Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the skin along specific meridians or pathways of electromagnetic energy in the body. Several processes have been proposed to explain acupuncture’s effects, primarily those on pain. Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals either change the experience of pain or release other chemicals, such as hormones, that influence the body’s self-regulating systems. The biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being. There are three main mechanisms:
Conduction of electromagnetic signals: Western scientists have found evidence that acupuncture points are strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. Stimulating points along these pathways through acupuncture enables electromagnetic signals to be relayed at a greater rate than under normal conditions. These signals may start the flow of pain-killing biochemicals, such as endorphins, and of immune system cells to specific sites in the body that are injured or vulnerable to disease.
Activation of opioid systems: Research has found that several types of opioids may be released into the central nervous system during acupuncture treatment, thereby reducing pain.
Changes in brain chemistry, sensation, and involuntary body functions: Studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Acupuncture also has been documented to affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes whereby a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature are regulated. Preclinical studies have documented acupuncture’s effects, but they have not been able to fully explain how acupuncture works within the framework of the Western system of medicine.
Oriental medicine is used extensively by one-quarter of the world’s population and is rapidly growing in popularity in the West. Increasingly, acupuncture is complementing conventional therapies. For example, doctors may combine acupuncture and drugs to control surgery-related pain in their patients. By providing both acupuncture and certain conventional anesthetic drugs, some doctors have found it possible to achieve a state of complete pain relief for some patients. They also have found that using acupuncture lowers the need for conventional pain-killing drugs and thus reduces the risk of side effects for patients who take the drugs. Despite the powerful technology available today, even the modern physicists cannot explain exactly how this ancient healing therapy works. Perhaps in the near future, the actual chemical and electromagnetic events that occur during acupuncture will be explained.
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Electro-Acupuncture uses a low electric current stream that is connected to acupuncture needles increasing circulation and is used when stronger stimulation of the needles is required. It is often used for musculoskeletal issues and/or sports injuries.
Therapeutic Massage effectively treats all muscular pain, of the back, neck and shoulder, and all injuries including sports injuries.
- Shiatsu massage is a specific method of pressure applied to acupuncture points and nerve plexuses of the body, to stimulate and enhance the effects of massage therapy
- Tuina massage provides a kneading effect on muscles to stimulate blood and lymph flow to areas of the body, particularly where there is pain or an injury
- Trigger point therapy is pressure applied to points on a particularly tight or stressed muscle to provide a “release” to relax that muscle or muscle group, to release tension and ease pain
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine uses effective formulas dating back over 2000 years and is supported by new additions of formulas using the latest knowledge and research available to professional herbalists today. The formulas can be taken as pills, granules or raw herbs.
Moxibustion is the application of heat to a small surface area of the body, or by attaching a hot moxa-bud onto a needle to direct the heat into the acupuncture point, to provide warmth to a specific area and to stimulate circulation. Moxa is made of the herb Artemesia (Mugwort).
Cupping uses a glass cup applied via suction to an area of the body which stimulates blood circulation to remove stagnation in the local tissues and muscles.