HOW ACUPUNCTURE WORKS
Acupuncture has an invisable life force that travels down your body in 14 pathways, called meridians. When blockages occur, illness and pain result, because of body imbalances to the life force, called Qi.
By placing very thin needles at precise points in the body, everything from arthritis, asthma, and fertility can be treated.
Finally, scientists are now documenting with brain imaging studies and other high-tech tools how acupuncture arouses areas of the brain that register pain and are activated in recuperation.
Doppler ultrasounds show acupuncture increases blood flow in the treated areas. Thermal imaging shows acupuncture makes inflammation subsides.
There have always been parallels between the ancient concepts to modern anatomy. The 365 acupuncture points correspond to the nerve bundles and muscle trigger points. Meridians travel along major arteries and nerves. If you have a heart attack, the pain goes down the left arm, along the heart meridian. If you have gallbladder pain it will radiate to your right upper shoulder where the gallbladder meridian exists.
Western medicine has always been skeptical about acupuncture and its effectiveness. Still something measurable can now be recorded when you stick a needle into a patient.
Skeptical doctors feel that acupuncture has a very strong placebo effect. Yet acupuncture has been used on horses with great success: placebo thinking does not influence them.
Acupuncture use has been spreading to our armed forces to treat multiple musculoskeletal problems, pain and stress disorders with great success. Recently in Haiti, it has relieved the pain of earthquake victims. It has also been successful in counteracting the side effects of chemotherapy.
Surveys show over 3 million Americans undergo acupuncture annually. These numbers are constantly rising. The general public is finally getting the message. Do you?
Acupuncture is most commonly used for chronic pain conditions like arthritis, lower back pain, headaches, fatigue, and digestive problems where conventional medicine has failed.
It fires up the immune system in autoimmune disease problems as well.
It is relatively inexpensive, and generally safe. All needles are new and sterile, in accordance with the FDA’s requirement.
Looking at your tongue, checking your pulse in your wrist often makes diagnoses and asking questions about how you sleep, your digestion, and other habits you have. Determination is made which meridians are blocked and where the needles are to be placed.
There is no Merck manual for acupuncture. You are evaluated on an individual basis, based on what symptoms you present, and the knowledge of the acupuncturist.
Over 4000 medical physicians have been trained in acupuncture by Dr. Joseph Helms, at the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture in Berkeley California. Many western doctors now use acupuncture in rehabilitation and pain clinics.
Studies have shown that acupuncture works by stimulating the release of endorphins (the chemicals that makes your body feel good). There are several other mechanisms of action, including stimulating blood flow, tissue repair, and sending signals to the brain that regulate the perception of pain, rebooting the autonomic nervous system that affects your heart rate, respiration and digestion.
It doesn’t matter whether you think Western or Eastern. By placing the needle in the proper area you will get effects.
Neuro-imaging studies at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston show that acupuncture affects a wide network of systems in the brain, including the emotional part of the brain. It activates parts of the brain to light up when the brain is at rest, and these are also seen on MRI and other imaging studies.
Brain scans of patients with fibromyalgia compared to sham acupuncture revealed that real acupuncture increases the receptors for pain reducing neurotransmitters bringing pain relief.
The body knows how to heal itself, and acupuncture helps that happen. This may seem impossible to you, but acupuncture has a real healing effects on your human body. As a medical doctor for 51 years, and a practicing acupuncture for 28 years, I am convinced of the value of acupuncture.
More and more patients also find that acupuncture complements Western medicine. The drawback is that many insurances still do not cover this service. Acupuncture is noninvasive, the results are dramatic and quick, and there are no drawbacks to the procedure. Finally with Neuro-imaging validation, there is no longer any doubt about the power of healing with acupuncture