After needling some specific points of the body surface, called acupoints, the stimulation is afferent from peripheral nerves to the spinal cord, travelling up then finally reaching the cerebral cortex. And because acupuncture has no side effect such as chemical toxicity or addiction, it offers superiority in treating many brain disorders.
In conventional medicine, there are few effective methods for treating certain cerebral diseases such as infantile atelencephalia, pseudo bulbar paralysis, and seizure attack. Acupuncture can significantly relieve and improve some symptoms in these difficult cases. Experimental research indicates the after cerebral infarction acupuncture has an obvious effect in increasing the blood oxygen supply and brain blood flow in the surviving brain tissue, and increase the lateral circulation function so that surviving brain tissue have more compensatory ability. The other mechanisms of acupuncture in treating post-stroke hemiplegia include dilating vessels, improving vascular viscosity, and enhancing the sensory and motor function of the extremities.
Acupuncture, and especially electro-acupuncture, have been conformed to have anti-convulsive effect. Acupuncture has an instant influential effect on brain waves, normalizing brain waves in EEG reading and minimizing or seizing epileptic electricity during an episode. It can therefore treat seizure attacks by controlling the symptoms and extending the attack intervals.
Research indicates that acupuncture can activate the reticular structure and cerebral cortex functions and regulate and harmonize their interrelationships. It can keep the cerebral cortex in a waking state and decrease over-activation. In this way, acupuncture an effectively address different psychological problems. Acupuncture has obvious effects in the improvement of the cerebral cortex and certain nerve center functions, resulting in significant therapeutic effect in treating some psychosomatic diseases. For example, during acupuncture treatments for hypertension, it was found that vascular peripheral resistance decreased and brain blood flow improved. These therapeutic effects for maintaining normal blood pressure are most likely related to acupuncture causing the endogenous morphine-like substance to release and inhibit the neuron activity in the ventral lateral bulbar area.
(Traditional Chinese Medicine World, Fall Volume, p. 9, 1999)
Scalp acupuncture is a modern acupuncture method. The Chinese attribute its development to Chiao Sun-Fa, a 35-year-old physician in North China, and it has been used in China since 1971. The principle of scalp acupuncture is very straightforward; the aim is to stimulate the diseased area of the brain in order to facilitate a return of function in that area.
This method is based on elementary functional neuroanatomy. If part of the brain is damaged, for instance by a stroke, then the scalp is stimulated over the damaged area of the brain. All the scalp points are representations of the underlying functional areas of the brain. It therefore follows that the most common use of scalp acupuncture will be in diseases in which there is brain damage, such as strokes or severe head injuries, although this method can be used for a variety of other conditions. Scalp acupuncture is particularly useful for reducing chronic muscle spasm.
Acupuncture is a form of treatment with the principle that there are energetic pathways, or channels, throughout the body that influence associated internal organs and structures. Energy (Qi, pronounced "chee") from these pathways surfaces at various points on the body, called acupoints. Each of these acupoints serves as a tunnel, or access route, to the deeper circulatory channels within.
Extremely fine gauge needles are inserted at selected points, stimulating these points and thereby activating the body’s natural healing abilities. It is proven to be an effective, safe alternative and complement to medications or even surgery for a variety of conditions. Each point on a specific meridian has a specific function, and acupuncture prescription means selection of a group of points to treat a condition or disease, based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. We call that TCM acupuncture.
A TCM acupuncture practitioner has a sound knowledge of meridians and their interactions and knows the functions and indications of each point, in addition to contra-indications of them. For example LI-4 which is a commonly used acupoints for pain, is contra-indicated to use during pregnancy, but can be used to induce labour in case of delayed labour.
Acupuncture, Herbs, Reiki
Scalp Acupuncture and Brain
The blood-brain barrier is the body’s own structure for self-protection, preventing all non-liposoluble chemical drugs from passing through. But this protective barrier also causes some difficulty in the treatment of brain disorders, since non-liposoluble drugs cannot directly enter the brain tissue to deliver a therapeutic effect. Acupuncture effectively bypasses this problem.
Ear acupuncture, also known as auricular therapy, is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Auricular therapy is used for addiction treatment, mood disorders, obesity, pain, and other conditions. It emphasises a holistic approach to medicine, an approach that treats the whole person. The acupuncture points found on the ear help to regulate the body's internal organs, structures, and functions.
Ear acupuncture therapy has a long history of use in China. It was mentioned in the most famous of ancient Chinese medical textbooks, “The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine.” In modern times, auricular therapy has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body's own feel-good chemicals.
(Acupuncture.com, By Heather Schiffke)
The application of a pulsating electrical current to acupuncture needles as a means of stimulating the acupoints, was developed in China as an extension of hand manipulation of acupuncture needles around 1934.
Ear acupuncture interested Dr. Nogier in the early 1950's. Some of his patients had received ear cautery and obtained relief from pain, and therefore Dr. Nogier began to develop and investigate this form of treatment. One of his earliest findings was that if there was pain in the body then the equivalent part of the ear also became sensitive. For instance, if the hand is painful then the part of the ear representing the hand also becomes sensitive when slight pressure is applied to the relevant part of the ear. Furthermore, if the painful ear point is punctured with a needle then the hand pain will be relieved. Through trial and error, Dr. Nogier developed a theory that the shape of the ear was similar to an inverted fetus. The head of the fetus is located at the lobe of the ear, the body curls around the inside of the ear with the feet at the apex, with all of the fine details of every part of the emotional and physical body represented.
(Xiaolin. New discovery of acupuncture abroad: an introduction to ear acupuncture. Shanghai Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1958;(12)
Auricular acupuncture for addictions is a useful tool in relieving the symptoms of withdrawal, including decreasing the severity of cravings, body aches, headaches, nausea, sweating and muscle cramping. People also report that they sleep better, feel less depressed and more relaxed. Based on centuries old Chinese medicine, auricular acupuncture is being used in over 1000 addiction treatment centres in North America.
The functions of Meridians
It is by virtue of the complex interweaving network of the channels that Qi, and Blood are transported to every part of the body. All the organs and tissues are nourished, energised and warmed by Qi and Blood circulating through the channel network. Zang Fu (internal organs) are the root of the channels, and the channels themselves are the stems, different body tissues and sense organs are the flowers, e.g. Heart flowers into the tongue.
The Zang Fu are linked to each other through the interconnection amongst the meridians (channels), e.g. the primary meridian of Lung originates in the Stomach, passes through the Large Intestine and diaphragm, whilst the primary channel of the Heart connects with Small Intestine and Lung.
The meridians serve to transmit acupuncture stimulation from the acupoint to the diseased area of the body, rendering acupuncture treatment effective. By stimulating an acupoint through needling, cupping, heat application, pressure or massage, the Qi and Blood of the whole course of the channel may be regulated. (Deadman manual of acupuncture)
It is described, though only briefly, in most comprehensive texts of acupuncture. The procedure for electro-acupuncture is to insert the acupuncture needle as would normally be done, and then attach an electrode to the needle to provide continued stimulation.
Usually each needle is connected with an electrode or two needles can be joined at the handle and then attached to the electrode. Each two wires make an electrical circuit and then the proper frequency is selected. The practitioner then starts to increase the intensity of the stimulus to the maximum tolerance of the patient.
For paralysis and atrophy or induction of labour, usually continuous waves are used. For pain usually intermittent or rise and fall waves are used.
Major applications of Electrical Acupuncture:
1- Severe pain syndromes i.e. knee pain, back pain or sciatica
2- Labour induction
3- Atrophy of muscles and paralysis
Balance Method Acupuncture
This method was developed by Dr. Tan. No matter what disease or symptoms we are treating, physical, mental, or psychological disorders. First we identify the sick meridian(s). Then we choose the meridian(s), to insert needles. Lots of times the balancing meridian(s) are different from the sick meridians(s). For example Gall Bladder meridian of the leg can be used to treat elbow pain since San Jiao Meridian of the arm passes through the elbow.
Japanese Style Acupuncture
The Japanese have changed the way acupuncture is administered on the patients' bodies. The Japanese style is different from the TCM style of needling. The Japanese styles derive mostly from varying interpretations of the Nan Jing. The Japanese introduced the guide tube, the suction pump cup (different from the fire cupping), and silicon coated needles, so they have greatly influenced acupuncture through their technologies.
The Japanese style of acupuncture is much more subtle than TCM. In Japanese style of acupuncture the needles are inserted shallower and the "De Qi" sensation is not necessary. This style gives more importance to the meridians, direction and order of needling. A lot of times this style is focused on the root cause than the local.