What is Evidence Based Acupuncture?

Well, to start, it has nothing to do with chakras.

 

If you’ve overheard a conversation about acupuncture, you’ve probably heard the word “qi” being used as a synonym for “energy”. Unfortunately, this was a mistranslation from the early 1900’s. We now know that “qi” translates to “air” or “oxygen”. Hemoglobin (blood cells) carry air or oxygen through the body. When the body has a renewed uptake of oxygen to cells we heal, adapt, and detox optimally.   Acupuncture assists the circulation of this highly oxygenated blood to intentional locations in the body to create healing.

We can therefore change our understanding of acupuncture from an “energetic” practice (which it is not), to a physical practice because acupuncture creates physical changes at a biological level. This goes to show that we need to change the way we talk about acupuncture to understand how it really works.

So what evidence do we have to explain how acupuncture works? This is a topic that has been extensively researched for over 60 years. While we have so much more to learn about the mechanisms of acupuncture and the human body, we do have three main evidence-based mechanisms that explain the effectiveness of acupuncture.

The first evidence-based mechanism is the accessing of neural pathways from acupuncture point stimulation, which disrupts the midbrain pain signal to the spinal cord, in turn deactivating the pain centers in the brain. Acupuncture activates a number of the body’s own opioids as well as improving the brain’s sensitivity to  synthetic opioids. A number of other biochemicals involved in pain reduction have been found to be released or regulated by acupuncture stimulation, including ATP and adenosine, GABA and substance P. In the hands of an experienced practitioner of both acupuncture and electro-acupuncture, we can achieve the release of these biochemical substances using different frequencies during the treatment.  

Another evidence-based mechanism that proves the effectiveness of acupuncture is vasodilation. By targeting certain areas we can vasodilate, or expand blood flow, increasing the efficiency of blood flow in the deep veins.  Venous pressure is the pressure pushing the blood through the veins back to the heart. Tissue pressure is the pressure exerted against the deep veins by the tissue surrounding them. So if there is an injury or inflammation, the swollen tissue can press against deep veins, impeding blood flow back to the heart. The perforating veins offer an alternative route for blood flow back to the heart. If blood is having trouble flowing through the deep veins in a particular region of the body, blood can travel through the perforating veins to the superficial veins and then back to the heart.

The third evidence-based mechanism is the reactivation of muscles. Motor points exist in all muscles and much of the dysfunction in muscles is caused by muscle motor inhibition. This is when the muscle that has either been injured, over-used, or under-conditioned stops firing, or is simply not doing its share of the work.  That muscle’s defense mechanism is triggered, and that defense is to stop working. Now, small muscles in the area must do the work of the muscle that has turned off, which causes pain. The best example of this is the all-too-common lower back pain. Using thorough muscle testing we can identify the muscles that stopped working (which are usually the glutes) and use acupuncture to reactivate those muscles.

In the context of ineffective and often dangerous pharmaceutical options for pain, acupuncture represents a safe and effective alternative with a long track-record of successful use. We simply need to shift the conversation about how acupuncture works from a traditional energetic view to that of an evidence-based view.

So the next time you overhear acupuncture being described as “energetic”, make sure to chime in with your three evidence-based ways acupuncture really works.

Is Muscle Motor Inhibition Killing Your Potential?

What is Muscle Motor Inhibition?

Imagine an Indy car that is running on two less cylinders. That car certainly can't compete at its full potential. This is a body under-performing due to muscle motor inhibition.

Muscle motor inhibition (alpha-motor neuron muscle inhibition) is when the nerve that sends the impulse to contract a muscle becomes unable to function at its optimal capacity due to chemical or physical trauma. This results in a perceived weakness of that muscle which changes the biomechanics of the entire region. This can sap potential as large muscles turn off, now smaller muscles have to do the work.  

What is the cause of muscle motor inhibition?

Now imagine that same Indy car with low to no coolant, running extremely hot. This translates to the body as neurogenic inflammation. Neurogenic inflammation is continuing inflammation in the musculoskeletal system generated by nerve impulses and the release of inflammatory substances from the sensory axon at the site of the original injury.  Prolonged infammation and pain can lead to protective muscle spasm, accumulation of fibrous tissue and muscle shortening.  It has been shown that the fibrous tissue form palpable taut muscle bands and trigger points; such muscle dysfunction and spasm lead to compression of blood vessels, and decreased blood fow - implicating pain stimulation, and decreased joint mobility, and performance.   

What does this all mean?

If you are experiencing pain, the cause is likely muscles not firing correctly causing large dysfunctions in your movement.  That dysfunction is now causing mal-adaptation in your skeletal and muscular system causing pain.  

What can be done to fix MMI?

Every muscle has what is called a motor point. That neuro motor point can be stimulated to turn back on or re-polarize.  This can be done very simply by an experienced and advanced practitioner of electro-acupuncture.   Sessions usually start with strategic muscle testing based on pain or dysfunction.  Then, after analyzing movement and testing those muscles, they're targeted with acupuncture needles to the motor point.  Finally, the motor point is then stimulated with very low frequency, causing a distinct muscle twitch.  The treatments last about 30 minutes, and are virtually painless.  We then retest, and develop a treatment plan to fully resolve the issue.

Click on the clinic tab, and schedule a free consult today by using the code FREECONSULT or call (720) 252-1554 to get started performing at your best.

 

 

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for Stress & Anxiety

Anxiety is a mental state or rather disorder that affects millions of people and may result in depression, causing mild to extreme discomfort and at times uncontrollable panic attacks.

There are several different syndromes that manifest in anxiety riddled patients, here is a short list of a few that are effectively treated by Acupuncture, and Chinese herbal formulas. 

 

·      General Anxiety Disorder

·      Panic Disorder

·      Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder

·       Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder

·      Phobia

·      Depression

 

Unfortunately, there is not one set treatment for anxiety according to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). By using the diagnosis protocols of looking at the tongue and pulse, and asking questions, an advanced practitioner can differentiate the many types of anxiety possible.

In Chinese medicine, we speak of treating stress and anxiety as “calming the spirit.” Shen is the Chinese word for Spirit and it literally means our countenance and demeanor, but also that part of us that animates us—that twinkle in our eye (or the lack thereof) that can give away whether we are truly at peace.

Herbs can help speed up this process by helping to maintain the effects of the acupuncture between treatments. Most Chinese herbal formulas are specific to each patient’s constitution; each stressed or anxious person does not get the same herbal preparation. If you or someone your love suffers from acute to chronic mental emotional issues, I highly encourage you to seek out a natural, and holistic method of managing these maladies.