Updated: Aug 11, 2020
Classic Chinese acupuncture treats pain and a variety of health disorders using fine needles to "reset" nerve transmission. Needles are inserted in one or several of 361 classical acupoints to target specific organs or pain problems. This is a very safe and effective technique.
Myofascial trigger-point therapy, which has evolved since the mid-1800s, focuses on tender muscle or "trigger point" regions. There are about 255 such regions described by the Trigger Point Manual, the seminal textbook on myofascial pain. These are believed to be sensitive and painful areas of muscle and fascia, the web of soft tissue that surrounds muscle, bones, organs and other body structures. To relieve pain at these trigger points, practitioners use injections, deep pressure, massage, mechanical vibration, electrical stimulation and stretching, among other techniques. Acupuncture points and trigger points are anatomically and clinically similar in their uses for treatment of pain disorders. In a recent study, it was found that at least 92 percent of common trigger points anatomically corresponded with acupoints, and that their clinical correspondence in treating pain was more than 95 percent. It is fair to say that the myofascial pain tradition represents an independent rediscovery of the healing principles of traditional Chinese medicine. What likely unites these two disciplines is the nervous system, which transmits pain.
Some believe the acupuncture system meridians lie within and are profoundly influenced by the fascia’s matrix. The extra cellular matrix (ECM) is the connective tissue that provides structural support to living cells, giving them a sort of scaffolding to which they can anchor. It also regulates communication between cells, stores and releases chemicals that can trigger a range of cellular functions, and governs the movement and migration of cells through its intricate architecture. Copper wire is a well-known conductor of electricity. If copper wire becomes twisted or crushed it loses its ability to conduct energy properly. It is thought that fascia may act like copper wire when it becomes restricted through trauma, inflammatory processes, or poor posture over time. Then its ability to conduct the body’s bioelectricity seems to be diminished, setting up structural compensations and ultimately, symptoms of pain or restrictions of motion. Like untwisting a copper wire, the myofascial release techniques can enhance the function of the acupuncture meridians and the fascia’s ability to conduct bioelectricity, thus creating the environment for enhanced healing. They also can structurally eliminate the enormous pressures that fascial restrictions exert on nerves, blood vessels, and muscles and cells. Myofascial release can restore the fascia’s integrity and proper alignment and, similar to the copper wire effect, can enhance the transmission of our important healing bioelectrical currents within the acupuncture system. Recent research has shown that every acupuncture point is a fascial structure, and when the needle is pulled out, called the “snap,” it stimulates the piezoelectric phenomena that sends qi, or energy, through the acupuncture meridians. Piezoelectricity is a Greek word for “pressure electricity,” which is stimulated via myofascial release. Our office makes use of both acupuncture and myofascial release along with chiropractic to help heal many different ailments.