Some Theories Attempting To Explain How Acupuncture Actually Works

A huge part of the population of the Developed World continue to be skeptical of acupuncture’s healing abilities in spite of the growing number of data proving this to be true for various kinds of ailments. Acupuncture is a Chinese healing practice used for thousands of years that is grounded in ‘non Western’ and ‘non logical’ medicine and thought. It has grown in popularity here in the United States since the early 1970s where it is considered a type of ‘alternative medicine.” A lot of individuals who have tried this treatment easily affirm to its amazing effects in the treatment of conditions such as drug addiction, asthma, and surgical pain. However, many Americans are still ignorant or doubtful that inserting of filiform needles into a person’s skin in an effort to alter the circulation of life energy (which is called Chi or Qi) in the body through energy channels known as meridians can cure unalterable and chronic problems or relieve pain. Lately, a number of assumptions where made to supply a logical explanation about the successes of acupuncture that would appeal to the people in the West. One of the most popular of these assumptions is that acupuncture stimulates the brain in order to produce and release opioid peptides. Regardless of the theory one decides to subscribe to, the medical perks and health benefits of acupuncture easily stand on their own.

The oriental healing art of acupuncture can be described as a treatment that aids and nourishes the natural healing processes of the body. After completing the wellness assessment of the patient, the acupuncturist will next diagnose the patient’s unique case, and can then commence with the treatment procedure. The traditional form of acupuncture involves the use of ultra thin, metal, sterile, non hollow needles stuck into specific points around the collaterals and meridians of the body in order to manipulate the circulation of Chi. For certain amounts of time, the needles are typically plunged into the skin several centimeters deep; occasionally, the needling process is combined with Chinese herbal medicine and/or moxibustion, which in essence involves heat or electricity.

Chi is the basic principle that supports the Eastern and Chinese explanation of how acupuncture functions. The meridians have been charted in ancient Chinese texts. They move through the body in normal patterns the same way the nervous system and circulatory system functions. Chi is very important and it flows through the body by means of these meridians. In TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, disease is caused by an imbalance in Chi flow, which can be due to a lack of energy to the affected area or from a blockage in the meridians. Any disharmony of the Chi will affect the physical, mental, emotional, and psychic aspects of the body. It is the job of the acupuncturist to bring back the flow of Chi to healthy and normal levels. To puncture the meridians, acupuncture needles are used and inserted in a way that they come close to the skin’s surface just enough to nudge or unblock the flow of Chi, thus bringing back equilibrium in the body.

Mainly in Western Europe and the United States has acupuncture been closely studied these past few generations. A growing clamor to come up with a scientific explanation for the ‘mystical phenomenon’ that transpires within the body during an acupuncture procedure is more and more being heard. Although no specific hypothesis has successfully found or explained the impact acupuncture has on the nervous system, the most popular consensus regarding its effects is that it (acupuncture) helps release opioid peptides into the bloodstream.

These opioid peptides are actually different types of neurochemicals and neurotransmitters produced and released by the brain and the nervous system and they include dynorphins, enkephalins, and endorphins, which all can be found within the neurons of the body. These substances are thought to be closely tied with pain sensation in the central nervous system. Western scientists believe that whenever the nervous system gets trapped in a kind of negative feedback loop, pain can be felt. This can happen whenever the sensation of pain occurs at a source different from where the body truly perceives the painful sensation or when the brain has not registered the discomfort because the input to the nervous system isn’t strong enough to attain the absolute tolerance to release endorphins. In the former case, even though endorphins may have been released to a specific region, the pain’s origin remains damaged and keeps on causing discomfort even after the body presumes the condition has been taken care of.

The needling process generates the release of the opioids in the nervous system just by dispatching direct or indirect messages to the brain telling about an issue in a specific location. More often than not, the affected part of the body will begin to heal naturally after the pattern in the nervous system which was generating the discomfort is broken and stopped. Pain is then removed in the affected part of the body making the body work and move freely once more.

One other explanation for how acupuncture works is the “gate theory.” This theory explains that the signals are dispatched by the nervous system neuron to neuron, generating pain sensation in the brain. When a neuron is saddled with too much ‘pain signals’, it, like a gate, shuts down. This prevents more pain signals from reaching the brain. It is presumed that acupuncture accomplishes naturally what the body would otherwise do but cannot because the impulses are not strong enough to bring about the “closing down” of the neurons. The needles elicit a response that prevents the stronger pain signals from moving along the same nerve thus causing a painkilling effect.

These two theories (the opioid peptides and gate theories), while they provide the framework for a much better scientific explanation of the workings of acupuncture, one can still find a couple of various related ideas that are important in understanding how the treatment functions. One of the most popular of these ideas is the concept of pain memory. When talking about memory, we do not associate it with the conscious remembering of painful events, but rather to the continuity of functional and to a point, structural alterations in the central nervous system due to injury to a distal region of the body. This concept explains that discomfort can still remain even after all possible physical remedies have been tried such as enigmatic dilemmas as phantom limb discomfort and thalamic pain. Pain caused by an injury endures because the nervous systems itself underwent certain modifications, like biochemical variations or reverberating neuronal circuits causing, in essence a “memory bank” of pain that has been deeply imbedded into the physiology of the individual that acts like the condition still exists. The therapy of acupuncture can bring back the normal state of the nervous system. It does this by providing the body with a series of signals to the central nervous system, and shutting off a neural flow of pain signals to that system.

Another concept that needs further elucidation is the idea of trigger points. The body has certain trigger points that have been analyzed for some time by Western medical researchers. When further studied, these points are actually the same as the acupoints (acupuncture points) of TCM. Trigger points are found in the muscles that when pressed are very sensitive and can generate pain and other sensations. Clinical studies have confirmed the existence of these points and they may come about due to over-extenuation or neglect of a muscle. A treatment of acupuncture is usually effective to modify these points, although conventional treatments such as corticosteroids and local anesthesia can also be helpful.

Dr. Yelena Pakula is a licensed acupuncture doctor and the medical director of Vita-Health Acupuncture and Wellness Center in Pembroke Pines, FL.

Enjoy A Pain-Free Life with Acupuncture

At some point in life, a person will experience some type of body pain. Whether it’s from a serious health condition, sporting injury, or gardening, the relief of your pain and how long will you recuperate will depend on the kind of treatment you undergo.

In the case of back pain, an average of 82.5% of people in the world will at one time or another, suffer from it. Unfortunately, most of them will not think about getting Cleveland acupuncture for treatment of their ailment

Many of them will learn how to live with it or mask the pain with prescription or over-the-counter painkillers such as mefenamic acid or ibuprofen. These drugs may sometimes help relieve the acute pain. But over time, they can cause addiction or adverse side effects.

There are people who actually consider acupuncture but only as a last result. Usually, they have undergone all types of conventional treatment including, cortisone injections, drugs, physical therapy, and even surgery to no avail.

For people who have lived with pain for a significant part of their lives, they need to understand that they don’t have to live in pain.

If your medical doctor has failed to ameliorate your pain, your next course of action should be to seek help from a local acupuncturist or chiropractor. These practitioners can perform physical exams and decide whether or not you need an MRI. They not only treat your painful symptoms but also address the underlying cause of your pain.

Your acupuncturist will also recommend dietary and lifestyle changes along with acupuncture treatment to help you live a pain-free life. Consuming too much sugar can impair your immune system and heighten the inflammatory response in your body. And when there is more inflammation, there is more pain.

Besides that, when you experience body pain it generates more stress in your body. And since stress causes more pain, your body is caught in a vicious cycle. Acupuncture helps relieve stress, inflammation, and pain allowing you to enjoy life and sleep well once more.

Three Important Information You Need To Know About Acupuncture

Acupuncture an alternative therapy is deemed illegitimate and mysterious to some people. They seem to have a poor grasp of how acupuncture really works and why it is effective in curing a lot of physical, emotional, and even spiritual illnesses. This work will talk about three things that a person should know about acupuncture.

Acupuncturists see the body as a whole.

Acupuncturists believe that the human body is a sum of its parts. These parts need to harmoniously function to attain a successful and healthy life. But because imbalances in some body systems and parts occur from time to time, the body experiences certain types of illnesses. A disturbance in one body part is enough to cause disturbance to other parts of the body.

The emotional and physical aspects of a person are connected in some way

There is a connection between the emotional and physical aspects of a person according to acupuncturists. Any emotional problem of the person will affect the person’s physical body and conversely, any physical illness will affect the person’s emotional health. Unlike Western medicine, acupuncture does not merely resolve the physical issues of the individual. The main root reason for the problem is addressed also in order to bring about a complete cure of the patient’s illness. Besides, acupuncture, the practitioner will recommend lifestyle changes to help the patient overcome his/her condition and maintain good health as long as he/she lives.

Different treatment for different individuals

The acupuncturist will provide treatment to the patient based on the patient’s unique constitution and symptoms. Treatment will take into account the different factors that cause the imbalance in the body system. This means a different kind of treatment that is based on the emotional state and the lifestyle of the patient. There are patients who may only need a single treatment to cure their condition; others may require two or more session to achieve a similar effect. Most patients require lifestyle changes and herbal medicine to get well.

These are the three fundamental things you need to know about acupuncture. Knowing them will lead you to the conclusion that acupuncture is a treatment like no other.

Eastern Healing Solutions, LLC
10875 Grandview St #2200
Overland Park, KS 66210
(913) 549-4322
http://www.overlandparkacupuncturist.com

Acupuncture for Influenza

There are more than a couple hundred viruses known to cause several types of flu and cold proliferating all over the world. By far, the most common flu-causing virus is the rhinovirus, which has no cure and accounts for roughly a third of flu and cold cases.

The primary focus of almost all natural therapies is to quicken the flu process or relieve its symptoms. Some therapies also help improve the immune system to prevent the recurrence of flu infections.

The symptoms of cold are a cough, watery eyes, headache, sore throat and stuffy or runny nose. For flu sufferers, symptoms may involve pains in their joints and muscles, general body aches and a fever.

Treatment

Herbal Medicine

Chamomile is good for treating a fever, elderflower for catarrh and catmint helps relieve congestion. Other concoctions for flu and its symptoms are offered by many health stores.

Aromatherapy

Essential oils are steamed and inhaled to help relieve breathing difficulties. Drop a few amounts of peppermint, eucalyptus or menthol oil in a basin of steaming hot water, cover your head with a towel and inhale. You can also utilize these oils on a sponge or in the bath or vaporize it in a room.

For the following therapies, you need to consult with a qualified therapist/ practitioner in order to get the best possible treatment:

Acupuncture and Acupressure

These two therapies are very effective in helping to revitalize your body with energy (chi) and make your body strong enough to ward off colds and dissolve phlegm.

Chinese massage (Tui Na) from traditional Chinese medicine can remove the pain, aches and symptoms in your arms, chest and back.

Homeopathy Remedies

These include Gelsemium (for flu shivering and aches), hepar sulfur (for colds and coughs), Allium, Nux vomica, and Natrum Muriaticum.

Treatment for Cold Sores

Cold sores are sores or blisters that form around the mouth and are caused by the herpes simplex virus. This virus thrives and is activated when it is exposed to direct sunlight or during changes in temperature.

Homeopathy therapies such as Rhus toxicodendron and Hepar sulf can treat cold sores.

Herbal remedies, on the other hand, such as licorice can help render the virus dormant or inactive.

Aromatherapy can treat cold sores. Apply tea tree, thyme, geranium or lavender oil on the cold sores to relieve and treat the discomfort.

 

Alida van Heerden is a licensed New York acupuncturist and a NADA certified acupuncture detoxification specialist.