What does our service of Medical Acupuncture include if the patient needs it?
We devise a custom treatment plan for each patient. There are no additional costs for anything we provide to you, with the exception of any injections you wish to add to the treatment. Your treatment could possibly include the following:
- A holistic Functional Medicine assessment and diagnosis
- A custom Medical Acupuncture point selection
- Dry Needling
- Cupping (myofascial decompression)
- Electrical Stimulation (TENs)
- K Tape
- Low Level Laser
- Manual Therapy
- Infrared Heat treatment
Why should I choose this service?
What is Traditional Acupuncture?
What is Medical Acupuncture?
Medical Acupuncture is a therapy, based on the physiology and anatomy of the body. Needles are used to manipulate immune and chemical responses. Medical Acupuncture is research-backed and evidence-based holistic medicine.
How long will a Medical Acupuncture treatment take?
How does Medical Acupuncture and Traditional Acupuncture differ?
A Traditional Acupuncturist will diagnose a patient based on classic Chinese Medicine dysfunctions such as imbalances within an energetic organ system and do a treatment based on that Chinese Medicine Diagnosis.
A Medical Acupuncturist will diagnose a patient based on physiological imbalance, endocrine dysfunction, or an anatomical problem and do a treatment based on what research has determined works the best.
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Treatment and Diagnosis differences in Traditional Chinese Medicine vs Western Medicine
Medical Acupuncture and Functional Medicine: The new version of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
Medical Acupuncture is a system that takes what the old Traditional Chinese Acupuncture system proclaims, and rigorously tests the theories and mechanics with double-blinded research, functional MRI investigation, and other objective markers to pair down what kind of treatments work the best. A diagnosis is formed by assessing a person's physical/structural dysfunction, chemical imbalances, and metabolic dysfunction. We also use XRAY, MRIs, blood tests and physical exam to ensure the proper diagnosis.
In Medical Acupuncture we only use the points and treatments that show favorably in research and are evidence-based treatments. Some of these points and treatments might be similar to that of a treatment in the Traditional Chinese Acupuncture model because they proved positive results. Other treatments given in Medical Acupuncture are completely different from a treatment that might be given during a Traditional Chinese Acupuncture session.
During a Medical Acupuncture treatment, we still employ the same Traditional Chinese Medicine principles of looking at the body from a holistic standpoint but instead of using the idea of balancing Qi and Traditional Chinese diagnosis, we use Western Medical terms and diagnostics. This is Functional Medicine. We ask the patient about their physical body and any pain they might be experiencing, any mechanical problems including weakness or balance problems. We will assess for clicking and popping, redness, swelling or structural changes. We ask the patient about their other symptoms that can increase inflammation such as digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, and hormonal problems. We discuss sleep, stress, and energy habits and dysfunction. Eye, ear, nose, throat and head problems are all discussed. Often more than 30 different possible areas of complaints are assessed. We like to know what each person's dietary and exercise habits are and any occupational hazards. We will request and use recent imaging including XRAYS, MRIs and EMG results as well as taking an in-depth look at each person's blood tests. These help us identify what the core problem is and the symptoms arising from those issues. We devise a complete treatment strategy which includes helping reduce symptoms that are causing daily problems as well as addressing the core problem which is what is a true holistic approach. This is a holistic view on disease, just as Traditional Chinese Medicine does, but with a modern understanding and treatment of the body.
Who practices Medical Acupuncture?
Difference between Medical Acupuncture and Dry Needling
Treatment principles of Medical Acupuncture
A Medical Acupuncture protocol is mindfully designed with several potential goals in mind:
- Changing the Hypothalamic/Pituitary/Adrenal endocrine axis by needling in areas that make measurable changes in certain hormones.
- Treat Motor imbalances for post stroke, Parkinsons, and brain injury by needling larger nerve fibers to stimulate certain targeted areas of the brain.
- Affect the Autonomic nervous system to stimulate the Sympathetic nerve chains to speed up organ function, or to stimulate the Parasympathetic nerve chains including the tenth cranial nerve, the vagal branch, to slow down autonomic organ function.
- To stimulate local and systemic immune cytokines that combat allergies, weakened overall immune system, or challenge autoimmunity.
- To induce microtraumas to help boost collagen for torn muscles or for cosmetic problems such as wrinkles.
- To change pain receptors by needling the corresponding dermatomal central nervous system, and needling the local area of pain, and needling the nerves of the peripheral nervous system most distal to the area of pain. This “central, local, distal” theory of the treatment of pain helps stimulate the “opioid peptide metabolism” to help reduce/rid pain for good.
- To stimulate the nervi vasorum, or the nerves around blood vessels, to regulate blood circulation, blood pressure, and lymphatic flow.
- To have a mixture of, or to attempt to help drive down patients’ current and most pressing symptoms, and/or to treat the root cause of their dysfunction.
Another note on Dry Needling
How does Medical Acupuncture actually work?
Medical Acupuncture is the use of a patented medical device - a stainless steel filiform (non-hollow) acupuncture needle. This clever tool is used to excite certain nerves, induce a chemical reaction both locally and in the brain, increase blood flow, contract or relax organs and their functions, and build collagen.
The acupuncture needle inserted at specific areas near nerves causes an alert from local immune cells, which then relay that potential threat message all the way up the peripheral nerves, to the spinal cord, and up into the brain. The brain gets excited and responds to the message that there is a needle in the body by releasing self-soothing hormones, pain-relieving substrates and anti-inflammatory cells. Once those hormones, substrates and cells reach the site of the acupuncture needle, the area of pain is reduced or hormones are stimulated. If the process of Medical Acupuncture is given enough times in a short period of time (usually three treatments in three weeks), the body starts to do this process on it’s own because it is prepared for it. This is a way to trip/stimulate the metabolism in our brains, called an Opioid Peptide Metabolism. Acupuncture helps tell your body/brain to stimulate the types of cells we are aiming to stimulate and have it do it on its own. This is why patients who receive acupuncture a few times eventually have their pain or symptoms be relieved for good.
How many treatments do people need for symptom relief and to make their problems go away for good?
How fast a person responds depends on many factors. If the patient and practitioner have successfully determined the core cause of the problem, and the treatment given is not too light and not too strong then the patient will have a better chance of a positive outcome. In order for acupuncture to be effective, we must have enough certain amino acids, vitamins and minerals present circulating in our system to help carry the signal up to the brain. Endorphins, specifically enkephalins, are targeted to stimulate during acupuncture for pain relief; If a person has a condition that already uses up a lot of endorphins such as Depression, Parkinsons, Huntingtons, Irritable Bowel, Alcoholism, or they eat a diet with low amounts of copper, they might need more treatments that are stronger. Certain neurotransmitters (brain hormones) also help with the outcome of the treatment. If a person is low in serotonin or tryptophan, they might need more treatments. Medical Acupuncture will use these substrates (amino acids, vitamins, minerals, endorphins/enkephalins, and serotonin and tryptophan) then the brain will produce and make more after acupuncture. This is called an Opioid Peptide Metabolism. This positive feedback system is helpful for conditions listed above that make people weaker responders to acupuncture. It certainly doesn't mean people with less amino acids, endorphins and neurotransmitters wont respond to acupuncture, they just need a stronger treatment. All these things are taken into account when consulting with a patient. Ultimately, we don’t know how someone is going to respond until we try.
As a good rule of thumb, we recommend coming in as soon as symptoms appear (the more chronic a problem, the harder it is to treat), and coming at least three times within three weeks to help boost this Opioid Peptide Metabolism.