Acupuncture is one of the methods of treatment performed by physicians who are trained in Chinese Medicine. There are some common misconceptions of Chinese Medicine which are twofold; one is that anyone can perform it and the other is the language of “energy”.
Acupuncture Physicians are required to attend formal education which is three years of a Masters degree in Oriental medicine including medical rotations. They are required thousands of hours in education and rotations; hands on. They also need to be board certified and licensed both locally and nationally; otherwise they legally aren’t allowed to practice. None of this is negotiable. There is an ongoing debate within the medical communities, mostly Acupuncturists vs. Chiropractors/Medical Doctors/Physical Therapists about the method called dry needling(DN). It involves the use of solid filiform needles(also known as Acupuncture needles) to relieve muscle pain or myofascial pain syndrome. Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM as it’s commonly known, is rooted in both 5,000 years of empirical research and evidence now formally taught along with modern biomedical understanding of the human body. With minimal training in DN, typically one weekend, it is unlikely to be able to master the techniques that are practiced for three years or more and thus may endanger patient safety and wellbeing. In other words, it looks much more simple than it is. While it may provide a small adjunct treatment in musculoskeletal disorders, the exposure and experience in needling is so limited the cons outweigh the pros. In other words, would you want a medical doctor trained in immunology to step in as the treating surgeon to have your appendix removed?
The language of Chinese Medicine is very different from allopathic medicine and is sometimes confusing. It is in fact a different language and treatment modality than you’re typically used to in the West. However, this medicine was discovered and used before any medicine you’re familiar with; some 5,000 years ago. The most common question an Acupuncture Physician receives is “does this work”, the proof is in the pudding; empirical evidence. That’s why your physicians answer is commonly “try it” because they can talk until they’re blue in the face but you have to experience improved health yourself to understand it. There is much talk of “energy” amongst Acupuncture Physicians. Make no mistake about it energy is science, ATP is the basis for this. Adenosine Triphosphate, ATP, is the major energy currency molecule of the cell. This complex molecule is critical for all life from the simplest to the most complex. This molecule is an excellent example of irreducible complexity because it is necessary in its entirety in order for even the simplest form of life to survive. In other words, TCM, is a real physical medicine based on real anatomy. The “meridians” or lines of energy as they’re known in TCM are vessels; blood vessels and nerve systems. There are four aspects of the body that need to be functioning well in order for us to be healthy.
- Qi=Oxygen must be delivered to the tissues
- Organ System
- Vascular System
- Nervous System
Among many things TCM treats the number one cause of disease, “blood stagnation” which means impaired blood flow in the body. The ancient Chinese DISCOVERED the vascular system, with its blood flow flowing away from the heart and then back to it via the lung where the blood is re-oxygenated with vital air 2,000 years before the Europeans did. When there is a problem with blood flow any area of the body cannot function properly. Trauma or an internal disorder are examples of this. TCM causes your blood vessels to dilate and increases blood flow to specific areas of the body to relieve pain, improve organ function, and prevent aging.
As an example, what happens when your finger touches a candle or hot burner? The receptors on your skin send the signal up to your sensory neuron which eventually lights up the neuron in your brain. It sends the signal back down the pathway and you pull your finger away. The way that TCM works is that when you stimulate the body with a needle, that same pathway is activated and stimulates something called bradykinin which is the thing that helps the nervous system to re-activate itself. Also prostaglandins are released, these are chemicals in the nerve endings and these will release which help the body heal itself.
The Acupuncture points are critical junctions where each play a specific role in re-balancing the body. The size of an Acupuncture point is the diameter of a dime, which means you can’t just put needles anywhere. These are the specific areas where they have the most impact on circulation and induce restorative and physiological reactions in the body. The location of these points again dates back to 5,000 years ago when they were found by trial and error.
Traditional Chinese Medicine with its thorough anatomical examination of the body and its organs, has established it as the oldest most sophisticated physical medicine on earth. Try it and see for yourself.
Written by Kristen Carla Acupuncture Physician www.facebook.com/kristencarla
Kodawari Studios 3965 S. Henderson Blvd., Suite C, Tampa, Fl 33629 813-773-4017