Acupuncture

Introduction

Acupuncture and moxibustion therapies are believed to have originated in China approximately 2,000 years ago. As a traditional medical practice, they encompass several treatment methods. The main method is the use of needles to puncture the skin. Secondarily, moxibustion is used to warm points on the skin. Bloodletting, cupping, scratching needle techniques, and fire needle techniques are supplementary methods. The enormous clinical value of acupuncture and moxibustion therapies is evidenced by their continued and extensive use in modern China, their spread centuries ago to other Asian countries, such as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, and their more recent arrival in the West, first in Europe and much later on in the U.S.A. Throughout the long and venerable history of Chinese medicine, complex theories and clinical systems have evolved. Some have retained their original form; others have adapted to the passage of time, transforming under the scrutiny of clinicians and scholars.

Actions and Mechanisms

Although known as a procedure to address pain, acupuncture is actually a therapy and as such addresses many clinical aspects, as the indications show. The body, considered as a whole, presents some specific sites of action at the level of the skin. These sites are either very narrow points or zones where a modulation can be effected thus triggering changes either at the local level (as for pain) or at distal levels (as for modification of internal organs or emotions). Modern research on acupuncture mechanisms abound in information: I.e., acupuncture modifies the electrolytic gradient of the interstitial fluid, modulates peripheral and central neuro-endocrine responses and influences main hormonal glands.

Styles

Acupuncture is divided in two types: macro-acupuncture and micro-acupuncture. The former includes the commonly named "body acupuncture," and the later includes body areas such as ear, scalp, the periphery of the eye, hand, foot and nose. Micro-acupuncture is also referred to as using holographic body zones.

  1. Body Acupuncture
    This type includes 360 regular points as well as hundreds of additional points. The regular points are found on 12 vessels that travel along the body surface. In addition, several other complex physiological layers of vessels exist. The regular points respond to a rigorous and logical system and their choice can belong to a strict design of a program of action. This is the classical acupuncture type and it covers the widest amount of indications.
  2. Auricular Therapy
    The ear is divided in nearly one hundred zones used in groups of two to six. This therapy addresses conditions such as menstrual pain, substance abuse and insomnia.
    Treatments include onsite needling and out-of-site pressure pellets that provide continuous action.
  3. Scalp Therapy
    It includes the traditional points (more than 70) as well as specific areas (about 30). This therapeutic modality is well known for its applications in post-stroke rehabilitation. In addition, it emphasizes disorders of the central nervous system, including headaches, mobility problems, and paralysis (as in post-stroke sequelae). It is also commonly used for emotional disorders, insomnia, poor memory, and so forth.

Integrative Medicine

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are often perceived as different entities. However, they are actually both part of a unique medical paradigm - Oriental Medicine (OM). This system has matured over centuries of theories, observations and clinical experiences and withstood the time factor. Since it is essentially a dynamic model, its only normal evolution is to become one with the Western Medical paradigm. This integration is suggested by the development of various models, among which Systems Energetics, the model used by Eric Serejski who lectures on it internationally. Asian clinical setups also use both Western and Oriental models concurrently in hospitals, where one can see the traditional herbal pharmacy near the X-ray department. People are often puzzled by the strange metaphoric language commonly used in describing symptoms and diagnostics. However, the vocabulary is only an allegoric language behind which hides an understanding of the body that uses modern Logics and statistical distribution of physiological functions. In addition, acupuncture applications are enhanced by modern medical technology. For example, acupuncture finds application in hormonal disorders as well as in functional electrolytic disorders, where laboratory tests allow subtle diagnosis, design of the treatment as well as the follow up of the therapy. Another aspect of the contemporary use of acupuncture is in its mediation of Western drugs. I.e., it has been observed that acupuncture treatments can enhance the pain effect of aspirin, thus reducing its dosage and protecting the stomach. This can be of tremendous help in situations like rheumatoid arthritis where medications are taken over prolonged periods of time.

These small examples easily show us the fundamental importance of integrating medical models and specialties in order to offer more versatile and powerful therapeutics.

Indications

See Conditions