western acupuncture

Western acupuncture:

Acupuncture works through 3 Mechanisms: Local, Segmental and Central. Each of them can contribute to the resolution of the pathology.

Central effect: FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Studies have demonstrated acupuncture effect on the pain pathways of the brain. Because of that it may play a role in reducing central sensitization. Also, acupuncture seems to trigger a sequence of events involving the release of endogenous opioid-like substances for instance. As result we talk of acupuncture-induced analgesia.

Segmental effect: needling some points may have a segmental effect, cause of that the stimulation of distal points may induce a strong segmental inhibitory suppressing the pain signal.

Local effect: it is the one caused by the insertion of the needle. Through a mechanical/chemical/vascular/neural effect increases the blood circulation, induces muscle release and reduces pain, swelling and inflammation in the local tissue.

Moreover, as shown in several studies, acupuncture modulates the activities of the ANS (Autonomic Nervous System). In addition, new studies are showing the relationship between ANS dysregulation and several conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Sleep Disorders, Arthritis, etc.

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture

The diagnostic process in TCM

Looking – examination through observation. The clinician observes features of the body, movements, and mannerisms and likely a tongue examination will be carried.

Listening – the sound of someone’s voice provides a window into their health. Practitioners generally classify the voice into these five types: Shout, Laugh, Sing, Weep, Groan.

Touching – part of the examination. The practitioner looks for areas that are: tender or painful; hot or cold; swollen; sweaty; discoloured. Also, as part of the examination can be carried out a Pulse examination.

Asking – the clinician asks several questions regarding sleep, appetite, characteristics of the pain, emotions, etc. They will help to have a more defined picture of the patient’s complaint.

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture

It is a part of the oldest system of medicine. It is based on a completely different diagnostic method and reasoning. Firstly, Traditional Chinese medicine explains that health is the result of a harmonious balance and flow of the Vital energy called “Qi”. Qi is the energy of the body, of the meridians, of food and the universe.

Secondly, within the body, there are two basic types of Qi: Congenital Qi and Acquired Qi.

Congenital Qi is the Qi that we are born with. Acquired Qi is derived from the quality of our lifestyle habits such as:

  • food quality;
  • physical exercise
  • the air that we breathe;
  • the balance of emotions.

Qi is said to flow through 12 main meridians, or pathways, in the human body. These meridians and energy flows are accessible through 350 main acupuncture points in the body.

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang are terms used to describe relative opposite qualities or manifestations of Qi. Everything that is Yin contains some elements of Yang, and everything that is Yang contains some elements of Yin.

Yin refers to aspects or manifestations of Qi that are relative: material, solid, heavy, pale, soft, descending, cold, moist, cooling, dark, passive, quiescent, lethargic, underactive.

Yang refers to aspects or manifestations of Qi that are relative: immaterial, expanding, hollow, light, ascending, hot, dry, warming, bright, aggressive, and active.

When there is an imbalance between the Yin and Yang aspects of the Qi, the pathology onset. Therefore, the aim of the acupuncture,  is to re-establish a balance and a correct flow in this energy to resolve the pathology.

Dry needling

It is another clinical reason for the use of needles. In this case, the needles are usually inserted and manipulated in particular areas called TRIGGER POINTS to release the taut-band in the muscle.
In nutshell, it targets those “knots” that you feel in your muscles.
The insertion of the needle will generate a local effect in the muscle getting rid of these “knots”.

However, it’s important to note dry needling is not the same as acupuncture. It uses similar tools, but that’s where the similarities end.

In conclusion, this treatment improves muscle strength, in the range of movement and the pain condition.

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