it is used in conjunction with physiotherapy treatment for managing the effects of pain and inflammation by stimulating the healing chemicals of the body. This treatment involves the use of thin needles in the skin at specific target points. The needles used in this procedure are solid and are made of stainless steel. They are single use needles, discarded after each treatment session.

 

How Does Acupuncture Work?

In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is used as a method to balance the energy flow or life force – recognized as “chi” or “qi” that is thought to flow in your body through 12 main routes (or meridians). “Chi” or “qi” can also be thought of as blood flow in and around the body. By inserting needles in specific points along these meridians, practitioners of acupuncture believe that your flow of energy (or blood flow) will re-balance and improve. These 12 meridians or energy streams have almost 350 acupuncture points in the body that can be accessed through the needles. This procedure is based on the presumption that the lack of flow of energy can cause health issues, which is why acupuncture techniques are used to solve these issues.

Western medicine has proven that this needling technique produces happy endorphins in the body – also known as natural pain killers, and can increase blood flow. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. These affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature. “Chi” or “qi” can therefore be thought of as blood flow because acupuncture has been shown to influence our circulatory and nervous systems. Following on from this, acupuncture therefore can have a calming effect, reduce pain and assist other health issues.

 

What Conditions Can Be Treated with Acupuncture?

As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the following health conditions can be treated with acupuncture:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chemotherapy-induced sickness
  • Digestion problems, including irritable bowel syndrome
  • Gynecologic disorders
  • Sinusitis
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Muscle Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Sprains
  • Sciatica
  • Dental pain
  • Wrinkles

What Are the Risks of Acupuncture?

Just like any other therapy, acupuncture may have some negative side effects but a well-trained practitioner will do their utmost to avoid these. The most prevalent risk of acupuncture therapy is pain and bleeding that is caused by the insertion of needles.

Skin rashes, allergic reactions, bruising, discomfort, swelling, or infection may also be other adverse effects.

Therefore, a certified and well-trained practitioner must always be considered for performing acupuncture therapy as they use sterile, disposable needles to prevent the risks of serious health problems.

Acupuncture treatment is not suitable for every health condition. If you have any bleeding disorder or you take blood thinners, the treatment may increase the risks of bruising and severe bleeding.

What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture Treatment?

Acupuncture has been shown to be an efficient therapy for the stress of our hectic contemporary life and a range of other problems. Let’s have a look at the benefits of acupuncture treatment:

Reduces Body Pain and Fixes Bad Posture

Laptops, mobile phones, heavy weights at the gym, and awkward heavy lifting in our modern lifestyle can lead to bad posture and pain. Acupuncture helps to alleviate pain without medication and also decreases swelling and inflammation in the body. This can assist your physiotherapist with then correcting your bad posture and lifting techniques.

Helps in Reducing Headaches

For centuries, acupuncture has been used for treating migraines and chronic headaches. Research has demonstrated that acupuncture can reduce migraine pains and may have permanent benefits for migraine/headache sufferers.

Reduces Stress and Improves Mental Health

Acupuncture controls the pressure of stress hormones and mood swings in your brain to decrease anxiety and increase general emotions of happiness. According to a study, acupuncture may assist people with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and mental conditions such as depression, especially when treated shortly after diagnosis.

Helps in Treating Insomnia

Regular acupuncture is an effective chronic insomnia therapy. Acupuncture can assist in soothing your mind and body to help you sleep at night. Many patients experience a better night’s sleep, usually right after the initial acupuncture session.

Improves Skin Health

Enthusiasts say facial acupuncture therapy can reduce wrinkles, tighten sagging facial muscles, and increase the collagen level of your skin. Basically, this therapy improves the overall appearance of the skin.

Gives Relief from Digestive Conditions

The connection between digestive health and wellness, in general, is widely accepted. Acupuncture can assist the digestive system’s efficiency which is useful in supporting IBS or gastrointestinal pain sufferers.

Helps in Gynecological Disorders

Acupuncture can benefit the most common endocrine disorder among reproductive-aged women – polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It works by increasing ovarian blood fluctuations, reducing the volume of ovarian cysts, and controlling insulin levels of the body.

A study has shown that acupuncture treatment can increase the effectiveness of many popular medicines that are taken to boost fertility by naturally maintaining the hormone level of the ovaries. This increases the chance of a successful pregnancy by as much as 33%.

 

Conclusion

Acupuncture can be worth a try if you have trouble managing pain or other health problems with conventional methods. But don’t forget to discuss it with your doctor first to check if it is right for you.

 

Looking for an Acupuncture Specialist?

It is important to get the acupuncture treatment from an accredited professional who has met the standards for acupuncture education and training. Marika Scicluna, from Body Mind Wellness Physiocare, is an accredited acupuncture physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Body Mind Wellness Physiocare is the best place to achieve your ultimate well-being as we offer the highest level of professional care that helps people stay fit, healthy, and happy.

To schedule an appointment, call now at (08) 8353 6233.

 

The PHI (Private Health Insurance) Reforms on Pilates - How this affects our clients. 1

The PHI (Private Health Insurance) Reforms on Pilates – How this affects our clients.

In 2018, the Federal Government announced its plans to make certain natural therapies ineligible for private health insurance (PHI) rebates. Among these was Pilates. The Government’s original position was that Pilates would not be rebatable, regardless of who delivers it or how it is delivered.

However the Department considers that an insurer may lawfully pay benefits if a physiotherapist, providing services to a patient within the accepted scope of clinical practice, uses exercises or techniques drawn from Pilates as part of that patient’s treatment, as long as the exercises or techniques are within the accepted scope of clinical practice.

As long as the group exercise class is performed within the scope of physiotherapy, it does not need to change. It should be underpinned by individualised assessment, treatment and follow-up, and backed by thorough notes. The Department and private health insurers agree that physiotherapy is physiotherapy, and therefore fundable through private health insurance.

These changes are to take place as of 1st April, 2019.

For more information from the Department of Health in regards to these reforms, please click here.

For more information from the Australian Physiotherapy Associate regarding these reforms, please click here.

How does this affect clients of Body Mind Wellness Physiocare?

Our classes will now be referred to as Group Physio Rehab Sessions, with the subtitle being, Core Strengthening and Stretching Class (CSSC).  Each client is prescribed an individualised program which will be covered in the Physio Group Rehab Session. Each client will have their own modifications and elements to focus on.

At Body Mind Wellness Physiocare have always conducted Initial Assessments to formulate individualised client treatment plans and backed this up with our clinical notes.

However to assist us to comply with the new legislation, we are asking that if you have not had an assessment in the last 8 weeks, that you schedule an individual assessment with Marika prior to April 1st, 2019.  This will ensure we have an updated physical assessment with patient specific goals.  We have also asked all of you to complete a Patient-Specific Functional Questionnaire which will tie in your goals and help us to assess and document your improvements as a result of your participation in our Group Physio Rehab Sessions/Classes.

Historically, my classes have always been conducted based on a combination of my physiotherapy knowledge and expertise, my Pilates training and my understanding and awareness of each client’s individual conditions and goals.  Small groups, individual modifications and individual guidance have always been key features of my classes.  These aspects and features will continue under the Physio Group Rehab Sessions or CSS Classes.

A review assessment will be required every 3 months, if not before, depending on the client’s needs, to reassess client outcomes and formulate/address any new goals.

Our Physio Group Rehab Sessions or CSS Classes continue to be claimable under the code 560 with the new PHI Reform, and after April 1st, 2019.  If you are not prepared to participate in completing the above requirements you CAN still attend the classes, however, you will NOT be able to claim under your Private Health Insurance.

Our Group Physio Rehab Sessions/Classes will continue to be held at the following times….
Mondays 6:30pm and
Wednesdays 6:00pm

The Pricing structure of our Group Physio Rehab Sessions/Classes is as follows…..
$30 per class OR
$24.50 with purchase of a Ten Session Block ($245).

In a nutshell…
  • Our classes will now be referred to as Group Physio Rehab Sessions, with the subtitle being, Core Strengthening and Stretching Class (CSSC)
  • Each client is prescribed an Individualised program which will be covered in the Physio Group Rehab Session.  Each client will have their own modifications and elements of focus.
  • If you have not had an Individual assessment in the last 8 weeks, you need to schedule an appointment with Marika prior to April 1st, 2019
  • Complete a Patient-Specific Functional Questionnaire which will tie in your goals and help us to assess and document your improvements
  • A review assessment will be required every 3 months, if not before, depending on the client’s needs, to reassess client outcomes and formulate/address any new goals.
  • Our Physio Group Rehab Sessions or CSS Classes continue to be claimable under the code 560 under the new PHI Reform, after April 1st, 2019.
  • Same Class Format
  • Same Class Days & Times – Mondays 6:30pm and Wednesdays 6:00pm
  • Same Pricing Structure – $30 per class OR $24.50 with purchase of a Ten Session Block ($245).

I look forward to continue working with you on your health goals in 2019.
Should you require any further clarification, please do not hesitate to email me directly at marika@bmwphysio.com.au.

Kindest regards,

Marika Scicluna
Physiotherapist/Director Body Mind Wellness Physiocare

Awesome Archie Arch Support Thongs! 2

Awesome Archie Arch Support Thongs!

Archie Thongs - Now available in our Adelaide StoreArchie Thongs - Black - Now available in our Adelaide Store

As the warmer weather approaches, we at Body Mind Wellness Physiocare thought it would be a great time to let you know about a fantastic new summer product we have come across that you may benefit from!

The new product is called, “Archie’s Arch Support Thongs” and they are an orthotic thong that were designed by a young private practice Physiotherapist who was sick and tired of telling his patients to stop wearing flat thongs (Does this sound familiar?). While the concept of orthotic thongs is not new, this design varies greatly from anything we have ever seen before as they incorporate legitimate orthotic support but still just look like normal thongs!

At the start of every summer there seems to be some form of article in the newspaper or a T.V interview about the negative effects of flat thong wearing, in fact it has been well reported in recent times that there are many elite sports teams which have actually banned their athletes from wearing flat thongs!
While we are all reasonably aware that flat thongs are not great for your feet, what’s actually wrong with normal thongs?

Pronation occurs when the foot rolls inwards. When the foot rolls in so too does the lower limb/leg, causing a disruption to the body’s natural alignment. Increased pronation alters the way that stress and strain are absorbed through the body, which can potentially lead to injury. Issues arising from increased pronation are more common in people with flat feet, however it can occur in all foot types.

Flat thongs can also be problematic for people with high arches. People with high arches have a tendency to take increased stress on the outside of the foot and leg which over time may lead to injury. The addition of arch support in this foot type can help more evenly distribute the load and pressure across the foot which may potentially reduce the likelihood of an injury from occurring.

One of the other biggest problems with typical thongs is that they often come with a very loose strap. Normally when you walk your toes are supposed to bend upwards which activates the arch of the foot which then provides protection and support to the vital structures of the feet. However, most typical thongs have a very loose strap which means that you end up clawing / scrunching your toes down just to try and keep the thongs on your feet. When the toes claw / scrunch down rather than bending up, the arch does not activate and as a result your foot is subject to increased stress and strain which may lead to damage of some of the vital structures of the feet such as the plantar fascia and joint cartilage of the bones of the feet. Archies Thongs have been designed with a much tighter strap than normal thongs which reduces toe clawing and enhances proper foot function which allows you to walk more naturally.

Most thongs are also very flat in the heel section with little to no elevation which can put a lot of stress and strain on the calf and achilles. The lower your heel is to the ground, the more your Achilles will be on constant stretch, this can predispose to problems such as Achilles tendinopathy. When the heel is elevated the Achilles is unloaded, thereby providing your achilles tendon with some relief from constant stress.

Other more obvious problems with typical thongs is that they are commonly have straps that are made out of hard plastic which can cause irritation and can potentially lead to blisters. These straps also often break at the toe pole by having the plug pull through the base of the thong, splitting the thong in the process.

Archies Arch Support thongs have done a brilliant job on solving these issues and they have already been adopted by many professional athletes, sporting teams as well being stock in the clinics of some of Australia’s leading Health Professionals. Apart from solving these key design issues already mentioned, Archies Thongs are well and truly the most comfortable thong we have ever worn and once you get used to them you will not want to take them off!

In fact, even if you don’t normally wear thongs, Archies Thongs are great to be worn as an in and around the house slipper, especially if you wear orthotics or other supportive footwear. This is because often we go from wearing our supportive footwear or orthotics through the day and then come home and walk around in bare feet on hard floorboards and tiles. The super comfortable soft foam and the arch support found in Archies Thongs is great to help to take some off the stress and strain when walking around on hard tiles and floorboards. In particular, the thongs are great for any of our patients suffering from plantar fasciitis to support and protect the arch while it is healing. In this case, we suggest to put your Archies on before you even take your first step in the morning, having the arch may help to- reduce pain and facilitate a more optimal healing environment.

Archie Thongs - Black - Now available in our Adelaide Store Archies Thongs - Rose Color - Buy from our Adelaide Store Archie Thongs - Lime - Now available in our Adelaide Store
Anyway, I think that just about covers it. We all know that people are going to wear thongs in Summer, it’s the Australian way! However we think that Archies Thongs will certainly be a more suitable alternative for you than wearing flat thongs. At a retail price $35.00 Archies Thongs represent excellent value for money and are a good investment in your health for the upcoming summer!

To encourage all our Adelaide customers to invest in a pair we are offering them at $30 for February, March and April 2019! 
Thanks and keep healthy,
Kindest regards,
Marika Scicluna
Physiotherapist / Director BMW Physiocare (Henley Beach Clinic)