Acupuncture Longevity Clinic
Pamela Miller, L.Ac.
Acupuncture • Chinese Herbal Formulas • Homeopathic Medicine
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Using functional MRI, researchers have shown that when a needle is inserted at specific acupuncture points on the body, corresponding changes occur in the brain. In Western science, a stimulus is defined as a detectable change in either the external environment or in the body itself. When the body detects change, it produces a response. To the human body, acupuncture needles are a physical stimulus.
Acupuncture is most well-known for its ability to relieve pain so the majority of research thus far has been done in this area. Acupuncture points are now believed to stimulate the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) to release pain-relieving chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain. Acupuncture also stimulates other chemicals to be released by the brain, including hormones that influence the self-regulating system of the body.
To be healthy, four aspects of a body need to be functioning well:
1. • Qi Circulation (oxygen delivery) to the tissues
2. • Vascular System (veins and arteries) working with free flow.
3. • Organ System- the health and communication between the heart, kidney, lung, spleen, stomach, gall bladder, small intestine, large intestine, pericardium, urinary bladder, liver.
4. • Nervous System: autonomic and sympathetic nervous system must be communicating properly
If there is an obstruction in the blood flow to a particular area of the body, that area of the body will be negatively affected and result in disease or malfunction.
An area of the body damaged by trauma or an internal disorder has difficulty recovering because of impeded blood flow created by bruising swelling and inflammation.
Circulation or vascular functioning decreases as we age.
Body loses its ability to heal itself because all the healing agents of the body are found in the blood. By improving the blood circulation major symptoms disappear.
Acupuncture helps increase vascular circulation in the organs, veins and arteries.Increased circulation brings nutrients to the cells, reduces swelling and pain, and removes toxins.
The Pain Pathway
In order to feel pain, two different types nerves must be involved.
1. Sensory Pain Nerves (Nociceptors) – Tells the brain there is pain: “ouch”
» A Delta Fibers: sharp, burning pains
» C Fibers: dull, throbbing pains
nerves from the periphery send signals to the spinal nerves in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions of the spine. These nerve signals travel up the spine through the Tract of Lissauer to the Midbrain.
2. Proprioceptive Nerves tell the brain the location of the pain: where the “ouch” is felt. Proprioceptive nerves fire continuously in the affected area and send the nerve signals up the back of the spine to the Midbrain.
3. The midbrain releases two hormones that cancel pain impulses. These are called endorphins and enkephalins.they bind to the specific pain receptors along the spine and the capillary beds blocking the transmission of the pain impulse traveling to the brain. When the pain receptors are bound to the relaxing endorphin and encephalin hormones there is no room for the nerve impulse to pass by. Think of the analogy – you can’t have two men on first base. This reduces pain.
Patients with chronic pain have a very low proprioceptive nerve threshold.
The signal to midbrain is weak so the midbrain does not release the pain relieving endorphins or enkephalins.This makes it difficult for the chronic pain patient to pinpoint the EXACT location of pain.
Minute tissue trauma created by needling activates blood coagulation system to produce bradykinnin and plasmin.
Bradykinnin triggers local pain sensory fibers and the corresponding proprioceptive nerves.
After about two weeks, the brain actually begins to shut down activity to heal the injured area. Acupuncture creates a strong stimulation and “re-boots” the proprioceptive nerve pathway. The sensation created by the needles ‘jumps’ the neural signal threshold and stimulates the brain to release endorphins and enkephalins. After a few hours, the signal gets weak again. The next day, needling the patient will stimulates the Neural signal again. By repeated needling every day or every other day and jumping the neural signal threshold until the body REMEMBERS and RE-ESTABLISHES the normal threshold to signal the brain.
Plasmin activates C3 triggering the immune complement system to sustain vasodilatory phase by histamine, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, and kinin protease, which sustains needling response.
Inactivation phase breaks down histamine, releases cortisol, promotes tissue healing.
Acupuncture Longevity Clinic • 2750 E. Washington Blvd, Suite 140, Pasadena, CA 91107
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