Acupuncture Analgesia

Acupuncture analgesia, i.e. pain modification with acupuncture, is probably the most well known effect of TCM by patients and health care professionals alike. This is because of hundreds (if not thousands) studies, clinical trials, an overwhelming number of evidence-based literature have accumulated over the past decades measuring, visualizing, and explaining the phenomenon.

No surprise, when a new aquaintance learns that I do acupuncture the most frequent reaction is "...hey, I have a friend with migraine or back pain."

Occasionally I seize the opportunity to try to change this misconception, emphasizing that acupuncture has a broader spectrum of influence than only treating back pain, or pain for that matter, this is not to change the fact that the majority of patients seeking acupuncture treatments, are doing so for pain management.

PAIN MANAGEMENT with acupuncture

Managing pain with acupuncture can be done as a pure symptomatic treatment and also can be achieved long lasting, curative results.

Consequently, one can reduce or alter pain perception with acupuncture simply activating the brain`s own endorphins, and neurotransmitters, like frequently done with easily accessable ear points, using the so-called Master Points. Long lasting results and real cure are also possible with liner meridian therapy and/or segmental focusing treatments.

Change in the local tissue "micro-millieu" reduces mechanical pressure or normalizes the chemical local imbalances, a phenomenon ultimately responsible triggering the pain cascade chemically, anatomically, and electro-physilogically.

This is achieved by "Flushing Qi/electric current" thru the affected body region with linear, and focusing point combinations, or applying electricity (electroacupuncture), ultimately reaching curative and accumulative pain reduction.

The literature is overwhelming. Numerous books have been written, hundreds of research articles are available on acupuncture analgesia, so here I would like only just to mention some facts, maybe in a bulletin format, so the interested reader can simply scroll down and grasp the important points at a glance.

  • In the early 1970`s scientific studies found that chemical mediators were involved in Acupuncture Analgesia (AA).
  • Acupuncture Analgesia interacts and affects the body`s pain modulatory system.
  • Different afferent fiber groups are activated during acupuncture stimulation.
  • Acupuncture produces various effects in the central nervous system.
  • Endogenous opioids act in peripheral tissues via the immune system.
  • Diffuse Noxious Inhibitory Control( DNIC) is an analgesic phenomenon and is considered another pain inhibitory mechanism of acupuncture.
  • Hetero-segmental nociceptive stimuli mediated by intersegmental feedback loops within the spinal cord reinterpreting pain patterns in the brain stem.
  • The frequency of the electro-stimulation is less important than intensity.
  • Effective stimulation is not limited to acupuncture points.
  • More than fifteen classical neurotransmitters play important role.
  • More than twenty opioid peptides.
  • Acupuncture increases blood flow to the lateral thalamus nuclei which controls the transmission of pain and sensory neural signaling.
  • Using local anesthetics at the acupuncture site can block this effect.
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