About Pain Management
Acupuncture and Pain
Almost everyone experiences pain in a certain point of his/her life. In America alone, there are more than 35 million adults suffering from chronic pain. In our clinic, the majority of patients come to see us due to pain. Through acupuncture and acupressure we help hundreds of people released from pain each year, from acute pain due to muscle spasm, sports or injuries, to headaches, migraines, neck pain, upper and lower back pain, nerve pain, tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis, osteoporosis, abdominal pain, gynecological pain, or even cancer pain.
Why acupuncture can treat pain
Why acupuncture can treat pain from head to toe, from skin, muscle, tendon, joint to nerve and internal organ caused pain? We will explain it from the TCM view and modern medicine view.
The Channels and the Collaterals
The channels meaning paths, are the main trunks running longitudinally and interior-exteriorly within the body. While the collaterals (network) are the branches running crossly over the body.
The channels and the collaterals pertain to the organs interiorly and extend to the extremities and joints exteriorly. Integrating the organs and tissues into an organic whole, they transport Qi and blood and regulate Yin and Yang, keep all parts of the body function in harmony and balance.
The Composition of the System of the Channels and the Collaterals
The channels include 12 regular channels, 8 extra channels, and those subordinating to the 12 regular channels, such as 12 divergent channels, 12 muscle regions and the 12 cutaneous regions. The collaterals are made up of the 15 collaterals, the superficial collaterals, and the minute collaterals.
1. The Twelve Regular Channels
The twelve regular channels are the major trunks of the system of the channels and the collaterals. Each regular channel is named after the organ it pertains, and the fact it travels through exteriorly such as hand and foot, also in accordance with the theory of Yin and Yang. The twelve regular channels link to each other by their branches and the collaterals, forming 6 pair of "pertaining and linking" channels. A cyclical flow of Qi is maintained by the connection of the channels of the hand and foot, Yin and Yang, exterior and interior, thus Qi and blood may travel all of the body to the Zang-Fu organs interiorly and to the muscles and skin exteriorly.
2. The Twelve Divergent Channels
The twelve divergent channels are the branches that derive from, enter, emerge from and join the 12 regular channels which in turn, reach the deeper parts of the body. Most of the 12 divergent channels derive from the regular channels at the upper and lower regions of the elbows and the knees and then enter the thoracic and abdominal, where they connect their pertaining Zang or FU organs, then they emerge from the body superficially at the head and the neck. Thus, the twelve divergent channels strengthen the connection between the Zang and FU organs, bring the 12 regular channels and all parts of the body closer, and extend the scopes of the indications of the acupoints.
3. The Twelve Muscle Regions
The twelve muscle regions are the conduits which distribute the Qi of the 12 regular channels to the muscles, tendons, and joints. All the muscle regions start from the terminals of the limbs and run on the head and the trunk. Instead of entering Zang and Fu organs, they travel along the body surface, and connect with joints and bones. The main functions of the muscle regions are to connect with all the bones and control them to ensure easy flexing and extending of the joints and the normal motions of the body.
4. The Twelve Cutaneous Regions
The twelve cutaneous regions refer to the body superficies on which the functions of the 12 regular channels are reflected, and the sites where the Qi of the collaterals spreads. Since the cutaneous regions are the most superficial part of the body tissues, they are the protection to the organism.
5. The Eight Extra Channels
Unlike the regular channels, the eight extra channels do not pertain to the Zang-Fu organs, and they are not exteriorly-interiorly related, their courses are unique, and hence the name, the extra channels. They have two main functions: a) strengthen the asscociation between the 12 regular channels. b) regulate the Qi and the blood of the regular channels such as storage, drainage of the Qi and the blood.
6. The Fifteen Collaterals
The fifteen collaterals include the twelve collaterals which separate from the 12 regular channels, e.g. the collateral channels of Ren and DU and the major collaterals of the spleen. Their main function is to strengthen the association of the Yin and Yang channels and the externally-internally related channels on the body surface.
The superficial collaterals are those distributed on the superficial parts of the body. The smallest branches of the collaterals are called "minute collaterals". They are innumerable and are distributed all over the body to transport Qi and blood to nourish the body.
MODERN STUDIES OF ACUPUNCTURE
- Modern studies show that the effects of acupuncture come from stimulating the central nervous system. Acupuncture may triggers the release of chemicals into the muscle, the spinal cord, and the brain. These chemicals either alter the experience of pain or produce bodily changes that promote a sense of well-being.
- Acupuncture works by speeding the relay of electromagnetic signals. This may stimulates the flow of pain-killing chemicals such as endorphins. Or it may releases immune system cells into the body.
- Acupuncture triggers the release of natural opioids. These are chemicals in the brain that may lessen pain or promote sleep.
- Acupuncture changes brain chemistry by altering the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Neurotransmitters either stimulate or dampen nerve impulses. Neurohormones can affect the function or activity of an organ in the body.
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