Acupuncture For Cynics

Acupuncture For Cynics

Have You Always Been Curious About Acupuncture, But Were Never Quite Sure Where To Stick The Needles? If you associate acupuncture with needles, pain and weird alternative medicine then you are horribly misinformed about the benefits of the world's oldest form of medicinal treatment.

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Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

cupuncture is one of many components of what is known as traditional Chinese medicine, a healing method that has been in use for more than 2,000 years. Traditional Chinese medicine is used by approximately one-fourth of the world's population. In Western countries, the use of traditional Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture, has grown over the past two decades. It is estimated that more than one million Americans are treated with acupuncture yearly. The recognition of acupuncture by Western medicine is not entirely new. In the late 1800s, Sir William Osler, one of the most honored and respected physicians and medical educators, wrote a textbook of medicine in which he recommended acupuncture for low back pain and sciatica. In 1901, Gray's Anatomy, a classic medical text, also referred to acupuncture as a treatment for sciatica. There are five components of traditional Chinese medicine. In addition to acupuncture, they include traditional Chinese herbs, diet and nutrition,...

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is based on a complex theory of body functioning that is very different from the Western biologic approach. Briefly, it is believed that a free flow of energy or qi passes through 12 major pathways or meridians on the body. A balance of opposites also exists, known as yin and yang. Disease is believed to result from a disruption in the normal flow of this energy. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, solid, metallic needles into specific points on the meridians. It is believed that this alters the flow of energy and thereby produces improvement. Approximately 400 acupuncture points exist. Fortunately, not all these are used in a single session Four to 12 points are typically used in a session. For those wary of needles, methods other than needle insertion may be used to stimulate acupuncture points. The application of finger pressure to these points is known as acupressure or, in Japan, shiatsu. Small hot cups are placed on points with cupping, and electrically...

Additional Resources Books

Medical Acupuncture A Western Scientific Approach. Edinburgh Approach. St. Louis Mosby, 2001, pp. 333-369. Hsu DT, Cheng RL. Acupuncture. In Weintraub MI, Micozzi MS, eds. Alternative and Complementary Treatments in Neurologic Illness. New York Churchill Livingstone, 2001, pp. 11-26. Lin Y-C. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. In Oken BS, ed. Complementary Therapies in Neurology. London Parthenon Publishing, 2004, pp. 113-125. Checkmark Books. 2005, pp. 2-5. Nielsen A, Hammerschlag R. Acupuncture and East Asian medicine. In Kligler B, Lee R, eds. Integrative Medicine Principles for Practice. New York McGraw Hill, 2004, pp. 177-217. Miller RE. An investigation into the management of the spasticity experienced by some patients with multiple sclerosis using acupuncture based on traditional Chinese medicine. Compl Ther Med 1996 4 58-62. NIH Consensus Development Panel on Acupuncture. JAMA 1998 280 1518-1524. Rabinstein AA, Shulman LM. Acupuncture in clinical...

Psychopharmacotherapy General Considerations

There are numerous approaches to smoking cessation and many comprehensive reviews of the literature (e.g., Hymowitz, 1999 Lando, 1993 Leventhal & Cleary, 1980 Schwartz, 1987). Although many approaches to smoking cessation have been successful in the short run, few, if any, have proved satisfactory in the long term. This is true for traditional group and individual counseling programs, hypnosis and acupuncture, self-help stop-smoking strategies, multi-component behavioral interventions, and pharmacological therapies (Hunt & Bespalec, 1974 Hymowitz, 1999 Yudkin et al., 2003). The tendency of smokers to quit, relapse, and quit highlights the cyclic nature of the quitting process and serves as a reminder that as much care and effort must go into helping smokers remain cigarette-free as into helping them stop smoking in the first place.

MMagnets and Electromagnetic Therapy

The use of magnets and electromagnetic fields is a type of energy medicine. Magnets and electricity have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. They were used in ancient China to stimulate acupuncture sites. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, it was claimed that lodestones, minerals with natural magnetic qualities, relieved a variety of medical conditions. Paracelsus, a sixteenth-century Swiss physician and alchemist, used magnets to treat seizures. In the eighteenth century, Franz Mesmer, an Austrian physician, proposed a theory of animal magnetism and wrote a book on the subject, On the Medicinal Uses of the Magnet. It was later found that his therapy was based on hypnotism (see the chapter on Hypnosis), not on any therapeutic effects of magnets. A large number of magnetic and electrical devices were promoted during the nineteenth century, which is sometimes referred to as the golden age of medical electricity. These devices included magnetic insoles, belts,...

Osteomyelitis in Flat and Irregular Bones

Osteomyelitis Skull

Fig. 6.25A, B Subarticular (the equivalent of long bone metaphysis) localization of osteomyelitis in irregular bones. A Medial pinhole scan of the right ankle in a 54-year-old male diabetic with chronic osteomyelitis induced by acupuncture shows extremely intense tracer uptake in the subarticular zones of the talus and calcaneus about the subtalar joint (arrows). B Mediolateral radiograph reveals the narrowing of the subtalar joint with marked eb-urnation in the periarticular bones (arrowheads) Fig. 6.25A, B Subarticular (the equivalent of long bone metaphysis) localization of osteomyelitis in irregular bones. A Medial pinhole scan of the right ankle in a 54-year-old male diabetic with chronic osteomyelitis induced by acupuncture shows extremely intense tracer uptake in the subarticular zones of the talus and calcaneus about the subtalar joint (arrows). B Mediolateral radiograph reveals the narrowing of the subtalar joint with marked eb-urnation in the periarticular bones (arrowheads)

Studies in MS and Other Conditions

Study of headache, which did include a control group, Trager treatment was associated with decreased headache frequency, improvement in the quality of life, and decreased use of headache medication (2). In a study of people with spinal cord injury and shoulder pain from wheelchair use, shoulder pain was decreased with either acupuncture or Tragerwork (3).

Additional Readings Journal Article

Acupuncture and Trager psychophysical integration in the treatment of wheelchair user's shoulder pain in individuals with spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2001 82 1038. Foster KA, Liskin J, Cen S, et al. The Trager approach in the treatment of chronic

Placebos and CAM

In contrast to physicians, many practitioners of CAM probably spend more time with patients and rely more on positive interpersonal skills to interact with and treat them. This may be true for practitioners in areas such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and massage. A single session with these practitioners may last 60 minutes or longer and involve a detailed discussion of many topics, whereas physician visits are often 10 to 20 minutes or shorter and focus exclusively on diseases, symptoms, diagnostic tests, and drug therapies. Regardless of the effectiveness of their therapies, some practitioners of CAM may be more skilled and more comfortable than are physicians with using the power of the placebo effect.

Conclusion

On the basis of current evidence, acupuncture and Asian herbal medicine, both of which are components of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), should be approached differently by people with MS. Acupuncture is of low risk, is possibly beneficial, and may be a reasonable treatment option for some people with MS. In contrast, Asian herbal medicine should be considered with caution by people with MS, especially for use on a long-term basis. Reports of treatment benefits using this therapy cannot be fully evaluated because of the lack of published information in English. Some herbs may be toxic or may stimulate the immune system, and the safety of long-term treatment has not generally been established.

Treatment Method

Multiple hypotheses exist about how magnets could produce therapeutic effects. For strong magnets placed on the spine, it has been proposed that the magnetic field alters nerve activity in the spinal cord in such a way that it decreases muscle stiffness. For weaker magnetic devices, it is often claimed that they correct disease-causing electrical imbalances in the body. For devices placed on acupuncture points, it is proposed that acupuncturelike effects occur, such as increases in the release of pain-relieving chemicals (opioids) in the body. Multiple other mechanisms have been proposed, including an alteration of the flow of electrically charged atoms (such as calcium) and changes in hormone levels and immune-system function.