ACUPUNCTURE: WHAT IS IT?
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.
HOW DOES ACUPUNCTURE WORK?
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up in others.
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.
The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.
WHAT IS MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE? IS IT DIFFERENT FROM ORDINARY ACUPUNCTURE?
Acupuncture is a very old medical art, and there are many approaches to learning and practicing it. Medical acupuncture is the term used to describe acupuncture performed by a doctor trained and licensed in Western medicine who has also had thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty practice. Such a doctor can use one or the other approach, or a combination of both as the need arises, to treat an illness.
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several months may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS TO THE TREATMENT?
Usually not. As energy is redirected in the body, internal chemicals and hormones are stimulated and healing begins to take place. Occasionally the original symptoms worsen for a few days, or other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work. It is quite common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment. These pass within a short time, and never require anything more than a bit of rest to overcome.
1. To stimulate acupuncture points.
Laser is used to stimulate acupuncture points using the same rules of point selection as needle acupuncture. Laser acupuncture may be used solely or in combination with needles for any given condition over a course of treatment.
2. To treat trigger points.
In some musculo-skeletal conditions higher doses of laser may be used for the deactivation of trigger points. Trigger points may be found in muscles, ligaments, tendons and periosteum. Direct irradiation over tendons, joint margins, bursae etc may be effective in the treatment of conditions in which trigger points may play a part. Children and the elderly may require smaller doses. Areas of thick skin or muscle may require higher doses for penetration than finer skin areas e.g. ear.
3. To promote healing.
In vitro experimental evidence has demonstrated acceleration of collagen synthesis in fibroblast cultures due to acceleration of mRNA transcription rate of the collagen gene. Superoxide dismutase activity is increased (this decreases prostaglandins). This is postulated as one mechanism of pain and oedema reduction. Other effects are: inhibition of procollagen production in human skin keloid fibroblast cultures and stimulation of phagocytosis by macrophages, increased fibroblast proliferation, as well a wide variety of cellular responses.
In vivo effects demonstrated in animals include increased formation of granulation tissue and increased rates of epithelialisation in laser irradiated wounds, stimulation of suppressor T-cells, increased collateral nerve sprouting and regeneration of damaged nerves in rats and tendon and ligament repair in race horses.
Bio-stimulatory effects of laser are governed by the Arndt-Schultz Law of Biology i.e. weak stimuli excite physiological activity, strong stimuli retard it. The implication of this for wound healing is that, as treatment of a wound is continuing and there appears to be a slowing down of healing, a reduction of the laser dosage may be needed. By virtue of the Arndt-Schultz Law and the changed responsiveness of the tissues, what was originally a stimulating laser dose may have become an inhibitory dose of laser. The optimal energy density for biostimulation, based on current clinical experience, is 4J/cm2. Dose must be adjusted according to individual response.
Some acupuncture humor! Enjoy!