Acupuncture is a therapeutic method used to encourage natural healing, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of affected areas of the body. Acupuncture is safe and effective and is often successfully used as an alternative to medication or even surgery. Relief is often obtained when traditional medical therapy has failed.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles through the skin and tissues at specific points on the body. There is no injection of any substance and the treatment itself causes minimal discomfort. The insertion and skillful manipulation of the needles elevates endorphin levels leading to increased circulation; initiating an immune response that helps target the cause of discomfort and pain.hat is Contemporary Acupuncture?
Contemporary Acupuncture is the biomedical adaptation of Chinese acupuncture methods, and is an effective and simple treatment approach based on current concepts of neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and pathophysiology. As in traditional acupuncture, Contemporary Acupuncture involves insertion of solid needles at relevant points on the body in combination with manual needle stimulation or electrical stimulation. Contemporary Acupuncture does not involve tongue or pulse diagnosis. Rather, a diagnosis is attained through thorough history taking and physical examination. Based on this process, anatomical points that are relevant to the condition are selected for needling.
In contrast, a traditional Chinese acupuncturist makes a diagnosis in terms of complex theories regarding disturbance in the body's balance that needs to be corrected with needles. These imbalances will often be characterized by excess or deficiency with respect to what are considered the five elements, water, fire, earth, metal and wood. Traditional Chinese acupuncturists subscribe to the theory that certain points in the body are characterized by each of the five elements.
How does Contemporary Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture produces many of its effects by stimulating nerve receptors in skin and muscle. Various substances are released that cause an increase of local blood flow that encourages tissue healing.
- Acupuncture helps to reduce pain locally where the needles are inserted and throughout the body.
- Acupuncture has a calming effect and produces well-being.
- Acupuncture inactivates myofascial trigger points.
- Acupuncture has effects on the brain.
- The effects of acupuncture accumulate when repeated.
The contemporary scientific explanation of acupuncture is that needling certain points in the body stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the brain, spinal cord and muscles. These chemicals will 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 by promoting physical and emotional well-being.
What is Electro-Acupuncture?
Acupuncture needles are electrically stimulated by various frequencies and voltages by attachment to a battery-powered machine using wires with small clips on the ends. Low frequency stimulation (2-4 Hz) results in a slow onset of pain relief that outlasts the treatment for hours to days and is often cumulative by repeating treatments. High frequency stimulation (80-200 Hz) results in a pain-blocking effect that is fast in onset but does not usually outlast the stimulation. The benefits of electro-acupuncture can include, but are not limited to:
- pain relief
- decreased swelling
- muscle relaxation
- breaking down scar tissue
- pain modulation and endorphin release
- changes in autonomic nervous system activity (vasomotor tone, cardiac rhythm, peristalsis etc.)
- diverse neuroendocrine and immune responses
- general relaxation
- a feeling of psychophysical well being
- improved sleep
- nausea relief during chemotherapy