Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have a rich and detailed written history of over 2000 years. The verbal history dates back at least two thousand years more. All throughout this time, doctors and scholars have refined and contributed to the texts, creating a vast treasure trove of experience and evidence that guides today’s practitioners.
In fact, acupuncture has been in continual use for thousands of years, and is now the most widely used form of medicine in the world. This is because it’s safe, relatively low-cost, and has very few negative side effects. Most of all, because it’s effective for so many ailments.
What is Acupuncture and how does it work?
Acupuncture is a very safe, usually pain-free technique that uses very small single-use stainless steel needles to stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities.
Acupuncture treats all of you, not just a few symptoms. No other medicine in the world so effectively treats all of you at once. It’s common for patients to report “side-effects” like better sleep, less anxiety and stress, better moods, improved digestion and easier periods. Acupuncture can even treat the common cold! You’ll leave your appointment feeling better than when you came in.
Western Point of View:
In Western science, studies show that acupuncture stimulates responses in the nervous system, cardiovascular, endocrine and immune systems, telling your body to make electro-chemical changes. In a nutshell, acupuncture promotes self-healing within your body.
Eastern Point of View:
Acupuncture is used to move and balance energy (we call it Qi or Chi) in the body. It helps stimulate your body to strengthen itself, moves and redistributes what is stuck, and balances the flow of energy in your body.
When it comes down to it, health and emotional problems come from being stuck (Stagnation), being depleted (Deficiency), or from too much (Excess) or something. Sometimes, it’s a combination of these things.
This is true for everything from pain, to emotional imbalance or chronic health issues.
If your energy is stuck, or stagnant, it causes things like pain, constipation, and frustration. If you’re depleted, you might have low energy, weak digestion, or get sick a lot. If you have an excess, from things like injuries, or eating or drinking too much for a long time, you might feel too hot or cold all the time , have a lot of phlegm or even anger and emotions that feel out of control.
What is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture?
Dry needling, also known as trigger point nmeedling, is the use of acupuncture needle to release trigger points, motor points or tight muscles. The Western version of it began in the mid-1900s with Dr. Janet Travell, who mapped the effects of trigger points in the body. It’s called “dry” needling because it originally was the injection of either pain relievers or saline into the trigger points. They found good results without the use of injections, hence the term “dry.”
In Chinese medicine, we use the term “Ashi” point to refer to trigger points. Ashi needling has been an integral part of acupuncture for centuries.
One main difference is in terminology. The same acupuncture needles are used, and the Ashi/trigger points are the same in people, too.
The other difference is in training. Physical therapists and chiropractors have a lot of training in the mechanics and structure of the body and are very good at what they do. However, they have very few hours of training in needling. They are only required to have 48 hours in continuing education course to practice needling.
Acupuncturists have 700 hours of supervised training in needling, as part of their 3000 hour degree. They are taught how to do many styles and techniques, along with needle angle and safe depth of needling. There is also in-depth on precautions and contra-indications of needling. Not all acupuncturists have the depth of musculoskeletal training as physical therapists/chiros, but many have taken additional course of study.
In addition to her 3000 hours of acupuncture training, Jennie has nearly 2000 hours of training in manual therapy, including extensive training in myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy, and trigger point work.
It is currently the subject of much debate in the United States. Six states, as of 2017, do not allow physical therapists to perform dry needling. Several other states are in the process of debating whether to continue to allow it. All states allow acupuncturists to perform Ashi needling.
Do you do dry needling?
With training as both a massage therapist and acupuncturist, I often use it along with manual therapy to facilitate the fastest and most thorough healing.
In some cases, I will also do electrical stimulation on the needles.