Western acupuncture is a therapeutic method that involves the insertion of hair-thin needles in the flesh. It has been adopted from the Chinese traditional medicine using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, and the principles of evidence-based medicine. Although Western acupuncture has evolved from the Chinese acupuncture, its specialists no longer use the Yin/Yang theory or the circulation of qi incorporating it to their conventional therapeutic modalities, in contrast with Chinese acupuncture practitioners who consider it as a complete alternative health system.
Western acupuncture is considered a primary health care service provided for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain, myofascial trigger point pain, post-operative pain and nausea. Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system.
Table 1: Differences between Westerm & Chinese acupunture
|WESTERN ACUPUNCTURE||CHINESE ACUPUNCTUREΣ|
|Anatomy, physiology & pathology principles||Yin/Yan theory and circulation of qi|
|Anatomical and physiological points||Meridians and classical points|
|Evidence-based medicine||Mysticistic theories|
|Complentary treatment system||Complete alternative health system (diagnosis and treatment)|
|Pain conditions (musculoskeletal, post-operative, trigger point), and nausea||Systemic and musculoskeletal conditions|
|Duration: ≥2mins||Duration: ≥30mins|
The first references of Chinese medicine date back 5000 years where therapists were utilizing stones in order to apply pressure in specific parts of the body. Sooner or later, stones were replaced by bones and eventually by hair-thin needles. It seems that Chinese acupuncture has been developed through Traditional Chinese Medicine theories and recorded in many textbooks during different dynasties [Shang (1000BC), Han (206BC),Ming (1450AD) etc.] throughout time. It is also evident that other countries, such as Korea and Japan, adopted and even successfully developed variations of Chinese acupuncture.
In 1932 Chinese acupuncture was banned in cities due to the introduction of modern Western medical techniques to the Asian population, while it took 13 years to get restored to its honoured place in Chinese medicine. During the 70s China opened its doors to the rest of the world and the New Era of acupuncture started. Today, countries like China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea along with USA, UK and other European countries are constantly studying, researching and developing acupuncture.
Only dry needling is used in our centre. The rest of the acupuncture techniques are for informative purposes only. These are applied by acupuncturists.
It is called dry needling as there is no passage of any fluid by the needle. The needle is inserted in particular parts on the body of the patient like for example muscles, myofascia, skin or the bone surface (periosteum).
Another common acupuncture site which is used in traditional chinese medicine is the lobe of the ear (ear acupuncture). More than hundred acupuncture sites have been described at that site, which are used for the management of stress, obesity, smoking cessation etc.
In electroacupuncture the needles are connected with cables to a device where electricity is produced in low frequencies. It is a modern acupuncture technique which is used for the management of acute or chronic pain.
Cones made of herbs (mainly Artemisia Bulgaris) are placed on the heads of the inserted needles. These cones are lighted to produce heat (40-42οC) at the acupuncture site, which is therapeutic.