Acupuncture is a type of treatment that focuses on improving health and wellbeing by bringing balance to the body through the use of very fine needles. Acupuncture has a rich history dating back thousands of years; today, it’s practiced by doctors and specialists in major hospitals throughout the world.

Despite its widespread use, there is still some confusion surrounding acupuncture. We sat down with Dynamic Physio acupuncturist James Suh to learn more about the ancient practice and its place in modern medicine.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a form of treatment that looks to bring balance to the body by stimulating acupuncture points that lie within channels called meridians. Pain is presented due to blockages or stagnation within these meridians. These issues are commonly caused by external factors such as physical trauma, certain climate extremes such as cold, heat or wind, and internal factors such as stress.

What is your approach to acupuncture treatments?

As a traditional acupuncturist I am always looking to develop my skills and knowledge, which has led to the addition of more modern techniques such as dry needling and the inclusion of motor points. Motor points are specific areas that have the highest excitability (the largest nerve supply) of the muscle, which can be manipulated to relieve tension and pain.

As a clinician, I am a firm believer in looking for and treating the root cause of the condition. Taking a holistic approach to treatment is the best way to achieve long-term relief.

What are some common conditions that you see regularly?

I treat people of all ages and backgrounds, ranging from fit athletes who need regular tune-ups, to stressed workaholics and aged adults looking for a boost of energy.

The conditions I most commonly see are musculoskeletal injuries of the neck, shoulder, lower back, knee and ankle. I have also had good results with treating non-musculoskeletal conditions such as stress, low energy, and poor sleep and digestion.

What are some of the common myths of acupuncture?

  • Painful: A lot of people have the idea that the needles used in acupuncture feel like the injections we get from doctors. Acupuncture needles are actually very fine (finer than human hair, in fact!) and 90% of the time a patient won’t even notice the needles going in.
  • Doesn’t work: Acupuncture has been used throughout history for thousands of years and is widely integrated in major hospitals in Asia and the US. There are many studies on the effects of acupuncture, including its ability to elicit the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals like endorphins and anti-inflammatory responses.
  • Doctors don’t recommend acupuncture: There are many doctors and specialists all over the world within various fields of medicine who prescribe and support acupuncture. I personally have come across many doctors and specialists who have a strong belief in acupuncture’s therapeutic value. Every clinician has their own belief system around different treatment modalities, just as they have different approaches to their own treatments as well. I believe it all depends on their personal experiences. Regardless of our beliefs, we mustn’t forget that we all have the same goal of helping our patients!

Lastly, what made you decide to get into acupuncture and what has your experience been like so far?

I was drawn to acupuncture out of a desire to help people, and I love what it has brought me so far. It has led me to countless new and exciting experiences and opportunities, and introduced me to amazing people from all walks of life. It may sound cliché – I think everyone in the health field has probably thought this at some point – but the biggest reward is knowing that you’ve had a direct, positive impact on the lives of your patients. A big goal of mine is to continue to learn and improve my clinical skills and serve in medical missions all over the world.

Book your acupuncture appointment with James

If you’re dealing with a niggly sports injury, ongoing pain or are generally feeling run down, there’s a good chance that acupuncture could provide some relief. To book an appointment with James, give us a call today on 09 476 2166 or fill out our online appointment request form.