If you look at any acupuncturist’s website or brochure, chances are that somewhere it states that acupuncture and Chinese medicine are ancient–literally thousands of years old. Is this a good thing? Well, the point is that it’s been around for so long because it works. However, if your Western doctor prescribed a thousand-year-old remedy for you, you would think he was sketchy at best.
It’s true that the source of acupuncture theory, points, and Chinese herbal formulas is from ancient texts, but that doesn’t mean that Chinese medicine is unchanged from the medicine that was practiced in the times of Genghis Khan. Practitioners from China and around the world share new techniques and theories on a daily basis that improve clinical results. In addition, volumes of research are pouring out of hospitals and universities on the effectiveness of Chinese medicine, as well as the physiological effects of acupuncture.In the clinic, there are a number of modern tools used in conjunction with Chinese medicine that further advance the effectiveness of a treatment. They include:
-Far Infrared lamps. Heat therapy is an important therapeutic tool in Chinese medicine. Traditionally that heating was done through something called moxibustion, which involves burning the leaves of the artemesia plant near specific points on the body. Moxibustion is extremely warm and penetrating, but has one drawback. It smells like marijuana, which can be tough to explain in modern office buildings. Instead of moxabustion, many practitioners have turned to far infrared lamps for heat therapy. Far Infrared is actually a light therapy that delivers deep, penetrating heat with therapeutic effects for pain relief, improved circulation, and to speed healing.
-Electro acupuncture. There are a number of needling techniques that an acupuncturist can use to enhance the effectiveness of a treatment. Unfortunately, many patients are turned off by their practitioner lifting, poking, and twirling the needles. Electro acupuncture, also known as electric stimulation, allows a practitioner to stimulate the needles more deeply without the skeeze factor. Once the needles are inserted, the acupuncturist clips electrodes to the needles that are also hooked up to a device that delivers a mild electrical impulse to the needles. The sensation is similar to a deep electronic tapping, and is not painful.
-Micro current. Micro current is similar to electro acupuncture, but without the needles. A device is used to send weak electrical impulses to the surface of the skin of acupuncture points or painful areas to stimulate healing, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. Micro current is especially useful for arthritis, tendonitis, and areas of the body that are difficult or painful to needle.
-Laser therapy. Some acupuncture practitioners are turning to cold laser therapy as a form of needle less acupuncture. Cold lasers don’t burn or cut the skin, but can stimulate the body at a cellular level with therapeutic results. Needle shy patients now have the option of laser acupuncture for the treatment for a variety of conditions.
It’s true that practitioners of Chinese medicine still uses many of the theories and techniques from the ancient classical teachings. However, in today’s acupuncture clinic, patients can benefit from the past as well as the innovations of the present day for the most effective treatments possible.