Acupuncture is a form of ancient medicine that has gained respect and notoriety in the medical field today. It is based upon the view of anatomy and current state of health and lifestyle. Sources link its origin to early Indian and Asian civilizations over 3,500 years ago and are still alive today. Much the same as massage, acupuncture combines healing of both body and mind, consistent with the belief that the two are inseparable; one is always affecting the other. The relaxation, stress relief, and overall feeling of peacefulness, aid just as much in the healing process as do the physical acupuncture procedures. During acupuncture, very thin needles are inserted into specific locations of the body with a slight or non-painful sensation. These points are on paths along which “Qi,” or energy that fuels our body and mind, flow. Over 500 of these points exist, and the acupuncturist will focus on points that relate to the body part of your specific issues or ailments.
The first acupuncture appointment would require the patient to answer questions about both physical ailments and mental state, close examination of your tongue and pulse, and an evaluation of the area of the body in concern. Your acupuncturist will then decide how long the needles will be inserted and what pathways they will need to use the needles to clear. Sometimes needles will be turned, heated or even electrically stimulated to clear any internal problems. Like massage therapy, acupuncture sessions are often accompanied using herbal rubs and oils that soothe tension in muscles, increase blood and lymph flow, and provide a variety of other physical benefits. An acupuncture session may last from 30 minutes to an hour and appointments persist for however long the acupuncturist and patient feel it is beneficial. Sometimes this will mean a short set of acupuncture visits, and other times, this could be a weekly or monthly occurrence.
There are also other techniques which an acupuncturist may sometimes use:
-Cupping – uses suction cup like tools to create a sucking sensation on acupuncture points rather than inserting needles into them.
-Gwa Sha – is a method by which the skin is scraped, releasing blood from blood vessels into surrounding tissues rather than using needles.
-Moxabustion – requires intense heat to be applied to the acupuncture points, with or without needles inserted.
WHAT DOES ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?
Acupuncture, like massage therapy, is an accepted method to treat a variety of ailments, addressing ALL forms of pain. It is perfect for those seeking natural, noninvasive or medicinal treatments.
Timur can aid in treating a wide range of orthopedic issues, as acupuncture works really well in conjunction with physical therapy, massage therapy, or ongoing treatment of orthopedic or pain physicians. Some of the issues treated with acupuncture are:
-Arthritis – Helps with swelling and stiffness of joints, decreasing pain and increasing mobility.
-Back Pain – Helps muscle spasms, disc swelling, vertebrae alignment, and increases flexibility and mobility of the back as a whole.
-Fractures – Increases healing by improving blood and lymph flow, treats swelling and pain.
-Frozen Shoulder – Increases mobility and treats pain.
-Sports Injuries – treats pain, swelling and reduces recuperation time for muscles and joints.
Acupuncture is used to aid and treat a large number of non-orthopedic problems as well including:
Weight management, addiction, asthma, Bells Palsy, PMS, fibromyalgia, headaches, gout, herpes, high blood pressure, stress, pregnancy, AIDS, insomnia, emotional disorders, shingles, and much more….
Modern Research & Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been employed as a health care modality for over 3,000 years. Modern science has begun to understand the secrets of this ancient medicine with the support of new studies conducted by leading scientists, hospitals, and medical research facilities from all over the world. Today, acupuncture is receiving wide acceptance as a respected, valid and effective form of health care.
According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 51% of medical doctors understand the efficacy and value of acupuncture, and medical doctors refer patients to acupuncturists more than any other alternative care provider.
In Canada, a 2008 study conducted by the Institute for Work & Health concluded that low back pain, the most common musculoskeletal problem, can be relieved by acupuncture massage, called Tui Na, more effectively than any other treatment.
A German study published in Archives of Internal Medicine in 2007 covered the largest and most rigorous trial ever undertaken to investigate the analgesic effects of acupuncture versus traditional medical approaches to relieve lower back pain. This study involved 1,802 patients and 13,475 treatments and concluded that acupuncture “constituted a strong treatment alternative to multimodal conventional therapy, giving physicians a promising and effective treatment option for chronic lower back pain.”
In addition to its effectiveness in pain control, acupuncture has a proven track record of treating a variety of endocrine, circulatory and systemic conditions.
The British Medical Journal in 2008 reported that acupuncture can increase the success rate of in-vitro fertilization and increase the number of viable pregnancies. The additional benefits were listed as reduction in nausea and muscle pain associated with both IVF and pregnancy in general without the use of drugs that might harm the growing fetus.5
In Sweden, a 2008 study involving 215 cancer patients proved that acupuncture can eliminate the need for additional drugs and reduce nausea suffered during radiation treatments.
A 2007 study from the University of Heidelberg in Germany concluded that acupuncture treatments can not only relieve the pain associated with bronchial asthma but also help to control outbreaks of allergic asthma as well. It became clearly evident that “acupuncture performed in accordance with the principles of traditional Chinese medicine showed significant immune-modulating effects.”
“There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine.”
– National Institute of Health, 1997 Consensus on Acupuncture
Current Theories On The Mechanism Of Acupuncture:
1.Neurotransmitter Theory: Acupuncture affects higher brain areas, stimulating the secretion of beta-endorphins and enkephalins in the brain and spinal cord. The release of neurotransmitters influences the immune system and the antinociceptive system.
2.Autonomic Nervous System Theory: Acupuncture stimulates the release of norepinephrine, acetylcholine and several types of opioids, affecting changes in their turnover rate, normalizing the autonomic nervous system, and reducing pain.
3.Vascular-interstitial Theory: Acupuncture effects the electrical system of the body by creating or enhancing closed-circuit transport in tissues. This facilitates healing by allowing the transfer of material and electrical energy between normal and injured tissues.
4.Blood Chemistry Theory: Acupuncture affects the blood concentrations of triglycerides, cholesterol, and phospholipids, suggesting that acupuncture can both raise and diminish peripheral blood components, thereby regulating the body toward homeostasis.
5.Gate Control Theory: Acupuncture activates non-nociceptive receptors that inhibit the transmission of nociceptive signals in the dorsal horn, “gating out” painful stimuli.
This ancient health care system is proving itself as an effective modality for a wide variety of problems. So much so that the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) awarded 8 grants that directly relate to acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medical research, totaling more than $9.5 million dollars.
1.“A review of the incorporation of complementary and alternative medicine by mainstream physicians”, Astin, JA., et. al., Arch Intern Med., 1998; (158).
2.The Institute for Work & Health, “Massage for Lower Back Pain”, Spine, 2009, July 15: 34 (16).
3.“German Acupuncture Trials (GERAC) for Chronic Lower Back Pain”, Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007; 167(17).
4.Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, “Acupuncture Just as Effective Without Needle Puncture”, Science Daily, December 1, 2008, study conducted by the at Linkoping University and the Vardal Institute in Sweden.