Diseased states occur frequently in the body for many reasons. They can included trauma, toxicity, or dysfunction of a body’s internal machine. Our emotional state can also affect the function of the body (and naturally, our state of mind is affected by the physical state of our bodies). Internal physical and emotional problems can manifest externally, in skin and muscle tissue. This can leave you with sensitive and/or painful tense areas. Traditional Chinese Medicine created a system of treatment that uses these points both for diagnosis and treatment. Acupuncture and other traditional therapies affect the body’s internal condition by manipulating these outer layers of tissue. The mechanism of acupuncture have been explained by Oriental medicine for hundreds of years using traditional ideas, while modern medicine is really just beginning to propose explanations for its effectiveness.

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A Viewpoint From Modern Medicine

These are a few of the known mechanisms that modern allopathic medicine recognizes. There are still other possibilities suggested from ongoing research.

Biochemical Defense Mechanism: The tiny prick of an acupuncture needle creates a site of injury at the cellular level. Once the body feels the injury, it releases chemicals important to cellular repair. The tissue and cellular biochemical defenses are initiated by the acupuncture needle. This helps to cut back local inflammation and relieve pain.

Endorphins: Acupuncture and tuina stimulate your body to provide its own pain-relieving chemicals called “endorphins”, which are also known as “anti-stress hormones.”

Gate Control Theory: The spinal cord sends the peripheral pain location to the brain. There is really a mechanism (or “gate”) inside the spinal cord, which stops pain messages from getting to the brain. Acupuncture can close this ‘gate’ while using manual manipulation of the needle lessening the feeling of pain. Endorphins also act on these gates which enable it to block pain.

Electrical Conduction: It has been noted that acupuncture points have dissimilar electrical potentials than other areas of the body. It’s not exactly known why these different electric points exist. Research has suggested that acupuncture impacts electrical conduction within the body. Research into this phenomenon continues.

Autonomic Nervous System: Coordinating and the conduction of the body’s involuntary functions are control by this arrangement. Acupuncture and tuina “activate” the conserving, healing function of a autonomic nervous system while overriding the fight-or-flight function which, when overactive, puts significant amounts of damage on our bodies and minds.

Trigger Point Theory:
Through clinical research, western physicians have discovered specific points of tension in the body that, when released, are remarkably effective in the alleviation of musculo-skeletal pain. These points on tension almost match perfectly with all the acupuncture points in Chinese medicine. Colorado acupuncturists are successfully injecting solutions in these Trigger Points. The solutions are usually vitamins, saline, or herbal solutions and have worked well.

An Oriental Medicine Perspective

Oriental remedies see its effectiveness as an energetic model instead of the biochemical model of Western medicine. Ancient oriental physicians proposed that our energetic life-force, called Qi (“Chee”) in Chinese, circulates along channels or meridians in the body and links all of a body’s parts and functions. Qi is a whole body phenomenon affecting a body along with the mind. Qi helps to maintain blood circulating, fights illness and warms the body. When healthy, Qi flows easily but when it’s blocked, or excessive or too little, symptoms and sickness follow.

In treatment, the aim of the therapist is always to correct the flow of Qi by inserting needles or making use of other techniques to specific points over the channels. Changes in functions of the body are achieved by doing this. Changes in Qi precede physical change, so acupuncture and tuina can act as preventive medicine, correcting energy flow before a significant illness occurs. If physical change has already occurred, it can be reversed by adjusting the flow of Qi. Braxton Ponder L.Ac. is the Acupuncturist at Ponder Natural Health, 475 Lewis Street, Suite 207, Pagosa Springs CO 81147. (970) 264-1172. Click to find Pagosa Springs chinese massage.

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