Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a 2000 year-old healing practice in which the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle. Disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang that leads to blockage in the flow of qi vital energy called Qi (“chee”) along pathways known as meridians. Acupuncture not only treats symptoms, but the root cause of illness as well. Chinese medicine can work in conjunction with or be an alternative to Western medicine.
Dry Needling is a western form of “Acupuncture” and this treatment has been described using many names. Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture needling treatment occurs along the meridian system. Modern Dry Needling is based on western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Volumes of research have been written on the subject of Dry Needling by several physicians (Janet Travell, MD, David Simons, MD, Peter Baldry, MD, and Karel Lewit, MD).
From a Western scientific perspective, acupuncture primarily produces its effects through regulating the nervous system which aids the activity of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites in the body. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. These affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature.
Although acupuncture is touted for its effects on chronic and acute pain, it actually treats a wide array of ailments including: acne, addiction, allergies, asthma, anxiety, depression, common cold, diabetes, diarrhea, gastro-intestinal issues, fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches, heartburn, infertility, insomnia, menopause, menstrual cramps, post-surgery, sinusitis, skin disorders, smoking cessation, stress and weight control.
An acupuncture treatment can be useful when receiving chiropractic care, as it helps to reduce pain signals to a tolerable level, relaxes your muscles and increases blood flow to speed healing so that your chiropractor can more easily adjust your spine. As acupuncture has been proven to be effective in treating chronic back pain and other musculoskeletal problems, which are also the most common problems treated by chiropractors, the two healing modalities work well together for pain management.