Acupuncture and Pain
|Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing developed over thousands of years as
part of the traditional medicine of China, Japan and other Eastern countries.
Acupuncture's origins lie in China and date back to over 5,000 years ago; today there are
over 3,000,000 practitioners worldwide. The majority of these 3,000,000 practitioners
practice in the East; however, during the last half of the 20th century the number of
persons studying acupuncture in the West has been steadily growing.
practice of acupuncture began with the discovery that the stimulation of specific areas on
the skin affects the functioning of certain organs of the body.
It has evolved into a system of medicine
that restores and maintains health by the insertion of fine needles into acupuncture
points just beneath the body surface. These points are in very specific locations and lie
on channels of energy.
Moxibustion, the warming
of acupuncture points through the use of smoldering herbs, is often used as a supplement
and the needles may also be stimulated using a small electric current.
Acupuncture needle being inserted on the
hand of the patient at point LI3: SAN JIAN
Ophthalmalgia, lower toothache, sore throat, trigeminal neuralgia, redness and swelling of
fingers and back of hand.
is based on the belief that health is determined by a balanced flow of Qi, also referred
to as "Chi." Qi is circulated through the blood stream via fourteen energy ducts
called meridians. Each one of these pathways or channels through which Qi flows is linked
to an internal organ system. There are over 1,000 acupoints within the meridian system
that can be stimulated to enhance the flow of Qi. Acupuncture diagnoses illness by seeking
blockages in the body's meridians.
Special needles are inserted into the
acupoints, which are located just beneath the epidermis. In theory, inserting these
needles helps correct the flow of energy within the body and thus relieves pain and
placed on the face, acupuncture points promote sinus drainage and open up nasal passages.
Most patients of acupuncture will need several sessions, which cost about $75 to $100 per
session. Acupuncture practitioners work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private
offices. Acupuncture needles are usually inserted to a depth of about a quarter of an inch
into the skin. The therapist gently twists or twirls them for up to 10 minutes, leaving
them in five to 20 minutes longer; or stimulates them with a weak electrical current; or
heats them with a burning herb such as mugwort (see moxibustion).
|Mini-feature: Auriculotherapy (Ear Acupuncture):
the earliest use of ear acupuncture dates back to ancient China, auriculotherapy did not
develop until the 1950's in France when Paul Nogier,M.D., discovered that the placement of
tiny pins on the external part of the ear, specifically the auricle, could stimulate the
immune system to restore health to the many parts of the body (not just the ear). These
needles have the effect of rebalancing the flow of energy and affecting acupuncture points
everywhere on the body. Shortly thereafter, he devised a list of thirty auricular points
that could neurologically affect different layers of skin tissue. He captivated the
Chinese peoples' intellect so much so that he was proclaimed the "father of modern
ear acupuncture" in China.
Acupuncture reflex points on the ear are often stimulated electrically, or by
lasers, magnets, or acupressure (ear massage). The ear is a very suitable location for
acupuncture needles to be placed because of its strong connection to the central nervous
system and because several meridians run right through the ear.
Auriculotherapy is popular in drug treatment/rehabilitation programs because it
helps patients deal with the problem of withdrawal. It is used in methadone programs, and
to help drug addicts (especially cocaine addicts), alcoholics, and cigarette smokers break
the habit. Its main benefits, however, are its abilities to alleviate pain and to cure
Although ear acupuncture has blossomed in China and Japan, it has been slow to
catch on in the U.S.A. Virtually every week new research studies are being made public in
Asia, solidifying Dr. Nogier's findings and adding more information to the discipline.
Yet, despite the growing popularity of Acupuncture in America, auriculotherapy has failed
to gain notoriety. Perhaps the declaration by the World Health Organization in 1989 that
auriculotherapy is a viable medical therapy will help gain followers in North America.
- Migraine and other
neuralgia and other face pains
- Bell's palsy (face
- Meniere's disorder
- Post herpetic
- Carpal tunnel
- Travel sickness
- Phantom limb pain
- Paralysis of leg
or arm persisting after a stroke (cerebral thrombosis)
2. MUSCULO -
- Neck and low back
- Frozen shoulder
- Tennis elbow
- Painful joints of
- Osteoarthritis of
knees, or hips or other joints
- Heel spurs
- Acute sports
- Wound healing
- Pain after
- Painful prominent
- Menstruation pains
- Other pelvic pains
- Flushes especially
- Painful nodular
Preparation for childbirth
- Irregular or
- Wrinkles or
bagginess of face
- Various other skin
- Aching varicose
- Restless legs
claudication (pain on walking)
- Hay fever
- Cystitis (especially in the elderly)
- Early prostate
- Mouth ulcers
- Colitis or other
- Stomach ulcers
weakness after a severe illness
- Tired eyes
- High blood
- vaginal pain
(especially after an illness)
Herbs are used in the acupuncture technique known as moxibustion.
in the West, acupuncture has been misleadingly publicized as being helpful in only
specific conditions, such as the relief of pain. It is, in fact extremely effective in a
wide variety of conditions through its power to stimulate the mind's and body's own
western medicine has become less skeptical of the benefits of this ancient Chinese
holistic therapy in recent years. More and more doctors are acknowledging its
effectiveness in treating a variety of chronic conditions (see Common Cures), despite
their lack of knowledge about how it actually works.
acupuncture case history occurred about 20 years ago at the University of Shanghai. A
28-year-old woman was preparing for open-heart surfery when she was placed on the
operating table, wide awake and smiling. The woman's only "anesthetic," as the
surgeon proceeded to open her chest, was an open acupuncture needle in her right earlobe
that was connected to an electrical source. The woman never flinched. There was no mask on
her face, no intravenous needle in her arm. This account proves the effectiveness of
acupuncture in pain relief.
|Links & Resources:
|Alternative Medicine: The Definitive
Guide; Compiled by the Burton Goldberg Group; Future Medicine Publishing, Inc.;
Puyallup, Washington; copyright 1994.
|i Journal. "Interactive
Acupuncture Chart" Internet. 1998. (Jun. 1998). Once you find the acupoint you
want on the virtual body, click on it, and it's location, indication, and name are
College 2230 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 231-0161
|DFW-Texas.com Home Page
PARADE Magazine; Sunday, August 16, 1998; article entitled "Acupuncture Goes
Mainstream (Almost)," by Isadore Rosenfeld, M.D.