How Acupuncture Can Boost Your Athletic Performance

As a professional or amateur athlete, you want to find a faster way to recover from injuries and from fat after big competitions. You want to improve your performance as much as possible in a perfectly natural way. These goals are perfectly achievable with the use of acupuncture. This therapy coming from the traditional Chinese medicine has been proven to work effectively and safely. Find out how it will help you out.

Pain Relief

The pain relieving effect of acupuncture has been scientifically proven. The treatment stimulates the brain to produce and release natural chemical compounds which work like painkillers. In this way, you get to feel better more quickly. When you do not feel pain, you can perform better and concentrate better as well.

Faster Recovery

You will recover more quickly from injuries, viral infections such as the flu and muscle soreness, which occurs naturally after intestinal workouts and after each game or competition. The insertion of needles into certain points of the body stimulates the production of a small protein molecule which joins white blood cells to the injured area. That way, the immune system repairs the damage caused to the body more quickly and efficiently. You will be back on your feet sooner than you think so your preparation for the next big athletic event will not suffer very much.

Acupuncture will help you immensely when you are fighting the flu or another viral infection. The white blood cells will do an even better job in killing the pathogens in your body. Similarly, muscle soreness will go away more quickly with this therapy. A survivor recovery time is what every athlete dreams of. The best part is that you will not have to use any drugs and worry about getting into trouble because of them.

Increased Stamina and Endurance

This ancient therapy helps to increase the levels of nitric oxide in the body. This compound dilates the blood vessels and lead to improved blood flow. When more blood reaches your muscles, tendons and joints, you will be stronger and you will keep this strength for a longer period of time.

Mental Improvement

This treatment does an excellent job in providing relief from stress and anxiety. This is achieved through the stimulation of the brain to produce more of the hormone of happiness – endorphin. The therapy contributes to better sleep and this will bring you even greater relaxation. When you are more relaxed, you will be able to focus even better on your performance. You will enjoy increased mental alertness as well.

You should definitely use acupuncture for enhancing your athletic performance.

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How Acupuncture Treats Back Pain

It has been estimated that 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain during their lifetime. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), acupuncture is an effective treatment for upper, middle, and lower back pain. In its official Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials report , the international health organization explored how acupuncture has been shown in clinical studies to help treat more than 40 different conditions. In Western society, we're often led to believe that there are few options for back pain – especially if chiropractic care or traditional medicine fails to bring relief. Before you give up hope, here's a closer look at how acupuncture works and how you can use it to eliminate pain and improve mobility.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a complete medical system that originated in China more than 3,000 years ago and has been consistently practiced since. At a practical level, acupuncture inclusions very thin needles being inserted into strategic points in the body at varying depths. The needles are typically painless going in, or patients feel a minor pricking sensation. In some cases, tension may be released from the point of insertion if it's being used to treat a particularly acute condition.

How effective is acupuncture at restoring back pain?

Recent peer-reviewed studies have shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment for back pain. One study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine demonstrated that 60% of patients treated with acupuncture had noticed improvements and 65% continued to experience improvements one year later. Further, both the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians recommend acupuncture for back pain relief.

How does acupuncture treat lower back pain?

In terms of Western medicine's perspective, lower back pain can be caused by a number of issues ranging from muscle strain to spinal issues. From the perspective of Eastern medicine and acupuncture, the body has energy (called qi) that flows along pathways. There are more than 2,000 identifiable points along these pathways that can be stimulated to release blockages or change patterns within the body. From a scientific perspective, this is understood to encourage the release of chemicals that dull pain and promote well-being.

What can I expect during my first visit?

During your first visit, your licensed acupuncturist will conduct a full exam. This will include taking a medical history, and asking you a variety of questions. Some are likely to be familiar from your annual physical while others may be unfamiliar. Your physical exam may include taking your pulse and examining your tongue, which are two common steps in Eastern-style medical diagnosis. Depending on your situation, other steps may be taken to gather more information. Your acupuncturist will then recommend a series of treatments, including the number of times to come each week or each month and a general duration or length of treatment.

During your first visit, you'll often receive your first acupuncture session. Future visits will then be scheduled. While the points used to treat the back varies broadly depending upon the cause of your issues and your unique situation, often points are used throughout the back, buttocks, and above the back of the knee for treatment. Discuss any questions about your treatment pattern or plan with your acupuncturist.

Life with back pain is unpleasant. In addition to dealing with chronic pain, many people find their activities are limited either due to mobility issues or fear of making the pain worse. Visiting a licensed acupuncturist in your area has been shown to be one of the most effective strategies for eliminating back pain and keeping it at bay over the long-term.

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Explore Acupuncture For Plantar Fasciitis

Recently, I had a client who was suffering from plantar fasciitis diagnosed by their healthcare provider. The pain in the morning was so severe that sometimes he could not make it to the bathroom. Pain would start under the arch on his left foot and he described it like thousands of needles were pinching him at that specific anatomical location all at the same time. He also said that the severe pain would last for about 20 minutes, and after that he would experience occasional discomfort during the day.

After the initial consultation, I explained to him about acupuncture and the theory behind an acupuncture treatment. I also explained about the needles because that was his burning concern. Are the needles clean? Did anyone use them before? I explained that needles are a single use sterile medical instrument recognized by the FDA. In the state of Illinois it is required to use the needles for one time use only. As I talked with him I showed him what the acupuncture needle looked like and how it is packed in a single tube. I showed him how we dispose of used needles. I saw him visibly relax after the explanation. As I started his treatment by checking his blood pressure and pulse, he soon relaxed enough to accept the needling without concern.

Careful palpation on his foot shown very sensitive points along the spleen and the kidney meridian. I started treatment with some points for relaxation so he could benefit the most from the complete treatment. I inserted needles in the appropriate acupuncture points, attached electro-stimulation and waited in the room for a few minutes until he relaxed. After that, I left the room. About half an hour later I came back to take the needles out and he was sleeping. As I approached the acupuncture table, he woke up and he said “If someone told me that I would sleep with these needles stuck in my body I would not believe it but I slept”. I replied that it is very common to sleep through the treatment. I gave him some home care instructions and he scheduled his next visit.

At his next visit he was quieter and more relaxed, he slept through the treatment. After his fourth visit I asked him does he have any more pain in the morning or through the day and he said he had no more pain. After the second visit his pain disappeared and it did not come back. He said he had not told me about his sleeping problems. Nearby, he could not stay sleep longer than two hours at a time per night. And now he can sleep through the night without any problems.

I reminded him of our conversation at the first visit when I told him that acupuncture injuries the whole person inside and out and the benefits are seen in many symptoms a person may have. He continues to come and see me on a regular basis for his “tune-up” or maintenance treatment.

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Acupuncture Closely Revealed

The significance of a person's chi in upholding bodily and mental health is the foundation of acupuncture. A person's chi is believed to exist in every living creature and it runs in the body following specific pathways. If the chi is blocked, then that is when health problems occur which result in persistent headaches, fever, weakness, muscles pain or worst and serious health conditions.

A Deeper Explanation of Acupuncture

The philosophy and practice of acupuncture began in ancient China. During the Old Stone Age of China, stones were designed into knives for medical purposes. This happened more than ten thousand years ago. Several years later, in the era of New Stone Age, needles were always made from stones aimed to be utilized for similar therapeutic purpose. It was found and proved further when stone needles of the same type were unearthed which were believed to exist during the New Stone Age.

Basically, the chi runs continuously through the 14 pathways of the body. The pathways are referred to as meridian points. There is a need of balance between the force of yin and yang so that the course of the chi will run through the body without any obstruction. Yin and yang is an ancient Chinese philosophy that represents the strengths of the universe – yin symbols feminine strengths, while yang represents the masculine. It is believed that everything in the universe has both yin and yang to attain harmony.

Neverheless, chi can not liberally flow through the body if yin and yang are not balanced. Thus, the meridian points through which pathways of chi flow, have to be stimulated. Stimulation is done through insertion thin hair-like disposable needles in particular areas of the body to influence the harmony of the body and to provide healing.

For excellent therapy sessions, patients should consult a certified and trained acupuncturist who has the ability to carry out superior treatments. To be certified, the practitioner has to undergo training and obtain a license. Neverheless, you have to be careful in choosing a competent practitioner who has enough practice to preclude the possibility of jeopardizing the effect of the entire procedure. Today, it is important to verify the credentials of the practitioner to make sure an effective and safe treatment will be achieved.

What This Ancient Method Does

Relaxation is the effect effect that a patient will encounter after the treatment. As frequently pinpointed, stress is considered as the main precursor of physical ailments. When the treatment is introduced to certain points of the body where relaxation and harmony flows, it may result in the patient becoming more at ease after stimulation.

Aside from relaxation, through acupuncture, pain control is increased. Although, in the course of the session, patients will normally feel minimal pain while the thin needles are inserted through the body in a gradual manner. The depths of placing needles vary on most cases which depend on the health requirements of the patient. The patient will feel pressure pain as the needles are inserted into the right depth; however, the whole procedure is not necessarily painful.

This technique is also recommended for patients who suffer from chemotherapy fatigue and nauseaa as well as pain after undergoing surgical operations. It was also found that this technique is very effective for migraines, back pains and menstrual cramps.

Variations of Conventional Acupuncture

Conventional acupuncture hazards; these include auriculo-therapy and staple-puncture. Auriculo-therapy, otherwise known as ear acupuncture, is a practice which believes that the map for all main organs of the body is found in the ear. Therefore, in this technique, needles are placed in certain points around the ear and ear cartilage in order to treat particular organs like kidneys, liver or heart. On the other hand, staple-puncture is usually used in smoking cessation. The technique places staples on any parts of the ear area for a certain period in order to provide stimulation.

Undoubtedly, there is increasing evidence which proves that the alternative Oriental practice can compete with any modern form of treatment. This traditional practice may be good for the many people who are seeking an exceptionally recognized and long-established therapy. Acupuncture may be an alternative treatment for any one.

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How Acupuncture Can Relieve Arthritic Pain

Arthritis is an inflammation of the musculoskeletal system, particularly of the joints. It is a growing health problem, which is one of the leading causes of disability around the world. In fact, in this country alone, over 44 million Americans are already suffering from arthritis.

To better understand it, you have to look how the joints work and are designed. A joint is where two bones are connected and move on one another. They are held together by ligaments, which serve as elastic bands that allow the joint to extend and flex in place. And to prevent these bones from rubbing together, two bones are covered by cartilage. The space between the joint, on the other hand, is filled with synovial fluid that serves as oil to lubricate and nourish the joints.

If a person has arthritis, there is something wrong with their joints. This can be caused by many factors. It could be because of constant wear and tear, inflammation due to autoimmune, an infection, or a combination of all.

Over the years, many myths have been formulated when it came to arthritis. For one, many believed that nothing much could be done about it. The truth is, new treatments are available in the pipeline, and relief is possible.

How Does Acupuncture Treat Arthritis Pain?

Far from the synthetic relief of painkiller pills and steroids, there are numerous traditional treatments that can provide relief for arthritis. One of these treatments is acupuncture.

Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old treatment that originated in mainland China. It uses disposable hair-thin steel needles that are strategically inserted into the skin to stimulate the 14 major meridian points on the body. These meridians are believed to be the body's energy source that helps promote well-being and balance. And as the needles are inserted, acupuncturists are energized by electricity to stimulate the body's natural ability of healing. Various needling techniques may be applicable depending upon the severity of illness.

In the case of arthritis, however, acupuncture is an effective pain management for this chronic pain. The number of sessions and the duration of the treatment depend on the pervasiveness and severity of the patient's case.

Acupuncture can effectively promote pain control for arthritis in three ways. First, is the fact that it can help inhibit the soreness and pain naturally. Experiments with acupuncture show that it can increase high levels of endorphins, the body's natural opiate for pain. They are the same substance released when a person is happy, or the same natural high feeling you get after eating comfort foods like chocolate or right after having satisfying sexual interference.

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that affect both the brain and the spine. When released, stress is lessened and pain is relieved naturally. It also can improve blood circulation and boost the immune system. Through improved blood flow, all parts of the body are properly oxygenated, making them function well, including joints that are affected by arthritis.

Research has also found that acupuncture can block pain pathways. When needles are inserted into the skin, the brain is stimulated to release adenosine, a natural painkiller of the body that is an effective pain management tool. Adenosine controls internal processes on the surface of the skin, and they act as neurotransmitters that slow down the transmission of pain signals. It also has a sedating effect that makes the patient feel sleepy, instead of feeling the pain. Acupuncture also triggers the brain to release endorphins and serotonin, which block the pain pathways.

Lastly, acupuncture can manipulate trigger points. These are muscles that become tightened, which causes pain. It can be tender when touched and can send a cramping and burning sensation. Trigger points develop through repetitive strain, an injury, poor posture, and through stress.

Through acupuncture, the natural balance of muscles can be returned. It is a non-invasive way of promoting involuntary twitching of muscles, which immediately decrees tightness and soreness. And by bringing back balance to the meridian of the body, nerve conduction and lymphatic drainage can be experienced, changes that provide effects to the overall physical and mental health of the patient, relieving them from chronic arthritic pain.

Yes, acupuncture can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, including arthritis, but it should not be used as the sole treatment. Far from its holistic approach with minimal side effects, patients must also consider taking part in regular exercises as it can promote endurance and resistance against diseases, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Healthy eating habits, good posture, proper stress management, and considerable meditation are also key factors to prevent and treat pain from arthritis.

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How to Get the Best Acupuncture Treatment

Most people carry out intensive research before they choose an acupunct specialist to treat them. They focus on things like recommendations, experience and certification. These are extremely important factors, but there are also other things, which you need to look for and which will help you get the best results from your treatment. Find out what these are.

Choose a service at a convenient location.

In order for the acupuncture treatment to produce satisfactory results, the typical period is 3 weeks. For some conditions, like depression or smoking cessation, the treatment can last for over 3 months. Given all this, it makes sense to choose a specialist which office you can reach easily and quickly after work. That way, you will always be on time for your appointments and you will be adequately relaxed. These things will certainly help you make the most out of the treatment.

Make sure you feel good about the facility.

With acupuncture, important nerve centers in your body are stimulated. If you are fully relaxed during the treatment, you will enjoy maximum stimulation and the maximum possible benefit from the treatment. That is why you need to feel at ease in the treatment facility. It would be best if you can literally feel at home. You should pay a visit to the facility in advance to see how you feel. You should expect to find excellent hygiene, relaxed environment, comfortable changing rooms and friendly staff.

Establish a personal relationship with your acupuncturist.

Since the treatment is ongoing and you need to feel perfectly relaxed to get the best results, you will benefit greatly from establishing a relationship with the therapist. That way, you will feel more comfortable about discussing your condition and your concerns and about asking questions as well. You can get more individual treatment advice as well.

Coordinate acupuncture with other treatments.

This therapy is not known to have any side effects or to interfere with any other treatments or medications. Still, you will only benefit from informing your medical doctor about this therapy and your therapist about the other treatments. That way, they will be able to coordinate their strategies and work towards a common goal. This is extremely important when it comes to serious conditions, those requiring complex treatments and those affecting the skin.

Use these tips to make the most out of your acupuncture treatment. You should try to be patient and to stay relaxed to get the results which you want.

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How Does Acupuncture Really Work to Provide Pain Relief?

Every year thousands of people resort to acupuncture treatment in order to get relief from chronic or acute pain. Most of them swear by its effectiveness. But what does science have to say on the matter? Can this therapy be considered as an effective universal treatment? Let's find out by looking at the main viewpoints and the most recent research findings.

Chinese Medicine Explanation

According to the ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture works to release the blockages preventing the free flow of the internal body energy called Chi. Each needle is inserted into a prejudice meridian point. When this is done, it works to relieve the pressure in this point. As a result, the Chi energy can move freely along the relevant meridian and around the entire body. In this way, the patient feels better both physically and mentally.

Modern Medicine Explanation

The modern Western medicine does not accept the theory that there is an internally flowing energy and that this energy travels along special meridians or channels. However, modern doctors and researchers agree that the meridian points are really special. These are unique trigger points. When they are pressed, pain radiates away from the center. In this way, it is actually defused and the patient feels relief.

The meridian or trigger points are special for one other reason. They are directly linked to major nerves centers in the body. Through the insertion of the needles, these nerves are naturally stimulated. As a result, the body releases endorphins. These neurotransmitters are often referred to as hormones of happiness. They make you feel physically relaxed and have a stimulating, refreshing effect at the same time. They help for pain reduction and make you feel good overall.

The Latest Scientific Research

One of the latest studies on acupuncture was carried out by leading German researchers in major European hospitals. They research revealed that this therapy simulates the secretion of a certain type of chemokine known as CXCL-10. This is a tiny protein molecule which works to attract white blood cells to a particular cell or group of cells which have been affected by a virus, bacterium or another kind of external threat.

Via this small molecule, the needle therapy stimulates the response of the immune system and helps to produce an anti-inflammatory effect. As inflammation is reduced, pain is naturally relieved. This new research explains why the therapy is highly effective for arthritis and similar inflammatory conditions.

The medical and scientific evidence that acupuncture is highly effective for pain relief is growing all the time. The best thing which you can do is to try it.

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Treating Pain With Acupuncture – Getting Relief Where Nothing Else Works

Pain can be life altering, as any sufferer can tell you. It changes personalities, erodes relationships, impedes physical activity, and blocks a person's enjoyment of life. It's a huge societal drain, with countless work hours sacrificed. Pain management, in all its manifestations, is a multi-billion dollar industry.

It is no wonder that one of the most common reasons people seek acupuncture treatment is for the resolution of pain. Indeed, acupuncture typically is a very successful modality for pain relief. Even main stream medical doctors are beginning to recommend it when the prognosis of their patients falls beyond the boundaries of conventional medical care. Western medicine basically has only a few options in dealing with pain – rarely surgery, drugs and physical therapy. These options can be very powerful and healing and I would highly recommend them where appropriate. My general philosophy about medical intervention, however, is that it is most wise to start with the least invasive methods first, saving the most invasive measures as the last resort. All too often this process gets reversed. In my fantasy world of truly integrative medical care, acupuncture would be considered as a viable treatment, either primary or adjunctive, very early in the process. Determining at what point and to what extent acupuncture should be part of a treatment strategy depends upon the nature of the source of the pain, as I will later detail more fully.

Beginning a discussion on how and why acupuncture gives relief beyond the Western approach requires a brief exploration of pain from a Chinese medical point of view. In Chinese medicine, we refer the functioning of the body to the role of the Qi. Qi is very difficult to translate, but generally is described as vital energy that flows through the body, much like the blood circulatory system. Freedom from pain requires the unimpeded flow of Qi in a continuous circuit. Think of a moving water system like a stream. If nothing obstructs the pathway, the water flows freely. If rocks, trees or a beaver dam are present, the water, to varying degrees, stops flowing. There is less water flowing downstream, a backup of water upstream, and increased water pressure at the point of obstruction. If we substitute the concept of Qi for the water, we can get less Qi flowing downstream (sometimes numbness or coldness), an excess stagnation of Qi upstream (sometimes edema or distention), and pain at the point of obstruction.

Acupuncture treatment strategies for treating pain are reliably straight. If the Qi is obstructed, the goal is to relieve the obstruction and return the free flow of the Qi to its natural continuous circuit. Diagnostically, the nature of the pain will reveal the nature of the Qi obstruction and guide treatment strategies. Dull pains tell us one thing, sharp stabbing pains another, roving pains something different again. Other clues will be the location and duration of the pain, influences from either heat or cold application, etc.

The successful treatment of pain with acupuncture lies, not only in identifying the nature of the obstruction, but also in correctly analyzing the details of its underlining causes. It is here that we start to discern what interplay, if any, acupuncture should have with conventional medical treatment. For this discussion, it is helpful to categorize pain into two general classes: pain with a known physiological cause and those without a known physiological cause.

The first category usually comes with a meaningful Western diagnosis, sometimes through x-ray, MRI, CT scan, sonogram, or other medical technology. What is usually at issue here is a physical injury or trauma or detection of some abnormality in form (arthritis, tumors, nodules, bone spurs, degenerated disks). This diagnostic information is effectively helpful in determining the likely prognosis and in choosing appropriate treatment strategies. Generally speaking, the more intractable the physiological issue is, the more temporary the relief from acupuncture will be. This is because acupuncture will not reverse an under permanent cause. This is typically the case with degenerative arthritis, or bony growths such as spurs. With sustained treatment, acupuncture can often achieve impressive pain relief in these cases. Patients do, however, need to understand that it becomes a pain management tool, likely to be needed indefinitely. Patients may find this acceptable, particularly where traditional Western approaches are either inappropriate or are undesirable. Sometimes patients can not have surgery, have maxed out on pain medications or have taken physical therapy as far as it can go. Obviously, there are also times when surgery and / or physical therapy are the best treatments possible. In these cases, acupuncture can play an important adjunctive role in speeding healing time, reducing the need for drugs and reducing post-operative pain.

One other purely physiological cause of pain that is often overlooked by doctors is pain as a side effect of certain prescription drugs. In particular, statin drugs, such as Lipitor and Crestor, are known to cause nerve and muscular pains. The Chinese medical remedy to drug induced pain is to cease taking the drug. Alternative approaches can be explored.

Now to a more interesting topic: those painful conditions that have no known physiological cause. These cases often come with no diagnosis at all or with a Western diagnosis that lacks meaning. Fibromyalgia is a prime example of a meaningless diagnosis. It is not that I think fibromyalgia is not real. I have successfully treated many patients with this label and they all had very real pain. The diagnosis lacks meaning from a Western medical perspective because there is no physical cause ascribed to it and there before there is no effective curative model of treatment. The drugs used for fibromyalgia are for temporary symptomatic relief only.

Now we have touched the real where Chinese medicine is absolutely advantageous and, frankly, should be used as primary care. There is real pain, but no cause that shows up physically. No tumors, no injuries, no arthritis. This covers a huge spectrum of chronic pain sufferers. We can include in this list most migraines and headaches; menstrual pain; non-arthritic joint pain; fibromyalgia, premenstrual breast pain; lingering pain from statin drugs, even after they are out of the bloodstream; post surgical or injury pain where the physical exam reveals the tissue is completely healed; and really any pain where the doctor shrats his shoulders and hands out a prescription for pain killers and Xanax. This is where we look to the energetic causes of the Qi obstructions that in turn cause the pain. Common causes we recognize in Chinese medicine would include a lingering Qi obstruction from old injuries or surgeries (even decades old); past exposure to extreme cold (including in an operating room); exposure to toxic heat (such as radiation); stored emotional or physical trauma, particularly in the case of sexual abuse; systemic imbalances that cause the Qi to rise forcefully to the head without completing its circuit downward (causing a headache). In short, we identify and treat any underlying Qi imbalance that would tend to create a disruption in the proper flow of Qi.

From the vantage point of Chinese medicine, the sources of pain can be viewed and treated as including both physical and non-physical. Because it is a more holistic paradigm, acupuncture can often successfully treat pain beyond the limits of Western medicine. It is a reliably non-invasive treatment that offers immeasurable relief of needless suffering at low cost and low risk. Any sufferer of pain, whether chronic or acute, should consider it a viable treatment option.

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Is Trigger Point Dry-Needling a Form of Acupuncture?

Many practitioners of Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) assert that their treatment methods are entirely different from the methods of Acupuncture in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In this article we will explore the similarities and differences between these modalities and why one treatment method may be more helpful than the other for specific conditions.

To begin, TDN and TCM acupuncture have a great deal of similarity. Both methods utilize thin, sterile needles, called filiform (or acupuncture) needles. In both methods, filiform needles are inserted into the skin and muscle layers and are the primary tool used to provoke a change in the patient's body. When inserted, filiform needles have been shown to stimulate muscular neurons and neuro-vascular complexes in the body, thereby provoking the body into changing its current functional state.

Another commonality is that both acupuncture and TDN treatments are often based on palpating areas of tension to find the best or most appropriate points for treatment. A palpation method is almost always done before TDN treatment and with a TCM acupuncture approach. Although the palpation methods vary broadly, practitioners of both methods locate exact points based on palpation the skin and musculature, looking for areas muscle tension and areas that lack tonicity. After appropriate points are found, both methods use acupuncture needles to release areas of tension with a variety of needling techniques (more on technique later).

While Trigger Point Needling focuses on Western Anatomy as a model for point selection, acupuncture relationship on both Western Anatomy and the classical meridian model. TDN practitioners will generally locate points based on a specific muscle anatomy and in reference to the muscle belly, insertion and attachment points. In addition, muscle function and range of action is considered when selecting points. To start, TCM practitioners will look for pain syndromes and how they relate to the meridian or channel system. In TCM theory there are 12 main meridians that run up and down the body. Although these meridians are different from strict Western anatomy mappings, there is a great deal of correlation between the TCM channels with nerve, artery and muscular pathways. TCM practitioners are not restricted to this meridian system and it is important to note that the Chinese were certainly very aware of human anatomy and mapped the meridians accordingly. As such, many TCM practitioners use an anatomical model for point selection in much the same way as TDN practitioners.

The next topic of discussion is around methods for treatment and techniques used. While there are differences between treatment methods used, there are many similarities as well. TDN practitioners typically use a needling method where larger needles are employed with a rather strong technique to get a muscle belly to “fire” and release. When needling is done in this manner, the “trigger point” within a muscle belly will respond to the stimulation of a needle by a twitch response that can often be seen visibly and felt easily by both the patient and practitioner. In addition, the needles are not retained for long during TDN treatments. The needle stimulation is generally only 30-60 seconds after which time the needle is withdrawn and another point is selected.

TCM practitioners do not often employ the strong “trigger-point” technique described above, but they are certainly not exempted from doing so. It is important to note that there is a huge range of treatment styles for TCM practitioners. Some use a very light technique, as in Japanese acupuncture, where the patient may not feel any needling sensation during treatment. In contrast, other TCM practitioners use a stronger stimulation method where the needles are “lifted and stretched” until the patient experiences a distinct sensation of warmth, heaviness or distension at the point. TCM practitioners generally retain the needles for 10-45 minutes, depending on the condition, while the patient is left to relax. Giving the patient to relax with the needles in place is a way to get the body to have a stronger and more prolonged response to the treatment.

The last topic of discussion is which conditions are best addressed by each method. TDN is most commonly used for sports injury, body pain and muscular imbalance. Typically, TDN is employed for conditions like neck or shoulder pain, and performed in conjuction with physical therapy. Traditional acupuncture represents a medical system with 3000+ years of history, and can be used for a wide variety of diseases and ailments, both physical and mental / emotional. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has determined that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of common health conditions including body pain (musculoskeletal), breathing problems (allergies, asthma, infections), skin & dermatology (acne, psoriasis, eczema) and digestive gastrointestinal (IBS, constipation, abdominal pain, hepatitis). Additional concerns well-treated by acupuncture include: headache, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and auto-immune diseases.

Based on the discussion above, it should be clear that there are a great many similarities and differences between Trigger Point Dry-Needling (TDN) and TCM Acupuncture. While the needles used are the same, the treatment techniques and point locations sometimes differ. In addition, the conditions treated with TDN are quite limited compared to the range of conditions that can be treated with traditional acupuncture. Although there is some discussion on whether TDN should be practiced outside of the context of traditional acupuncture, it can be loved that a great many people will get benefit from both methods, provided the levels of training are sufficient to ensure patient safety.

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Acupuncture: A Natural Remedy for Insomnia

Insomnia involves problems with falling sleep or staying asleep. In this article, the term 'insomnia' refers to poor quality of sleep with symptoms occurring at least 3 times per week over a period of 1 or more months.

Anyone can suffer with insomnia. In fact, the condition is so prevalent in today's world, that it is said to affect up to 30-40% of all adult Americans within any given year. The rates of this condition however, tend to be higher among the elderly and with women.

Studies have shown that rates of sleeplessness tend to increase with age and that women can suffer with insomnia in connection with their menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or menopause. It is important to remember though, that Insomnia can be a disorder in its own right, as well as a symptom of some other, more serious disease or condition.

Left untreated, short-term, or acute insomnia, which can last for 1 or several nights, can develop into long-term, or chronic insomnia, which can go on for months, or even years in some cases.

The symptoms of insomnia can manifest in several ways:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Sleeping lightly
  • Waking up through the night
  • Waking up early
  • Difficulty falling back sleep after waking up
  • Waking up and not feeling rested or refreshed

Each of these symptoms can have a negative impact on an individual's quality of life, be it physical, mental, and / or emotional. The physical and mental fatigue that often accompanies this disorder can affect a person's activities during waking hours in a different way, leading to daytime drowsiness, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, poor concentration, and tension headaches.

Left untreated, insomnia can lead to further health issues, complications, and illness. In fact, current research shows that insomniacs suffer with poorer overall health than do non-sufferers, and that they also suffer a higher incidence of depression.

Treatment of insomnia with pharmaceuticals though, does not always resolve the problem, and such therapies can often come with harmful and unwanted side effects. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is a particularly effective treatment for insomnia that is a safe, non-pharmaceutical alternative for those who suffer with sleep disorders and wants to avoid the problems of dependency and side effects associated with the use of medicines and pharmaceuticals. Some reports have filed up to a 90% success rate with certain acupuncture procedures when used in the treatment of insomnia.

Although emerging thousands of years ago in ancient China, acupuncture is today a well-known, effective, and proven healing modality that is practiced worldwide. Acupuncture therapy is administered through the insertion of hair-thin needles into very specific acupuncture points located all around the body.

Relaxation techniques and exercise can also be helpful in the treatment of insomnia. Meditation, qigong, tai chi, and yoga are all healthy and natural techniques that can go a long way in helping to promote a defect state of sleep by reducing some of the daily stress that can be contributing to the problem.

Just as important, it is necessary to establish and maintain healthy sleep habits:

  • Do not sleep or nap during the day
  • Do not go to bed until you are noticeably drowsy or tired
  • Set your alarm clock to wake you up at the same time every day (including weekends)
  • Use the bed only for sleep and sex (no TV, eating, reading, studying, lounging, etc.)
  • maintain a peaceful, quiet, and comfortable bedroom atmosphere that is conducive to sleep (room temperatures and lighting are important factors)
  • Avoid consumption of caffeine beverages, especially during afternoon and evening hours
  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine close to bedtime
  • Refrain from any stimulating activities and strenuous exercises prior to going to bed
  • If you are unable to fall sleep quickly, simply get out of bed and go to another room until you feel tired enough to go back to bed
  • If awoken during the night, do not look at the clock or worry about the time, simply roll over and try to go back to sleep

Natural remedies with acupuncture can be a highly effective form of insomnia relief, especially when combined with the suggestions above above.

It is always best to consult with a medical doctor when suffering with insomnia or any other health condition, but more and more medical doctors are applying and supporting the use of natural remedies and referring their patients for acupuncture treatments.

If you or someone you know is suffering with insomnia, please contact me to consider acupuncture as a possible solution to the problem.

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Explore Acupuncture For Knee Pain

Pain can affect any aspect of our life. It is especially disturbing when it affects our job and social life. This was a reality for my client who enjoyed outdoor activities most of his life. He was an active hiker, bicker and swimmer but he could only swim without knee pain. It especially was difficult and painful to go down stairs. He then tried a conventional approach with allopathic medicine. Countless hours of Physical Therapy and Steroid injections were only some of the treatment options that he tried. All this cave has some temporary relief, but the pain always came back with the same intensity. Any suggestion from his family and friends to explore some alternative treatment option was rejected by him without any further action. He was a “scientist” and how someone can even suggest acupuncture or anything else outside of western medicine he refused to accept. The pain was persistent and western medicine treatment options very limited for his pain relief.

One of his coworkers suggested acupuncture. He explained to him that he did not in it and he does not want to waste his money since it is not even covered by insurance. His coworker insured that he check on insurance coverage. He called his insurance company and to his surprise acupuncture was covered by insurance carrier.

He came to my office skeptical, arrogant and very anxious. I explained to him that acupuncture was a 3000 year old medical system that offers solutions for many health issues. I explained that is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a safe and effective medical treatment for many diseases. I also explained the basic concept of acupuncture that suggest some useful reading about study that that was done using acupuncture and that acupuncture needles are a single use sterile medical instrument. I showed him how thin the needle was and very flexible and small.

He agreed to give it a try. Along with his treatment for his knee pain I included some stress relief points. I could see he started to relax when he realized it was not that painful. After I finished needing and set up the heat lamp and did electro stimulation, I left the room. Some minutes later he was snoring in the treatment room. After the first treatment he said that he did not expect to be relaxed enough to fall sleep. When I asked about his pain level he said it was too early to talk about his pain relief. Two months later, however, he was pain free and enjoying his outdoor activities without limits.

Recently, he stated that he felt so ashamed of himself because he was arrogant enough to ignore the wisdom and “science” that is 3000 years old. He now is a believer in the medicine of acupuncture

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How to Get the Most Out of an Acupuncture Treatment

Patients receiving acupuncture want to know how to get the most out of their treatment. Two factors to consider are length of treatment time and frequency of treatments.

One of the most common questions asked by an acupuncture patient is, “What is the optimal length of time for an acupuncture to get the best results?”

The optimal length of an acupuncture session can vary greatly depending on the individual and the condition being treated. When left to rest without being disturbed, most patients are ready to finish their treatment at about 40-60 minutes.

With over eight years of clinical experience, I have observed that it is most effective to determine the optimal length for a treatment based on each individual rather than using a predetermined treatment time. There are some patients who can not sit still for longer than 20 minutes and some that are more than happy to take a 2 hour nap. These are both extreme examples, but most feel well “done 'somewhere in the 40-60 minute range.

One of the best ways to determine the optimal treatment time for a patient is to instruct them to listen to their body's signals. Most people will enter a relaxed state during their acupuncture treatment. At some point in the treatment, the patient will become more alert or wake up if they have fallen sleep. This is usually a good indicator that they have gotten the rest they need.

Sometimes a patient may feel more alert throughout the entire session. In this case, using the 30 minute minimum guideline is a good rule of thumb.

The second factor to consider is the frequency of treatment. Patients will often ask, “How soon can I come back?” Egypt “Is it to soon come back tomorrow or the next day?”

Just like determining the length of treatment for an individual, the frequency of treatment is going to be dependent on how the individual responses to treatment and the nature of their condition.

A patient will generally experience relief from an acupuncture treatment for anywhere from several hours to complete resolution. In the case where the symptoms are completely eliminated there is no need for further treatments. When a patient experiences relief for a limited amount of time, then ideally they should return for a followup treatment before their symptoms return to the original level.

Patients with acute conditions with a high level of pain will generally benefit from more frequent treatment. Those with chronic conditions and more manageable levels of pain can spread out their treatments further apart based on the guidelines presented above.

In China, it is not unusual for a course of 10 treatments to be administrated daily or every other day. The closer together the treatments are performed the more effective they will generally be.

These general guidelines produce the most effective results meeting the unique needs of each individual receiving acupuncture treatments.

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Explore Acupuncture For Back Pain

Sometimes I forget how much I love acupuncture, as a patient I feel great with regular acupuncture treatments. But satisfaction is complete when you have a success story as a practitioner of acupuncture. Even though I have performed many treatments, I still feel excited when my client has improved quality of life.

One day, a client came in who gets an acupuncture treatment every three weeks, she was smiling and looked happy. When she came in the treatment room I asked her “how are you today”?

She said, “I am great and not only today, but as long as I get my treatment every three weeks, I am great. anxiety and depression are gone as well. I have tried different treatment options from chiropractic to steroid injections.

“My last option was acupuncture, performed by a licensed acupuncturist and that was the best treatment that I received for my pain in last seven years. improved so much, I am spending more time with my friends, I am attending biking classes and yoga classes.

Listening to her story and remembering her from the beginning of her acupuncture journey, she was in constant pain. Her back hurts her so much that she was not able to do anything. She had a problem with sleep, work and her social life. She went from an active busy woman to spending time in the house and trying different treatment options for her back pain. As time was passing she became more depressed and anxious. At that time, she said that she had tried a lot of treatment options including acupuncture with her chiropractor without any noticeable or returning results. That is the reason why she did not consider acupuncturist as a provider. She thought that a chiropractor would have the same options as an acupuncturist. As she completed her story, she commented that it was not the same when you had a treatment from a licensed acupuncturist. After she finished I just said thank you for sharing you story, you and people like you are the reason why I love acupuncture.

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Acupuncture and Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a common eye disease that occurs in more than sixty million people worldwide. People with glaucoma experience pathological changes which include the loss of retinal ganglion cells at a much faster rate than the normal aging process and optic nerve atrophy. There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma does not have many symptoms; eye pressure increases slowly and the angle between the iris and the cornea is that of a normal eye, but the eye's drain canal becomes clogged over time and increased eye pressure can lead to optic nerve damage. On the other hand, angle-closure glaucoma may have the following symptoms: headaches, eye pain, nausea, rainbows around lights at night, and very blurred vision with sharply rising eye pressure. In angle-closure glaucoma, the iris is not as wide and open as it should be.

The sharp rising of eye pressure can cause irreversible blindness quickly. The most common treatment for glaucoma is the use of eye drops to lower eye pressure, but it can cause severe burning sensations, blurry vision and dryness. In 2013, Rom E. wrote a review article in Acupuncture in Medicine, indicating that acupuncture or ear acupressure may help protect patients from blindness when used as a complementary method to other forms of treatment such as eye drops, laser or surgery. Acupuncture can significantly enhance the pressure-lowering effect of other treatments. Furthermore, studies suggest that acupuncture may also improve blood flow to the eye and the optic nerve head. By regulating nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor and their receptors, it is possible that acupuncture facilitates the survival pathway for cells, in contrast to eye drops, laser, and surgery, which has no effect on improving the blood flow and protecting against nerve degeneration.

Another single-blinded randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2010 registered 33 patients. The researchers divided patients into two groups: an acupressure group and a sham group. Patients in the acupressure group received auricular acupoint including kidney, liver, and eye stimulator tapping and regular massage twice a day for 4 weeks. Patients in the sham group received tapping at sham auricular acupoints (wrist, shoulder, and jaw) without massage stimulation. Intraocular pressure and visual acuity were measured before and after the treatment in the first 4 weeks and for an additional 8 weeks. After the treatment and at the 8-week follow-up, intraocular pressure and visual acuity improved significantly in the acupressure group when compared with pretreatment. The intraocular pressure was lowered the most significantly at about 3-4 weeks after auricular acupressure. After acupressure was stopped for 4 weeks, the eye pressure went back to initial levels. Uncorrected visual acuity was significantly improved at 2 to 4 weeks in the acupressure group. This research verified that after the initial 10 treatments to ensure lower eye pressure, maintenance treatment every 3 to 4 weeks is necessary to keep eye pressure at the normal levels with a minimal dosage of eye drops.

A third study published in Evidence Based Supplemental Alternative Medicine, 2012, evaluates the effects of acupuncture on blood flow in humans with ultrasound color Doppler imaging by Takayama S. et al. in 2012. Color Doppler imaging (CDI) can be used to noninvasively create images of human blood vessels and quantitatively evaluate blood flow in real-time. This study found that stimulating the same acupuncture point LR3 can dilate the arteries around the eyes and reduce the blood vessel resistance significantly, but there were no significant changes in blood flow to the abdominal artery. On the other hand, stimulating another very important point, ST36 could lead to a significant increase in blood flow in one of the abdominal arteries, called the mesenteric artery, but no significant change in the vascular resistance of some eye arteries, including the retrobulbar arteries , certral retinal artery and short posterior ciliary artery. This study explains why one needs to select specific points for different kind of diseases. In traditional Chinese Medicine, liver blood provides nutrients to the eyes and nerves around the eyes. LR3 is a very popular point for eye problems while ST36 is the most important point for all sorts of digestive problems. But if digestion is not good, vital nutrients can not be absorbed through the intestines, resulting in unhealthy optic nerves. Clinically, most patients who have eye problems also have different kinds of digestive diseases, such as celiac disease, IBS and colitis.

Why does glaucoma occur in an increasing number of young people?

During my 24 years of practicing acupuncture, I have treated many patients with glaucoma or other vision problems. Acupuncture can lower eye pressure instantly, but to prevent from using eye drops too often, one should have two acupuncture treatments a week to keep eye pressure at optimal levels. One of my patients had laser surgery on both eyes; consequentially, her eye pressure initially went down, but after a year or two, scar tissue built up, her eye pressure returned to glaucoma levels. She could not lower her eye pressure with a regular dosage of eye drops. When she tried to increase the dosage, her eyes became so dry that she could not read. She came to acupuncture for neck and back pain, and when I applied some needles on certain points to lower her eye pressure, her eye pressure dropped unexpectedly shortly after two treatments, within a week. She also noted that her vision was much sharper right after her treatment and usually lasted for 3 days. Since using eye drops can not improve circulation to optic nerves, combining eye drops with acupunctures treatments will not only maintain normal eye pressure with the lowest possible dose of eye drops, but can also slow down optic nerve damage. Aftermore, after laser eye surgery, acupuncture can help reduce scar tissue buildup by quickly reducing boiling.

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The History of Healing With Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that dates back some 10,000 years. It is a technique used to stimulate trigger points in the body by the use of needles to help alleviate pain and treat various diseases.

Documents show that the practice began during the Stone-Age era, where sharp-edge stones and tools are used to puncture and treat abscesses. Then later, the technique evolved to using needles made from metals such as gold, silver, and bronze.

The philosophy of acupuncture is taken from the teachings of Taoism. It promotes the balance of yin and yang by acquiring harmony between the human body and its surroundings. The first book that was compiled with a system of diagnoses and treatment about acupuncture is the Classic of Internal Medicine book of the Yellow Emperor, dating between 100 BC and the first AD. The text shown support of the Taoist philosophy and handed-down traditional medicines over the centuries.

It also established precise anatomical locations of the meridians, or the Qi energy or vital life force that flowed within the body. Originally, there were 365 pressure points that were corresponding to the days of the year. The book also describes the origin of various diseases, and what acupoints should be used to treat them.

Years later, acupuncture continued to develop and was slowly introduced to various parts of the world, including Europe and the United States. It became the standard treatment in China, along with the use of herbs, moxibustion or the use of heat therapy, diet, and massages.

Another significant milestone of acupuncture was during the Ming Dynasty where they formed the new basis of the treatment. Ming ordered to cast a bronze statue marking all the 365 pressure points, which was used for cross reference. They also published a book about the success of acupuncture and moxibustion technique, which was subsequently used by future dynasties. Aside from indicating the various pressure points, the book also contains precedences of the two techniques and what mobilization strategy is best used.

Acupuncture was popularized extensively when Sun Simiao, a renounced physicist from the Tang Dynasty, compiled another book for the clinical experience of acupuncture. He produced a chart of three views, a multicolored chart of all the channels through the body. It was then that acupuncture was extensively accepted by the masses, and its use was widely spread. And historically, the number of pressure points grow to 2,000 from 365.

Medical Exchanges of Acupuncture

The spread and exchange of acupuncture started when China sent their doctors to various countries, including Korea, Japan, and the European countries. They held frequent seminars and lectures, and shared a great number of books to promote all Chinese Medicine.

Between the 500 AD and 700 AD, China introduced acupuncture to Japan. They presented copies of books about acupuncture classics and importance of acupuncture points. Through this, the Japanese government passed a law in 702 AD to fully study acupuncture and use it as their source of medicine.

The spread reached Korea in 1092, where the exchange of doctors and techniques was very rampant. The science behind acupuncture was also disseminated through other countries, such as India in the early sixth century. And it was only during the 16th century, when Europe accepted the benefits of acupuncture.

However, interest for acupuncture declined during the 17th century as it was believed to be an irrational medicine. This thought about the introduction of western medicines, but the knowledge and practice remained in central China.

The popularity of acupuncture Began in the United States only in the 19th century when a writer from the New York Times produced an article on how acupuncture brought tremendous relief from his chronic pain. He was amazed how acupuncture kept him a longer prolonged relief, far from the anesthesia and painkillers he was taking.

Although acupuncture is not thought as superior to western medicine, it is now widely accepted and believed to be effective. It is a holistic treatment that does not focus on the exact cause of any condition or illness. Rather, it patterns its treatment from the negative imbalances that the body endures thought about by its psyche, lifestyle, external pathogens, environment, and stressors.

It uses 12 meridian channels, which they believe is where our “Qi” or energy flows. And by inserting needles, these channels are stimulated, and the body is brought back to its balance. Studies even show that acupuncture remedies can increase pain-relieving hormones, such as serotonin and endorphins, that block pain sensation and inflammation. Acupuncture also proves to improve blood circulation and the immune system. Indeed, acupuncture is no longer an ancient practice, but a holistic treatment has proven to treat a wide range of conditions and diseases.

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