An ancient therapy on the rise in popularity in the Western world, acupuncture has become highly sought after by doctors and patients alike who are seeking an alternative to allopathic therapies. Its mechanisms are many and include increasing blood circulation, boosting the immune system, engaging the parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous system, regulating the central nervous system (CNS), releasing muscle tension by accessing trigger points, breaking the local and systemic pain cycles, and many more! The goals of acupuncture, while many, include promote healing and homeostasis, alleviate pain, provide stress relief, and induce both physical and psychological relaxation. Much like a TENS unit, electro-acupuncture is the addition of a small, non-painful, electrical current in order to communicate between the body and mind (central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord) to improve blood circulation, stimulate endorphin release, boost immunity and reduce muscle tension. Electro-acupuncture is often thought of as the “steroids” of an acupuncture treatment and can be highly effective with back pain, neck pain, peripheral neuropathy, Bell’s Palsy, muscle sprains/strains, rotator cuff tears, anxiety, depression, and much more!
Orthopedic acupuncture incorporates principles and techniques from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Sports Medicine to assess and treat the patient’s injury from a true integrated perspective. Proper assessment is followed by the stimulation of specific points called motor points and other accessory points, some of which may/may not coincide with actual acupuncture points. A motor point is where the motor nerve comes into a muscle at the neuromuscular junction and provides it with motor function (i.e. flexion, extension, rotation, etc.) This form of treatment produces involuntary twitches in the affected muscles, helping to reset dysfunctional muscle spindles and to correct reflexive spasms and abnormal muscle function. At AcuMediZen Acupuncture & Sports Medicine, we offer a multi-faceted approach in our highly customized and individualized treatments. If you’re looking to improve your performance, decrease pain, improve mobility, and/or gain a competitive edge, then look no further!
TRIGGER POINT THERAPY/DRY NEEDLING
Trigger-point dry needling is a minimally invasive procedure where an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin and muscle. It is aimed at myofascial trigger points (MTrP) which are hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band. Dry-needling of these myofascial trigger points via mechanical stimulation causes an analgesic effect. This mechanical stimulation causes a local twitch response (LTR). An LTR is an involuntary spinal cord reflex contraction of the muscle fibers in a taut band. Triggering an LTR has been shown to reduce the concentration of nociceptive substances in the chemical environment near myofascial trigger points. Research shows that this, in turn, reduces muscular contraction, reduces localized chemical irritation, improves flexibility and elasticity, and reduces pain.
CUPPING & GUA SHA/IASTM
Cupping is a therapy used in both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Sports Medicine to improve lymphatic and cardiovascular circulation and stretch tissue(s). Negative pressure is created in the cup either by applying a flame to the cup to remove oxygen before placing it on the skin or by attaching a pump or suction device to the cup after it is placed on the skin. Gua sha/IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization) is applied using instruments that are usually made of stainless steel with bevelLed edges and contours that can conform to different body anatomical locations and allows for deeper penetration. Research also shows that gua sha/IASTM and cupping alike modulate nociceptor (small pain fibers) activity and increase localized blood perfusion which are, in turn, largely responsible for decreased pain levels and improved range of motion.