Will Acupuncture Help My Lower My Back Pain: Acupuncture and Acutherapies for General Wellness
In this post, we discuss both acupuncture and the practice of acupressure in your own home (both falling under the category of acutherapies). To understand the latter, we need to understand the former. We address the benefits and the symptoms these processes relieve.
I think most of us know or has heard about someone suffering from some chronic pain who tried out everything that the doctors recommended, all to no avail until they – like me – tried acupuncture.
I personally had truly debilitating back pain and am now 2 years pain-free. Frankly, it changed my life.
What exactly is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a practice that began in China and can be traced back over eight thousands years. It is common practice now in much of Asia and more recently has become recognized by western medicine.
Traditionally, the Chinese saw the body as a whole with several different working energy systems, run by the organs of our bodies. At one time, disease was seen as a disruption in the body system due to a particular part of the system. ‘Qi’ or ‘chi’ translates perhaps best as ‘energy flow’ and is the underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and in Chinese martial arts: the practice of cultivating and balancing qi is called ‘qigong‘.
“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.” – Albert Einstein
According to TCM, there are 14 pathways throughout the body where chi flows continuously. These are called the meridian points. Each one is matched with a major organ. Meridians run very close to the surface of the skin in certain areas and can be accessed by needles.
Much like plumbing, these pipes can get blocked or go the wrong way, causing health problems. The insertion of needles at these points is aimed to help loosen blocks and normalize flow.
Many studies have ‘proven’ the Meridian system, including one conducted by French physicians Jean Claude Darras and Professor Pierre de Vernejoul.
They injected the isotope tracer Te99 into the acupoints of volunteer patients and then monitored the tracer’s movements using a gamma imaging camera.
The tracers traveled along the exact meridian lines within minutes after injection. To challenge their findings, they injected non-meridian points – finding that the tracers simply pooled up and remained in the same spot.
Interestingly, tracers flowing through diseased meridians slowed down dramatically or stopped – compared to a fast flow around healthy parts of the meridian system.
Although the exact scientific basis for acupuncture is still unknown, recent theories seem to suggest involvement of complicated neurochemical effects in the brain, nerve to spinal cord impulse modulation, and microscopic connective tissue changes. Acupuncture is now commonly administered in the U.S., including by doctors at a number of East-West Integrative medicine hospitals across the country.
Do Acutherapy Methods Work?
Case controlled clinical studies show that acupuncture can be used to treat.
- chronic pains
- back pain
- neck pain
Acupuncture Can Help Alleviate Lower Back Pain
Control of pain is the most well researched of all of the indications for acupuncture. There is a definite beneficial effect for a majority of patients using this method. Migraines, premenstrual syndrome, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and neuralgias are but a few examples. The theory behind its effectiveness is also medically accepted and well researched, called the gate-control theory of pain. It states that the needles can stimulate nerves so that they block the impulses from pain triggers.
Nearly 8 out of every 10 people will have low back pain at some point in life. Back pain is one of the top reasons people seek medical treatment. It is also the No. 1 reported reason for seeking acupuncture. The good news is chronic low back pain is one of the conditions that research suggests acupuncture may be a very effective tool for treatment.
It’s thought the effects come from stimulating the central nervous system. This may trigger the release of chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals either alter the experience of pain or produce bodily changes that promote a sense of well-being.
Other theories suggest acupuncture works by:
- Speeding the relay of electromagnetic signals. This may begin the flow of pain-killing chemicals such as endorphins. Or it may release immune system cells in the body.
- Triggering the release of natural opioids. These are chemicals in the brain that may lessen pain or promote sleep.
- Changing brain chemistry by altering the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Neurotransmitters either stimulate or dampen nerve impulses. Neurohormones can affect the function or activity of an organ in the body.
Guidelines from the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians say doctors should consider acupuncture as an alternative therapy for patients with chronic low-back pain that’s not helped by conventional treatment.
Variations of Conventional Acupuncture
Auriculotherapy or ear acupuncture is one of the variations of conventional acupuncture. In this practice, it is believed that the ear provides a map for all the major bodily organs. A specific area or point on the ear corresponds to a particular organ, such as the heart, kidneys, or liver. Thus, the needles are placed in particular points around the ear and on the ear cartilage.
- Staplepuncture is a method used in smoking cessation, wherein staples are placed for a certain period anywhere on the ear area to provide stimulation.
- Electo-acupuncture (EA) one of the world’s leading natural therapies. It’s commonly used in hospitals to treat pain, but it’s also been proven to effectively treat a myriad of conditions
Are There Risks or Side Effects?
The use of things not completely understood for the treatment of medical conditions is nothing new. Penicillin and aspirin were used for decades solely on the basis of their beneficial effects, without doctors knowing exactly how they worked. Results are what are truly important. However, it is equally important is to ensure that the technique is used safely.
Like other strategies used in treating health conditions, acupuncture may have some side effects. Medications have side effects and allergic reactions, surgeries have risk of infection and complications. For needle puncture, there is a risk of injury, rare infections, minor bleeding, small bruises, and some dizziness.
Many people are put off by the prospect of electric needles. A needle-free, shock-free home alternative is acupressure.
Acupressure is based on the same principles as acupuncture, but instead of sharp needles, manual finger pressure is applied. Acu-therapies like acupressure restore the natural flow of energy by stimulating specific pressure- points (also known as acupoints).
Acupoints are like little whirlpools of energy that are dotted along the meridian lines.By stimulating specific acupoints, a burst of energy restores the circulation of a blocked meridian.
This kills pain and accelerates the healing process.
There are 7 acupressure points for lower back pain, for example.
Electricity and Frequencies for Better Results
To promote a healthy circulation of Qi within the meridian lines, specific acupoints need to be stimulated. This can be done in a variety of ways.
- Acupuncture uses needles
- Acupressure uses finger pressure
- Moxibustion uses heat
- Electro-acupuncture uses electric needles
- Acu-acoustics uses meridian frequencies
Hospitals combine electricity with acupuncture to achieve faster and longer-lasting relief (electro-acupuncture). But the prospect of electrified needles puts a lot of people off.
Frequencies – in the form of sound waves is – another highly effective means for unblocking a congested meridian system.
What most people don’t realize is that everything in the universe vibrates at different frequencies.
When our meridian system is blocked or congested, it means that one or more of our meridians isn’t resonating at its optimum natural frequency.
Using the science of entrainment (not entertainment) one can use frequencies to restore their meridian system back to its natural state.
Most people have heard of the concept of entrainment before but not the name of it.
Entrainment is defined as “a synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles” – it’s a law of physics: when two objects are entrained/synchronized with each other, they expend less energy.
It is this phenomenon that causes:
- Female roommates’ menstrual cycles to sync together
- Our heart rate and brain waves entraining/syncing to a hectic or a quiet environment
- Fireflies that blink together at the same time
- The resetting of the internal body clock – after a very long plane flight, for example.
But It doesn’t stop at biology.
Entrainment can also be defined within Physics, engineering, biomusicology, hydrodynamics and also brainwaves.
A Non-Invasive Alternative to Electric Needles
Acufrequency treatment has proven to be a popular, non-invasive alternative to electro-acupuncture, as it combines a needle-free version of acupuncture (acupressure) with meridian frequencies.
Acupressure combined with meridian frequencies is an excellent option because it’s non-invasive – it’s safer, there’s no pain, there’s no need for sterilized needles, and there’s no need to rely on visiting a practitioner. This means it can be applied anywhere – whenever instant relief is needed.
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