Let’s Talk Modern Medical Acupuncture
Updated: Oct 16, 2021
I’ll admit that when I first committed to learning more about acupuncture, I had my doubts. I partly expected to be learning a theory that, when put into practice, was more complicated and unpredictable than made out to be. I quickly discovered that acupuncture is a truly amazing tool! It is effective, reproducible, consistent and highly SCIENTIFIC!
If I was doubtful, you too must have some doubts. In the coming paragraphs, I’m going to explain a bit more about acupuncture: what it involves, how it works and how it can help to restore balance in your nervous system so that you can move well and be well!
Acupuncture treatment involves the PAIN-FREE insertion of thin (think 1/3 of the size of your standard flu shot), solid-tipped needles, into precise anatomical locations. The ultimate goal is to target specific nerves in order to restore their normal conductivity. Think of it as a way to reboot your nervous system.
Your nervous system is a complex entity consisting of a multitude of anastomosing networks. Your nerves carry impulses to your muscles to help you move efficiently. They also relay information from our surroundings, back to our brain, so that we can process our environment. In short, nerves are important!! Dysfunction in the nervous system can lead to movement disorders, muscle weakness, muscle tension and/or PAIN!
Nerves can be thought of as a series of highways (over 100 billion!). When there is an accident, construction etc, there is an interruption in the flow of traffic. Traffic can still get from point A to point B, but less effectively. We can think of nerves in the same way. A disruption to the neural environment can alter the signals that the nerve carries. This could result in a muscle not generating appropriate forces simply because the signal is not optimally getting from the brain to the muscle. This disrupted signal could subsequently result in a movement dysfunction and then pain. As an example, an inhibited muscle in your hip can cause poor control of knee position. Poor knee control leads to increased rotation through the knee joint when performing weight-bearing activities. This leads to repetitive micro-trauma and subsequently knee PAIN. Still with me? Please keep in mind this is just one of many potential manifestations of a dysfunctional nerve.
Now how does acupuncture fit in? Well, the acupuncture needles are placed in precise locations in order to target these dysfunctional nerves (the jammed highways). They signal for the body to normalize the neural pathways by improving circulation and restoring normal electrical conductivity in those nerves. This helps to restore muscle strength, improve movement ease, promote better movement coordination and decrease pain.
At our physiotherapy clinic, we are well trained to design your acupuncture treatment based on a thorough evaluation of your neurofunction! We assess your nerves, find areas of dysfunction and then treat you using acupuncture in combination with soft tissue techniques, exercise
prescription and education. ACUPUNCTURE WORKS and I hope you now have a better understanding of how it can complement your treatment and help you reach your goals!
Need more convincing? Stay tuned for our next blog post “Acupuncture: FAQs” where we will go into more detail about Contemporary Medical Acupuncture. Or check out Kobe Bryant’s Instagram. He’s an apparent acupuncture supporter ;)
By Kristin Bignell, PT
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