What Is Acupuncture And How Does It Work?
What is acupuncture?
History - Historical records indicate that Acupuncture has been practiced for over 5000 years. It is based on the premise that in addition to the arterial, venous, lymphatic & nervous systems there is a fifth transport system called Meridians. Those Meridians transport an invisible energy throughout the body. Qi - The Chinese refer to that energy as Qi (pronounced Chee). Traditional western medical science refers to it as innate or life force. Qi is an energy force that flows through meridians similar to the way blood flows through arteries and veins. Like the nutrients in blood & the energy that flows through nerves, the body cannot live in normal health without proper flow of Qi. Blockage of Qi can cause illness just as blockage of the flow of blood and/or nerve impulses causes illness. Meridians - There are twelve meridians that run vertically on each side of the body. They take their origin from two main vessels that run through the mid line of the body. Visualize the two main trunks (meridians) as the trunks of a tree & the other paired (twelve) meridians as the branches of the two main trunks. Acupuncture Points - Acupuncture points are specific points (circuit breakers) that are distributed along the course of each meridian near the skin. Energy (Qi) flows up & down the meridians. When an organ or body system related to one or more of the meridians has a disturbance it will send impulses through the energy (Qi) within the meridian. These disturbances are commonly manifested by the acupuncture point (circuit breaker) becoming blocked, dysfunctional and/or tender. Acupuncture is designed to assist the body in restoring the flow of Qi & thus health through the insertion of acupuncture needles into one or more of the acupuncture points where the Qi is being blocked. When a professionally trained acupuncturist inserts needles most people experience no more discomfort than that of a pinprick. The sensation of the inserted needle is a slight numbness, tingling, or heaviness.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
1. Motor Gate Control Theory - The nervous system plays a major role in interpreting & signaling pain. This theory holds true for people suffering with paralysis. Acupuncture is felt to assist the body to allow the nerves to function normally as stimulants to normal muscle activity. 2. Circulatory Theory - speculates that acupuncture can produce either dilation or contraction within blood vessels. When that occurs the body produces Vasodilators (such as Histamine), which become involved in dilating arteries, bringing about improved circulation to the dysfunctional area. 3. Neurotransmitter Theory - the body was created to manufacture chemicals known as neurotransmitters involved in health & nerve conduction. Some recognized neurotransmitters are Seratonin & Noradrenaline. It is postulated that when acupuncture needles are inserted into certain acupuncture points, neurotransmitters are produced by the body to assist in healing & pain control. 4. Endorphin Theory - endorphins are chemicals produced by the body to manage pain. It is felt that acupuncture causes the release of endorphins to aid the body in managing pain. 5. Augmentation of Immunity - it is known that acupuncture may cause the body to increase levels of triglycerides, globulins, opsonins & other antibodies, which are vital in fighting infections & other auto-immune diseases.
Acupuncture: Definitions and Methods of Treatment, Qualified Practitioners, Yin/Yang
Definitions and Methods of Treatment:
1. Acupuncture Needles - very fine solid wire needles are inserted under the skin into acupuncture points. In our clinic we use only disposable needles. The size & type of needle depends on the type of health condition being treated & where the needle is being inserted. 2. Laser - emits laser-beamed energy through the skin into the acupuncture point. 3. Acupressure - using a Tei Shin needle that has a spring loaded blunt end to stimulate acupuncture points. This needle does not pierce the skin but still treats the acupuncture point(s). Some people refer to this form of care as reflexology or Zone Therapy. 4. Electro-Acupuncture - uses electrodes that are connected to the acupuncture needles, which in turn emit electrical current through the acupuncture points. This form is commonly used for pain control & involves a very minimal amount of electricity (micro amperes). Higher amounts of electricity would be used in surgery for pain control. 5. Moxibustion - involves the use of a specific botanical (herbal remedy) administered to the acupuncture points. Sometimes the burning herb is attached to a needle, which transmits the heat to the acupuncture point. Other times the burning herb is placed on top of a thin slice of ginger or a pile of salt which is laid upon the specified acupuncture point. The burning herb can also be placed directly upon the acupuncture point. 6. Cupping - attempts to stimulate the acupuncture points through creating a vacuum or suction on top of the acupuncture point(s), creating an environment for increased blood circulation at a particular site. 7. Auriculotherapy (Ear Acupuncture) - uses needles in one or more locations of the outer ear, & is particularly useful in treatment of pain or addiction. 8. Sonopuncture - uses sound waves to stimulate acupuncture points. After insertion, the needles may be manipulated in one or more of the following ways: raising, thrusting; twirling or rotating; combination of raising & thrusting; plucking; scraping (sending vibrations through the needle) & trembling (another vibration procedure).
Who Can Perform Acupuncture & Acupressure?
Statutes regarding acupuncture vary by state. Licensure as a Doctor of Chiropractic in the state of Minnesota allows Chiropractors to perform acupressure but not automatically acupuncture. Special certification & training is required to perform acupuncture and is used by Chiropractors to enhance chiropractic care. Many alternative health care givers may not have the proper training & certification/licensure to perform acupressure/acupuncture.
What Is Yin/Yang?
Yin/Yang are terms used by Chinese health practitioners to denote positive (Yang) energy (Qi) or negative (Yin) energy (Qi). They are opposite forces, which are designed to be balanced & work in harmony in the body.
From the Chinese perspective Yin is identified as female in nature, passive, dark, cool & moist, it flows medially (toward the center) & is absent of Yang. Yang is identified as male, aggressive, bright, hot & dry, it flows laterally (outside or away from the center of the body) & is absent of Yin.
Acupuncture: The Importance of Proper Diagnosis Is Acupuncture of God or the occult?
The Importance of Proper Diagnosis
Yin & Yang influence the health of cells, organs & the various systems of the body (Musculoskeletal, Nervous, Digestive, Hormonal, Circulatory, Mental etc). The object of the licensed chiropractic acupuncturist is in part to determine the location of blocked acupuncture points in the various meridians in the body. This is achieved in a scientific manner by taking a past & present medical history as well as physical examination. It is vital that the practitioner fully understand the overall health status of the patient before any treatment begins. If one fails to measure internal functions of the body, one cannot expect to properly manage their health. The Basic Units of Life Cells are the basic units of life. They are influenced by DNA & RNA as well as by amount & quality of oxygen, water, minerals (electrolytes), vitamins, herbs, hormones, antibodies, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, & enzymes a body ingests, absorbs, utilizes and/or manufactures. As important as the uninterrupted flow of Qi is, one still should see to it that the other systems of energy flow (blood, nervous) in the body are in balance & receive the proper nutrition needed for health. It is a mistake to look at acupuncture as a cure-all or without assessment of the other systems of health.
Is Acupuncture Of the Occult?
From the perspective of some fundamentalist Christians, anything not utilized from the belief or source of a Triune God - Father, Son & Holy Spirit - could be considered of the occult. The Chinese did not invent acupuncture any more than Louis Pasteur invented Penicillin. As Christian chiropractic physicians we believe that God uses people to discover what He has already created for the benefit of all humankind regardless of ones religious belief. Like electricity or anything else in nature the outcome of its use is in the minds, hands & spirit of the care giver & patient & in their particular belief system. In our opinion God created all things as blessings to creation, including acupuncture. Even though we are Believers, we do not feel that only those who find Him through His Son can gain benefits from acupuncture or any other tool for health. God’s love is unconditional & our approach to care is based, first, foremost & only on that unconditional love.
Acupuncture – What Can It Do For Me?
The conditions noted on the following page represent some conditions which may result from imbalances in the Qi and which may benefit from treatment with acupuncture. If you have questions about a specific condition not listed, please feel free to contact our offices. Also keep in mind that in Minnesota, acupuncture certification for Chiropractors allows for use in enhancing the chiropractic adjustment.
Alcoholism Anxiety Addictions (food & chemical) Allergies Appetite control problems Arthritis Autism Back pain/sprain/strain Behavioral problems Bells Palsy Blood Disorders Bursitis Cancer (pain control) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome/wrist problems Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Colitis Conjunctivitis/Eye diseases Depression Diabetes Disc problems Dizziness Eating Disorders/Anorexia/Bulimia Fibrocystic Breast Disease Fibromyalgia Headaches
High blood pressure Infertility Irritable Bowel Syndrome Leg/hip/knee problems Lupus Meniere’s Disease Mental illness Menstrual irregularities Myopia (near sightedness) Neck problems Neuritis Neuralgia Nervousness Obesity Rotator Cuff Syndrome Sciatica Shoulder/Arm/Wrist problems Sinusitis Skin disorders/Acne/Psoriasis Toothaches Throat problems Torticollis TMJ/Jaw problems Whiplash Varicose veins
As potentially effective as acupuncture may be, one should not discontinue taking any prescribed drugs, botanicals, vitamins or minerals. Persons concerned about medications or the possible use of acupuncture should consult their physician. One is short-changing themselves if they pursue acupuncture as the sole means to regaining and/or maintaining health. Acupuncture is one aspect of health & most commonly where there are interruptions in the flow of Qi, there is a very high probability that there will also be other health related problems including imbalances in internal body chemistry related to hormones, herbs, minerals, vitamins, food allergies, gastrointestinal, dysbiosis, etc.