Acupuncture at the Eastern Medical Center
Acutpuncture Is The Most Effective New Development In American Health Care
Acupuncture has been around 5,000 years, where instead of thin sterile needles, in China they used "stones with sharp edges" (Gao, Duo's Chinese Medicine), WOW! It was actually discovered on the battlefields of ancient China, when wounded warriors, shot by arrowheads, reported they were suddenly relieved of long-standing chronic aliments they used to have. They soon discovered about the energy, Qi, which travels through complex networks in the body, meridians.
Not too long ago, science had determined that human beings are complex bioelectric systems. Energy circulates throughout the body along well-defined pathways. By placing small needles on specific spots along the meridians, called ‘vital points’ or 'acupoints', the acupuncturist is able to balance the Yin and Yang, causing vital-energy to flow, stop, accelerate, slow down or whatever the body needs (Reid, Daniel P.'s The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity), and therefore alleviate pain. Acupuncture , due to its proven effectiveness, has been embraced throughout the world. Acupuncture uses the Theory of Yin Yang and the Meridians to heal.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture is the insertion of needles at physically significant points in the body to stimulate and activate natural processes in the body. Points on the skin along these pathways, called meridians, are energetically connected to specific organs, body structures, and systems. If this energy circulation is disrupted, optimum function is affected and this results in pain or illness. The energy circulation needs to be in balance in order to function properly.
There are two basic methods to balance Yin and Yang in the body: tonification and dispersal. Tonification is when the stimulation of the needles allows more energy to flow to a specific area depleted of energy. Dispersal is breaking up the stagnant Qi that is keeping the smooth flow of Qi running all around the body.
Western medicine prescribes drugs and surgery for the physical body in pain; psychologists are prescribed for the mind in pain. However they are forgetting the third "treasure of life-energy". This is the most important aspect, for life depends on it. Since energy imbalance is the foremost cause of disease, direct manipulation of energy is naturally the foremost cure. Healing using acupuncture points can be stimulated to balance the circulation of energy, which influences the health of the entire being. Acupuncture points can also be stimulated with different methods including: acupuncture, the deepest level of stimulation; acupressure, stimulation with the hands; qigong, stimulation with no touch; and herbology, to balance the chemistry of the body's systems.
The needles used at the Eastern Medical Center are very fine, hair-thin needles. They are disposable needles, used only once. The number of needles used per patient varies with each patient, each illness, and duration of illness. After a thorough diagnosis by the doctors, the needles are administered to the specific and essential acupoints, which will help to restore one's health. As for the question on whether it is painful or not, depends on the patient. Some patients are more sensitive than others, and some acupoints are more sensitive than others. An acupoint (see below) may have a sensation to one person, like a pinch, where as to another person there is no feeling. If one does have sensation, it is often during insertion. The needles are left in the body for 30 minutes, where you feel total relaxation and the smooth circulation of qi throughout the body.
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Theory of Yin Yang & the Meridians
In ancient Chinese Medical theory the universe is a balance of opposing but complimentary forces called Yin and Yang. Yang is anything bright, active, external, or hot. Yin is anything dark, static, internal or cold. The two forces are always in a constant, dynamic interplay which creates, and are created by, the universe of which we are a part of. Life itself is a process of never-ending change from birth to death. Some examples of this universal principle (with Yang listed first and Yin after): day and night, being active during the day and restful at night, if there is external there is internal, if there is hot there is cold, to have warm one has cool, there can not be a male without a female, or the most famous, one can't feel happiness without witnessing sadness, etc. The trick is to balance the two: excess of yin, excess of yang, deficient in yin, or deficient in yang will cause disease. For any book of wisdom to portray the conditions of the universe correctly-and to be useful-it must reflect the process of change. Yin and Yang control Qi, the vital energy that runs through our bodies. It is the delicate, yet constantly changing, balance between Yin and Yang that has the power to cause one to feel ill.
Qi runs just under the surface of the body. It flows both externally (below the surface of the skin) and internally (within the deeper tissues and organs) along definite, orderly pathways throughout the body. These pathways, found in all living creatures, are called "meridians" and "channels". There are 12 meridians, and 12 channels running all along the human body. The system of the meridians are not the same as the circulatory system, rather is more closely related to the nervous system. These routes have been traced and diagramed since ancient times and also using modern scientific research methods. The classics say that health and happiness abound when the Qi flows freely through these pathways in a steady and orderly way, being neither too active (yang) nor too passive (yin). The Qi then vitalizes all the cells, tissues, organs, and systems of the body, and integrates them in function.
Acupoints are points where the Qi flow comes to the surface of the body. Scientifically speaking, these points are essentially points of high electrical resistance. They act somewhat like amplifiers, passing the Qi along from one point to another. The meridians and the channels are the transmission lines along which the Qi flows. These points and lines are not visible to the eye. (Teeguarden, Iona. Acupressure Way of Health).
Bad health occurs when Qi gets out of balance and doesn't flow smoothly. To restore flow, the acupuncturist inserts needles, the acupressurist stimulates, or the qigong master activates the Qi, in any of 3,000 points along the meridians, depending on which specific meridian you are deficient or in excess of. The idea is to re-establish the Yin-Yang balance and promote the free flow of Qi.
Certain meridians are identified with organs such as the bladder or liver, and the points all along such meridians-- even in the hands and feet-- are capable of affecting the associated internal organ. Stimulating these points is said to balance and restore the flow of qi.
Everything in the body can be looked at as Yin or Yang. Keep in mind that the key in Chinese medicine is to understand that the body functions as a whole. It is the whole body's balance of Yin and Yang that is vital to one's wellness, not just the painful areas. Therefore, to treat one's illness the whole body must be treated, not just the symptoms.
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Acupuncture is Used As A Natural Pain Killer
Acupuncture has a way of communicating to the brain via different meridian systems to effectively heal the body and be pain free. Here our little patient is receiving a treatment of acupuncture along with electrical stimulation to improve the flow of Qi to the designated areas. You can read more about acupuncture analgesia and it's scientific effects.
An explanation proposed by Western scientists is that acupuncture may trigger the release of natural pain- killing substances within the body called endorphins, thus blunting the perception of pain. It may also alter the body's output of neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin and norepinephrine, and of inflammation- causing substances such as prostaglandins.
American Health October 1987
- Acupuncture stimulates nerves to send mild pain messages to the spinal cord, which in turn releases pain-blocking chemicals called dinorphin and metenkephalin (both related to endorphin-neurotransmitters involved with pain perception).
- The spinal cord sends impulses to the midbrain, the second region of acupuncture activity. The midbrain sends other pain-blocking neurotransmitters (serotonin and norepinephrine) down to the spinal cord.
- The spinal cord may stimulate a third area - the pituitary gland - to release pain blockers and anti-inflammatory agents into the blood stream and brain. "The result is that pain does not get through".
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Acupuncture at the Eastern Medical Center
We use a specialized form of acupuncture at the Eastern Medical Center- electro acupuncture. This is a new concept in healing, integrating conventional acupuncture with modern technology. Its uniqueness is a therapeutic apparatus, as seen in the picture, which transmits electrical currents of different characteristics through the acupuncture needles to the patient, in order to give symptomatic relief and therapeutic results. The Chinese found that the treatment by electro-acupuncture could increase the number of white blood corpuscles (neutrophil and polymorphonuclear) and that their phagocytic actions on germs were also greatly increased.
The electrical stimulation is applied to only certain points, depending on the symptom/ disease of the patient. Points can be selected along the meridian, trigger region, or nerve pathway of the affected area/s. However, points must be in pairs to set up a circuit, in order to produce an effective stimulation. The identity of the vital force of Qi with electric energy opens up exciting possibilities in diagnostic and therapeutic medicine. (More information can be found in Pedro Chan's book Electro-Acupuncture and its Clinical Applications in Therapy). The stimulation is not painful, and is controlled only by the patient. Of course, if this is not an option you want, just tell the acupuncturist.
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A type of acupuncture applied only to the ears. Ear acupuncture therapy is to treat diseases by stimulating certain points of the auricle (ear) with needles. It is held in Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM, that the ear is not a separate organ but closely connected with channels and collaterals and zang-fu organs, and is a part of the body as an organic whole. Have you ever heard that your ear is like an upside down fetus? There is a whole set of points in the ear which correspond to each part on your body. The upside down fetus has to do with where the location of the acupuncture points are on the ear. The lobe of the ear would represent the head of the fetus, the spine end of the ear would represent the spine of the person. This is where auricular therapy comes from. In normal conditions, a relative balance and co-ordination is maintained among the physiological functions of the various parts of the body. Once an imbalance and incoordination are present and channel stasis occurs, reactions can be detected at the corresponding areas on the auricle. Clinically, diseases of various parts of the body can be cured by needling the corresponding auricular points. This may promote free circulation of qi, or energy and blood in the channels and collaterals and adjust the zang-fu organs (zang-fu are the yin yang organs of the body sometimes also called depots and palaces of the body).
Patients using acupuncture for weight loss will get auricular therapy, or acupuncture in the ear. It is known that the vagus nerve is the largest of the twelve nerves and is responsible for respiratory, circulatory and even digestive functions. The vagus nerve can be stimulated in the ear. Communication to the brain, via nerve, enable fast messages to reactors. Stimulation at certain points along the meridian delivers messages to the brain to activate smooth muscles in the gut and stimulate the secretion of digestive juices. The result is a faster metabolism, and satisfaction of the appetite with smaller amounts of food. Note- Check out the Treatments page for information on how ear needles are used to quit smoking and for further information on weight loss.
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