Traditional Chinese Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to heal and improve functioning by inserting very fine, sterile, disposable needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise points on the body. These points help to stimulate several body mechanisms including the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system, and immune system. Think of Acupuncture as a method of manipulating blood flow, increasing circulating endorphin levels, and generating a healing response by focusing blood, white blood cell and histamine response. Common pain conditions treated with acupuncture include headaches or migraines, TMJ, shoulder dysfunction, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee injuries, low back and neck pain.
Cupping is done by creating suction in a plastic or glass cup and placing it on muscle and subdermal connective tissues. The suction causes layers of tissue to bubble up into the cup. Cupping can be done both stationary over tight areas or the cups can be manually moved along the length of the back, neck or leg which is termed sliding cupping. A healthy muscle tissue allows muscle fibers to slide and extend over underlying layers but tissue that is damaged or inflamed restricts this movement. The suction action, of the cup, forces these layers to become ‘unstuck’, drawing blood between the layers and allowing for repair and healing of the area.
Contemporary Medical Acupuncture
Contemporary Medical Acupuncture is a functional adaptation of the Traditional Chinese Medicine model. Acupuncture needles are inserted into anatomical neurofunctional sites and are stimulated manually, using intramuscular stimulation or electrical stimulation of the needles to modulate abnormal activity of the nervous system. After a thorough history and physical examination, a diagnosis is made and anatomical acupuncture points are selected for needling that are related to the condition. Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to manage both acute and chronic conditions as an adjunct to other therapies such as chiropractic or massage. Common conditions that contemporary medical acupuncture can address are low back pain, gluteal muscle weakness, shoulder dysfunction, ankle injuries, headaches and fatigue. Effects of contemporary medical acupuncture are generally non-specific involving pain relief, pain modulation, endorphin release, breaking down scar tissue, decreased swelling, muscle relaxation, improved sleep, and a feeling of psycho-physical well-being.