Medical acupuncture is the insertion of needles into tissues to affect muscle, tendon, bone, capsule or neurological structures, including direct nerve stimulation or stimulation of tiny mechanoreceptors or pressure receptors that are embedded within muscular and connective tissue.
Medical acupuncture is derived from traditional Chinese practices that originated 4000 years ago, however, the placement of the needles and the resultant effects are grounded in modern anatomical and physiological theory as accepted in Western medical science.
As an example, randomized controlled studies (a high level of scientific literature in medicine) have substantiated that acupuncture is an effective treatment strategy for tennis elbow or tendonosis/tenosynovitis of the muscles of the forearm.
With injury to a muscle system, cellular breakdown occurs, resulting in the release of inflammatory chemicals and direct products of tissue breakdown into the tissue. These chemicals cause a multitude of effects including spasm, decreased tissue mobility and even the perception of pain itself.
Insertion of acupuncture needles into this tissue reverses these chemical effects restoring tissue to normal.
An anatomical acupuncturist will insert needles directly into the muscle affected to reverse these abnormal chemical changes.
How does acupuncture work?
The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system.
The improved biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body's natural healing abilities, promoting healing of muscles, tendon and joint injuries.
There is now an abundance of scientific data to support the utility for a number of conditions. Acupuncture has been subjected to rigorous clinical testing analogous to the testing that is completed to substantiate the use of drugs for numerous conditions. At this point we can state, unequivocally that medical acupuncture is effective for the following conditions:
- Tennis elbow/tendonitis
- Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
- Facial pain (including TMJ/Temporomandibular Pain/Jaw Pain)
- Knee pain, including pain due to Osteoarthriti
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction
- Postoperative pain
- Sciatica/Radiating pain emerging from the low back