What Is Acupuncture? Acupuncture is one of the oldest healthcare practices originating in China thousands of years ago. During treatment specific points on the body are stimulated with the application of thin needles to balance the energy or “chi” that is believed to exist in the body. Millions of people rely on acupuncture every day for their healthcare in all parts of the world. There are many different forms and methods of acupuncture. In our office, we use a form of acupuncture that is a blend of classical techniques that have existed for centuries with more modern orthopedic knowledge, such as point placement along motor points of muscles and myofascial trigger points in conjunction with low intensity needle electrical stimulation.
What is the difference between Acupuncture and Dry Needling? Dry Needling involves using a needle with no fluid, “dry” to isolate trigger points and motor points of muscle, tendon, and soft tissue. Acupuncture incorporates more ancient principles, including the balance of energy but some physicians, like myself, also incorporate the principles used in dry needling. For chiropractic physicians in North Carolina a minimum of two hundred additional classroom hours are required to practice acupuncture versus twenty-four minimum hours for dry needling.
How Does Acupuncture Work? No one knows for sure; however, there are many theories and countless research studies that demonstrates its effectiveness. I believe in the concept that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system, which causes it to release the body’s natural chemicals that affect the muscles, spine, and brain. These released chemicals can either change the body’s overall experience of pain or prompt the liberation of other hormones and chemicals which assist in governing the endocrine and nervous systems’ internal regulation. In doing so, acupuncture produces biochemical balance and improved energy that results in stimulating the natural healing abilities. This balance promotes emotional well-being and improved overall physical health.Another possible explanation is that there is stimulation of the motor points of muscles, small areas where highly dense nerve endings are located and can be altered. In addition, targeting myofascial trigger points, areas where the muscle and fascia (a connective tissue covering) fold and join, it is hope to release tension and improve neuromuscular and possibly overall health. Whether targeting motor points and myofascial trigger points or affecting pain perception and regulation many common neuromuscular conditions, from headaches to foot pain can be effectively treated, naturally.
Is Acupuncture Safe? Acupuncture is remarkably safe. It is uncommon to see any side effects, if there are, slight bruising around the needled points are the most common side effect. However, the placement of needles are most often not detected when inserted. Changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or even your emotional state can be affected. Most often, a sense of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation occurs immediately following the first treatments.
How Many Treatments Will I Need? The amount of treatments required differs from person to person. One to two treatments per week may be recommended for long-standing or complex conditions. Usually, acute problems require fewer visits.
David D. Parks, D.C. Piedmont Chiropractic Center, PA Dr. Parks is certified to practice acupuncture by the North Carolina Board of Chiropractic Examiners, in addition to the required coursework he has a certificate of attainment from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners for successful completion of the NBCE acupuncture exam.