How Does Acupuncture Physical Medicine Work?

In the language of acupuncture, disease and disharmony are caused by breakdowns in the flow of energy in the body – the acupuncturist restores the free flow of energy by looking for signs of underactivity and overactivity in the body (specifically, the meridians and muscles) and choosing appropriate points and techniques to unblock “stuck” energy so that the body can better heal itself.  Qi

Yes, but . . . what does it really do .  .  .

In language more accessible to western culture, I tell patients that Acupuncture Physical Medicine [APM] basically does 3 things:

  1. APM unties muscular straitjackets – I use an advanced acupuncture technique to relieve myofascial constriction and deactivate Trigger Points.  This approach is what most differentiates Acupuncture Physical Medicine from other styles of acupuncture.  It's also a key component to many a best outcome for my patients, and greatly increases the speed with which patients see results.

    . . .  A.T. Still, the founder of modern osteopathic medicine wrote: 

    “As an engineer you see friction, as a philosopher you conclude that there is an obstruction, and as a mechanic you remove the obstruction”.  


  2.   Acupuncture acts as a reset button for the Autonomic Nervous System [ANS].  Acupuncture treatment takes an upregulated Sympathetic (fight or flight) Dominant nervous system and brings it back into a healing Parasympathetic (rest & digest) mode. 

    Why is this important? Stress puts the nervous system into "sympathetic" mode . . . this is the state your nervous system is in while getting chased by a tiger, in a car crash, or getting yelled at by your boss.  In this state, the bodily functions that normally keep a person healthy (digestion, immune, etc) are switched off while adrenalin pumping actions, such as running your fastest ever 100 yard dash, battling with a mugger, or telling off your boss, are switched on in order to survive a crisis – real or perceived.  Unfortunately, the routine stressors of daily living can keep us in a constant sympathetic state.  Chronic unabated stress promotes chronic disease and can be the beginning of a downward spiral.  For more in-depth reading on the science of chronic stress, read Hans Selye’s seminal books on stress and the general adaptation syndrome. 


  3. A third way in which acupuncture stimulates the body’s ability to heal itself is by creating a “current of injury” which tells the body that it’s own healing response is needed at a certain location.  For example, by stimulating a patient’s arthritic knee or neuropathic hand with acupuncture, you can provoke the body to amplify its own healing capabilitiesThe “Current of Injury” concept is described by Robert Becker, PhD, in his best selling book, “The Body Electric”.  Becker was nominated for the Nobel Prize for his investigations into regeneration and the ‘bio-electrical’ energetic properties of the body.