Physiological Response of Acupunture

Physiological Response of Acupunture

by Andy Rosenfarb, MTOM, Dipl. Ac., Dipl. C.H.When you insert an acupuncture needle into the human body, we stimulate nociceptive (brain stimulating) afferent fibers that cause and we become aware of the “pin prick” sensation. This causes a local micro-trauma that stimulates an immediate feedback response to that micro-trauma.

This stimulus activates the spinal efferent nerves- a processing system that carries impulses and have the following physiological effects:

  • Motor, causing muscle contractions
  • Sensory, causing glands to secrete
  • Inhibitory, casing some organs to rest

Through this process the mechanism of blood coagulation is activated. Blood coagulation is the single highest priority system of the body when there is physical trauma! The physiological response to the stimulus is the activation of the brain stem’s restorative processes, where the body undergoes strengthening and healing. The body’s first priority is to do everything in its power to immediately repair the area that was just broken through with a needle.

Overview of Pregnancy & Acupuncture Research

Overview of Pregnancy & Acupuncture Research

Acupuncture ‘pregnancy pain cure’
Acupuncture is effective at relieving pelvic pain during pregnancy, a study says.

Pelvic girdle pain is common among pregnant women with one in three affected suffering severe pain.

Researchers found acupuncture was better at easing the pain than standard and specialized exercising.

The team from Gothenburg’s Institute for the Health of Women and Children said the medical profession should be more open to using acupuncture.

Report co-author Helen Elden, a midwife at the institute, said: “The study shows that methods other than structured physiotherapy may be effective in treating pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy and that acupuncture represents an effective alternative.”

It [acupuncture] is good because it does not involve any drugs, which women have to be careful about taking during pregnancy Daniel Maxwell

And she added: “A combination of several methods is probably even better.”

The team studied the effect of three six-week treatment programmes on 386 pregnant women suffering from pelvic girdle pain, which it is thought is caused by hormones affecting ligaments and muscles.

One group were given a standard home exercise routine, a second received the exercise routine and acupuncture, while the third had a specialized exercise regime aimed at improving mobility and strength.

Pain levels were recorded every morning and evening and assessments were done by an independent examiner.

The women using acupuncture experienced the best results, followed by those who underwent the specialized exercise programme.

Daniel Maxwell, a member of the British Acupuncture Council, the regulatory body for acupuncturists, said the benefits of acupuncture for pregnant women was well known.

The use of acupuncture to treat pain during pregnancy certainly seems credible Dr Graham Archard, Vice-chair, Royal College of GPs

“Many pregnant women turn to acupuncture to relieve pain, especially pelvic pain.

“It is good because it does not involve any drugs, which women have to be careful about taking during pregnancy.”

But he said the medical profession needed to be more consistent in recommending acupuncture as a treatment.

“Some GPs and midwives do refer people on for acupuncture, but some don’t. It really does vary from area to area.”

Dr Graham Archard, vice-chair of the Royal College of GPs, said 60% of family doctors use alternative therapies.

“The use of acupuncture to treat pain during pregnancy certainly seems credible.

“Pregnant women should be avoiding drugs so acupuncture, which releases the bodies natural painkillers, should be of benefit.”

And Sue Macdonald, of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Women should be offered acupuncture for this type of pain, but we must remember it might not be for everyone.”

The Point of Getting Pregnant; Acupuncture May Help With in Vitro Procedure

The Point of Getting Pregnant; Acupuncture May Help With in Vitro Procedure

Source: Gazette, The; Colorado Springs, Colo.

The newest technology has been joined by an ancient form of Chinese medicine at the Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center in Colorado Springs.

Combining in vitro fertilization, or IVF, with acupuncture, a 5,000-year-old practice, appears to pay off for couples yearning to have a child, says Dr. Paul Magarelli, a reproductive endocrinologist and medical director of the center.

Magarelli and Diane Cridennda, owner of East Winds Acupuncture, conducted a study involving 203 of his patients who underwent IVF; 105 had IVF alone and 98 also had a specified series of acupuncture treatments. The acupuncture group’s pregnancy rate was 24 percent greater.

Magarelli presented his research last month before the World Congress on Human Reproduction in Venice, Italy. Previous studies, including research in Germany and China, also have pointed to the benefits of adding acupuncture to assisted-reproduction technologies.

Despite being deathly afraid of needles, Jo Ann Davis is among Magarelli’s in vitro patients who underwent acupuncture.

“I do believe it had an impact,” she says. As evidence, she points to her twins, a boy and a girl, who celebrated their first birthday recently.

In vitro fertilization involves harvesting eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them in a laboratory dish with a man’s sperm. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the uterus.

According to the protocol followed by Magarelli and Cridennda, acupuncture sessions were twice a week for four weeks before retrieval of the eggs, and then just before and after the embryo transfer. Electro-stim acupuncture, involving a mild electrical current, was used.

Women generally find the sessions relaxing, Cridennda says. “Most of the girls say, when they start to get to the last of their pretransfer treatments, ‘Man, I’m going to miss my needle nap.'”

With Davis’ needle phobia, it wasn’t all that relaxing. But it wasn’t painful, either. She felt a vibration or tingling with the first sessions and a deep “stirring” with the final two.

“I could feel that right at my core, so that was pretty amazing.”

Magarelli was dubious when Cridennda, a doctor of Oriental medicine who trained in Beijing, approached him five years ago about using acupuncture for his patients.

But after Cridennda showed him data from some small studies — and after he became convinced it would at least cause no harm — Magarelli began sending her his patients who were having the most trouble becoming pregnant.

“What he noticed was, gee, they were getting pregnant,” Cridennda says.

In addition to an increased pregnancy rate in the acupuncture group, the rate of ectopic pregnancies “was almost nonexistent,” Magarelli says — 1.5 percent vs. 4.7 percent. In vitro fertilization is associated with an increased risk of ectopic pregnancies, in which the fertilized egg attaches someplace other than inside the uterus.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of hair-thin needles at precise points to correct the flow of qi, or life energy.

How it may help reproduction isn’t clear, but it has been shown to increase blood flow into the uterus. It also may help by reducing stress.

Magarelli wants further research with more patients and is encouraging larger centers to conduct studies.

His objectivity, he says, may be compromised. Once skeptical of acupuncture, he’s now a believer.

He decided to experience acupuncture for himself after Cridennda approached him.

“I said I wouldn’t recommend anything without trying it. That first time, I walked in and there are fountains and tinkling noises and the mood music, and I’m like, ‘Oh, what am I doing here?'”

But he found it relaxing and now goes to Cridennda regularly for acupuncture.

To his surprise, it even gave him relief from a repetitive- motion injury in his hand.

“He couldn’t believe it,” Cridennda said. “He would laugh, ‘Oh my gosh, the pain is gone.'”