Medical acupuncture is a modern adaptation of the traditional Chinese practice. It replaces the ancient beliefs of 'yin', 'yang' and the energy 'qi' with a combined knowledge of physiology, pathology, anatomy and the common principals of evidence-based medicine.
During an acupuncture session, fine needles are inserted into the skin at key points to stimulate the nerves. This produces a variety of effects, including the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) and serotonin (which improves wellbeing), ultimately encouraging healing and pain relief.
The treatment itself is performed with sterile, single-use, disposable needles. Because they are very fine, the sensation is nothing like having an injection or blood test. Some people feel a slight sharpness, whereas other people feel nothing at all.
Medical acupuncture is used by mainstream healthcare practitioners and is generally regarded as part of the conventional medicine. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends the use of acupuncture for lower back pain.