Acupuncture is one of the oldest practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture dates back over 8000 years, and emphasizes that life should be lived in harmony with the Tao (a path, principle, or flow of energy that drives the universe and everything that exists). The practice is proven to be an effective alternative to many prescription drugs and research acknowledges that Acupuncture is beneficial for the treatment of menstrual and menopausal symptoms, infertility, to manage pain, to ease the side effects of chemotherapy and to strengthen the immune system. Findings have also shown that Acupuncture should be considered a valid treatment for all types of chronic pain for example arthritis, chronic back pain, anxiety, headaches/migraines, Fibromyalgia etc.
TCM & ANATOMICAL ACUPUNCTURE
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has formed a unique system to diagnose and cure illness. The TCM approach involves the understanding of the human body and the treatment of illness based primarily on the diagnosis and differentiation of syndromes. TCM treats Zang-Fu organs as the core of the human body. Tissue and organs are connected through a network of channels and blood vessels found within the body. The core philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the concept that Qi flows through the body using these networks of pathways referred to as Meridians.
Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment starts with the analysis of the entire system, and then focuses on the correction of pathological changes through readjusting the functions of the Zang-Fu organs. Evaluation of a syndrome not only includes the cause, mechanism, location, and nature of the disease, but also the confrontation between the pathogenic factor and body resistance. Treatment is not based only on the symptoms, but differentiation of syndromes. The clinical diagnosis and treatment in Traditional Chinese Medicine are mainly based on the Yin-Yang and Five element theories.
From a TCM perspective, Acupuncture works by restoring balance to the meridian channel system; draining areas where too much Qi is accumulated and filling up areas of insufficient flow. Where there is flow, there is no pain; where there is accumulation, there is pain. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine surgical-grade needles at various points along these meridians to strengthen weak Qi or remove blockages to restore proper circulation of Qi. This then helps the body return to a state of balance and well-being. Acupuncture does not cause any pain, but will create a unique physical sensation know as “de qi” (arrival of Qi).
DRY NEEDLING (IMS)
Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is an effective treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin. From a Western perspective, acupuncture needles are thought to stimulate a local immune response at the points of insertion, literally pointing the way to where the body needs attention. Pain is often due to soft tissues becoming hypertonic, creating what we know as knots or trigger points in the muscle. This technique uses needles similar to the needles used in Acupuncture to find and diagnose muscle shortening within deep muscles
During treatment our R.Ac uses a “dry” needle, which is a needle without medication or injection. The acupuncture needle is able to enter the muscle belly precisely in the trigger point and ‘turn it off’, therefore relaxing the muscle and relieving the pain. The needle used is very thin and most people do not feel it penetrate the skin. If your muscle is normal, the needle is painless. However, if your muscle is supersensitive and shortened, you’ll feel a peculiar sensation – like a muscle cramp, twitch or spasm. This discomfort is caused by the muscle grasping the needle. Patients soon learn to recognize and welcome this sensation. They call it a “good” or "positive" pain because it soon disappears and is followed by a feeling of ease and relief.
Dry needling or Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) shouldn't be painful, it has been described as uncomfortable if anything. Supersensitivity and muscle shortening from neoropathic pain cannot be operated on. Pain killers and other analgesic pills only masks the pain. The treatment goal is to release muscle shortening which presses on and irritates the nerve therefore desensitizing the area and releasing the persistent pull of shortened muscles.
Treatments are usually once a week (but can be spread out to two weeks) to allow time between treatments for the body to heal itself. The number of treatments you may need depends on several factors such as the duration of the problem, extent of your condition, how much scar tissue there is and how quickly your body can heal.