Acupuncture
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About Acupuncture

      

Information About Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body. This process stimulates the lymphatic, vascular and neural pathways within the body, allowing natural healing to take place. These points are selected based on years of training acupuncturists receive based on over 3,000 years of experience in China. There are many types of acupuncture that exist. We utilize one type of acupuncture that is referred to as the Balance method, that is very effective for treatment of pain. In this type of acupuncture the needle is inserted in the skin, where is causes a chemical signal to be sent to the mid-brain. The mid-brain then sends a signal to the body to release pain-modulating substances (endorphins, dienkephalins, prostaglandins) to fill the receptor sites at the location of the pain.

In China, the Tuina doctors are the bone doctors that perform structural adjustments similar to the chiropractors in the United States. As part of our training, we learn Tuina to provide gentle adjustments to the structure and bones of the body and spine. Tuina utilizes strategic massage as well to stimulate healing in the tendons and muscles. Tuina, in combination with Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine allows the body to heal much faster from auto injuries, and musculo-skeletal issues.

Acupuncture helps to prevent illness by improving the overall functioning of the body's immune and organ systems. Acupuncture is helpful for:

  • Treating existing illnesses and injuries.
  • Preventing both recurrence of illnesses and new illness.
  • Improving overall health.

Acupuncture originated in China over 3,000 years ago. It is part of the holistic system of healing known as Traditional Chinese Medicine ("TCM").

How does Acupuncture work?

Biomedical Explanation of Acupuncture

Energy (Qi) certainly exists in our bodies in many different forms, including biochemical, and electrical energy. The Traditional Chinese Meridian theory (described below), which was developed after the Maoist revolution, has a basis in fact, but may be inadequate to describe how acupuncture benefits the body in biomedical terms. The perspective that acupuncture simply stimulates energy or Qi within certain "invisible" energy channels in the body may be too simplistic in the context of biomedicine. (Historically, the concept of the flow of Qi in "invisible" meridian channels may have been a mistranslation by a European author who had very little anatomical or medical knowledge, Dao Of Medicine, D. Kendall).

The Classical Chinese medical text, the Nei Jing was written in a language that has been gone from China for 1000 yrs, and may have been mistranslated for that reason. The Chinese translation of "Mai" is vessel and "Qi" translates as air. The Nei Jing translates Qi as vital air or vital vapor that is in the air (Da Qi) where it is extracted from by the Lung. The true translation of "Qi" is Oxygen. Biomedically, we know Oxygen moves through the blood vessels to the organs and circulates throughout the entire body. In essence we are plumbers, dealing with blockages in the vessel system. The vascular system is the major drainage system and we help to eliminate blockages in this system with acupuncture. This is a simplistic but clinically effective model. If we oxygenate the blood and the rest of the body then we help the body restore homeostatic balance, health, and well-being.

Biomedically, the acupuncture points can be thought of as insertion or nodal sites that have effects on the vascular system (veins and arteries), lymphatic system, and neural networks (nervous system). Each year more discoveries are being made to describe the mechanics of acupuncture from a biomedical perspective. One explanation of how acupuncture works for pain is as follows. When you insert the needle in to the skin, it bumps against mast cells, and they burst and release leukotriine (much stronger that histamines) and prostaglandins that cause the sensory and proprioceptive nerves to fire. These chemicals send a strong signal up the proprioception pathway and midbrain releases pain-modulating substances (endorphins) to relieve the pain. This process should take 5 seconds maximum if you put the needles in the right area. The midbrain actually vasoconstricts all the muscles in the area when the pain receptors are not filled with endorphins.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory

The Traditional Chinese medicine (developed after the Maoist revolution) explanation is that energy (Qi) flows in channels (meridians) throughout the body and over its surfaces. These channels are rivers of energy which are referred to as meridians. The Chinese have identified 71 meridians in the human body, which is a basic energy map for all people. The meridians are often compared to a series of interconnected highways. Each of the major organs in the body is associated with its own meridian. Through the network of meridians the internal organs are connected to certain areas and parts of the body including the muscles, bones, joints, and also other organs.

The Chinese believe that health is a manifestation of balance, both within the body itself and between the body and the external environment. When the body is internally balanced and in harmony with the external environment, Qi flows smoothly through the meridians to nourish the organs and tissues. If an obstruction occurs in one of the meridians, the Qi is disrupted and cannot flow properly. When the Qi cannot flow smoothly or is forced to flow in the opposite direction, the body's innate balance is disrupted and illness results.

Acupuncture points are the specific points on the meridians where the Qi is both concentrated and accessible. Acupuncture engages the Qi by inserting needles at these specific points, the goal being to restore the proper flow of Qi. As the body regains its natural balance, well-being returns.

Acupuncture and Modern Science

To the human body, acupuncture needles are a physical stimulus. In Western science, a stimulus is defined as a detectable change in either the external environment or within the body itself. When the body detects change, it produces a response. Although acupuncture is not yet fully understood by Western science, with modern technology scientists can now actually begin to "see" the body's response to acupuncture. For example, using an MRI (a very sophisticated x-ray), researchers have shown that when a needle is inserted at specific acupuncture points on the body, corresponding changes occur in the brain.

In the West, acupuncture is most well-known for its ability to relieve pain so the majority of research thus far has been done in this area. Acupuncture points are now believed to stimulate the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release pain-relieving chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain. Acupuncture may also stimulate other chemicals to be released by the brain, including hormones that influence the self-regulating system of the body.

Summary

Oriental medicine has been around for thousands of years, and has provided us with a unique and holistic approach to help prevent and treat disease. Western science and Traditional Chinese Medicine ultimately rely on the body's natural healing ability to maintain health and protect against disease. Both have the same goal of helping a person stay healthy. Western science tends to use drugs and surgery as needed. Acupuncturists tend to use gentle needling and herbs. A combination of both systems creates an ideal environment of health and healing.

Acupuncture - how it works: history, traditional oriental medicine & Portland acupuncture
Acupuncture
About Acupuncture  Conditions Treated   What to Expect   Links  
Home     Contact Al Thieme     About Al Thieme    

About Acupuncture

      

Information About Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body. This process stimulates the lymphatic, vascular and neural pathways within the body, allowing natural healing to take place. These points are selected based on years of training acupuncturists receive based on over 3,000 years of experience in China. There are many types of acupuncture that exist. We utilize one type of acupuncture that is referred to as the Balance method, that is very effective for treatment of pain. In this type of acupuncture the needle is inserted in the skin, where is causes a chemical signal to be sent to the mid-brain. The mid-brain then sends a signal to the body to release pain-modulating substances (endorphins, dienkephalins, prostaglandins) to fill the receptor sites at the location of the pain.

Acupuncture helps to prevent illness by improving the overall functioning of the body's immune and organ systems. Acupuncture is helpful for:

  • Treating existing illnesses and injuries.
  • Preventing both recurrence of illnesses and new illness.
  • Improving overall health.

Acupuncture originated in China over 3,000 years ago. It is part of the holistic system of healing known as Traditional Chinese Medicine ("TCM").

How does Acupuncture work?

Biomedical Explanation of Acupuncture

Energy (Qi) certainly exists in our bodies in many different forms, including biochemical, and electrical energy. The Traditional Chinese Meridian theory (described below), which was developed after the Maoist revolution, has a basis in fact, but may be inadequate to describe how acupuncture benefits the body in biomedical terms. The perspective that acupuncture simply stimulates energy or Qi within certain "invisible" energy channels in the body may be too simplistic in the context of biomedicine. (Historically, the concept of the flow of Qi in "invisible" meridian channels may have been a mistranslation by a European author who had very little anatomical or medical knowledge, Dao Of Medicine, D. Kendall).

The Classical Chinese medical text, the Nei Jing was written in a language that has been gone from China for 1000 yrs, and may have been mistranslated for that reason. The Chinese translation of "Mai" is vessel and "Qi" translates as air. The Nei Jing translates Qi as vital air or vital vapor that is in the air (Da Qi) where it is extracted from by the Lung. The true translation of "Qi" is Oxygen. Biomedically, we know Oxygen moves through the blood vessels to the organs and circulates throughout the entire body. In essence we are plumbers, dealing with blockages in the vessel system. The vascular system is the major drainage system and we help to eliminate blockages in this system with acupuncture. This is a simplistic but clinically effective model. If we oxygenate the blood and the rest of the body then we help the body restore homeostatic balance, health, and well-being.

Biomedically, the acupuncture points can be thought of as insertion or nodal sites that have effects on the vascular system (veins and arteries), lymphatic system, and neural networks (nervous system). Each year more discoveries are being made to describe the mechanics of acupuncture from a biomedical perspective. One explanation of how acupuncture works for pain is as follows. When you insert the needle in to the skin, it bumps against mast cells, and they burst and release leukotriine (much stronger that histamines) and prostaglandins that cause the sensory and proprioceptive nerves to fire. These chemicals send a strong signal up the proprioception pathway and midbrain releases pain-modulating substances (endorphins) to relieve the pain. This process should take 5 seconds maximum if you put the needles in the right area. The midbrain actually vasoconstricts all the muscles in the area when the pain receptors are not filled with endorphins.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory

The Traditional Chinese medicine (developed after the Maoist revolution) explanation is that energy (Qi) flows in channels (meridians) throughout the body and over its surfaces. These channels are rivers of energy which are referred to as meridians. The Chinese have identified 71 meridians in the human body, which is a basic energy map for all people. The meridians are often compared to a series of interconnected highways. Each of the major organs in the body is associated with its own meridian. Through the network of meridians the internal organs are connected to certain areas and parts of the body including the muscles, bones, joints, and also other organs.

The Chinese believe that health is a manifestation of balance, both within the body itself and between the body and the external environment. When the body is internally balanced and in harmony with the external environment, Qi flows smoothly through the meridians to nourish the organs and tissues. If an obstruction occurs in one of the meridians, the Qi is disrupted and cannot flow properly. When the Qi cannot flow smoothly or is forced to flow in the opposite direction, the body's innate balance is disrupted and illness results.

Acupuncture points are the specific points on the meridians where the Qi is both concentrated and accessible. Acupuncture engages the Qi by inserting needles at these specific points, the goal being to restore the proper flow of Qi. As the body regains its natural balance, well-being returns.

Acupuncture a Powerful Integrative Oncology Tool

Integrative Oncology is the combination of “mainstream” care and evidenced-based complimentary therapies to control cancer-related pain and symptoms [source: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Integrative Medicine]. Complementary therapies, while not given the attention that more traditional cancer therapies may receive, are perhaps equally important while undergoing treatment for certain types of cancer, including malignant mesothelioma. Patients diagnosed with difficult to treat malignancies will often use these types of therapies in conjunction with traditional treatment options, which include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiology, to form a more comprehensive and effective treatment regimen. Among the most effective alternative therapies utilized by those diagnosed with cancer is acupuncture. Acupuncture has long been utilized as a general pain reduction method for thousands of years, originating in the Far East and gradually being utilized throughout the world. Effective cancer treatment often depends on the patient’s ability to not only defeat the cancer through various methods but to also maintain their health and mental spirit throughout the course of treatment. Often, the symptoms and effects of the cancer itself on the body are insignificant compared to the pain and other side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation are often fatigued, experience a lack of appetite and weight loss, and may become depressed. For cancer patients experiencing these and other side effects, acupuncture is extremely beneficial. Acupuncture is said to relieve blockages and restore the natural flow of blood, oxygen, and lymphatic fluid and ultimately restoring one’s health. Cancers such as mesothelioma (www.Mesothiolma.com), which are often unable to be removed by surgical means, are often treated with some combination of chemotherapy and radiation [the combination of chemo drug Alimta® and anti-cancer drug Cisplatin® is a popular mesothelioma treatment method]. While these potent drugs can be effective in eliminating some of the tumor mass and growth, they also profoundly affect the health of the surrounding tissue. Symptoms experienced by those undergoing mainstream cancer treatments include fever, nausea, and debilitating pain. Patients who undergo acupuncture in conjunction with mainstream cancer therapies have experienced dramatic reductions in pain and feel that their energy and mental wellbeing was restored. Cancer patients who feel energized, are pain-free and have a solid state of mind are more likely to withstand traditional methods of cancer treatment and have an increased survival rate. Acupuncture is said to be so effective, in fact, that the World Health Organization [WHO] has recognized acupuncture as a successful intervention for adverse reactions to radiation and chemotherapy. The National Institute of Health [NIH] also agreed that acupuncture may relieve nausea and pain experienced by cancer sufferers, and the organization supports acupuncture clinical trials. While this ancient method of therapy may be extremely effective for some, acupuncture may not be recommended for all cancer patients. Those who have a history of endocarditis, neutropenia or thrombocytopenia should not undergo acupuncture. Individuals with lymphedema or those who have a pacemaker should speak with a physician before beginning any course of acupuncture therapy. While oncologists like Dr. David Sugarbaker of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital continue to work towards a cure, those who practice the ancient art of acupuncture will be working to help cancer sufferers experience a better quality of life and an increased rate of survival. And while the scientific validity of Acupuncture has been proved in many, many studies, the Medicinal Herbal Formulary of Chinese Medicine also shows promise as another resource for those suffering with various cancers, including asbestos cancer. (Jack Bleeker, Research Coordinator, www.Mesothiolma.com)









Copyright 2014, Al Thieme, L.Ac., All rights reserved
Office #1: St. Helens Acupuncture
440 Columbia Blvd, Suite 100, St. Helens, OR 97051
Tel: 503-481-0283
al.thieme@comcast.net
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