Acupuncture

 

Dr. Brian Smith DC, a licensed acupuncturist, uses an integrative approach to healing which combines acupuncture with chiropractic and nutrition.  This approach is especially effective for pain management and cravings. It can also be an additional resource used to enhance your weight-loss program.
 
Definition of Acupuncture
 
Acupuncture, or meridian therapy, is the science and art of stimulating or sedating, by various methods, specific points located near or on the surface of the skin, which affects the channels or circuits of energy throughout the body.   By treatment of these circuits, the practitioner has the ability to alter biochemical and physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect.
Acupuncture can treat many ailments in the body, including addiction, depression, immune dysfunction, digestive disorders and pains such as migraine headaches. Acupuncture can also be used to tackle weight loss by treating multiple areas of the body that, if out of balance, could contribute to weight gain. As an example, acupuncturists treat four major ear acupuncture points: the stomach point, the hunger or appetite control point, the endocrine point and the relaxation point.
 
Effects
 
Acupuncture needles, different spectrums of laser light and physical pressure on certain points on the body will improve health issues by boosting metabolism, improving digestion, reducing cravings, curbing appetite, improving the way nutrients are used within the body and regulating hormones. Acupuncture can also aid a person in recognizing when he is full and improve his liver function, which aids in digestion, nutrient processing and fat breakdown.
 
Evidence
 
In a 2005 study of psychiatric patients with psychoactive drug-induced obesity, patients who received a true acupuncture treatment lost weight, while those who received a sham treatment gained weight, according to the Journal of Chinese Medicine. In a 1998 study in the medical journal Australian Family Physician, participants who received acupuncture treatment lost weight and reported a suppressed appetite.
 
Russian researchers in 1991 at The Institute for Clinical Experimental Medicine in Novosibirsk, USSR in a research project lasting several years, discovered how the human body conducts light. They found that the light-conducting ability of the human body exists only along the meridians, and can enter and exit only along the acupuncture points.
It is now known that acupuncture channels are no longer imaginary lines, but specific anatomical structures that, until now, have not been discovered or recognized by anatomists.  A group of Korean researchers have discovered threadlike microscopic anatomical structures that correspond with the layout of traditional acupuncture meridians or channels.  These channels have been found inside of blood and lymphatic vessels and they also form networks that overlay the  internal organs.
 
Risks
 
The risk of injury from acupuncture is very low. However, there as some possible side effects and complications:
 
  • Soreness - After acupuncture, you might have soreness, minor bleeding or bruising at the needle sites
  • Organ injury - If the needles are pushed in too deeply, they could puncture an internal organ — particularly the lungs. This is an extremely unlikely complication in the hands of an experienced practitioner.
  • Infections - Licensed acupuncturists are required to use sterile, disposable needles. A reused needle could expose you to diseases such as hepatitis.
 
Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture or for particular types of acupuncture. Conditions that may increase your risks of complications include:
 
  • Bleeding disorders. Your chances of bleeding or bruising from the needles increase if you have a bleeding disorder or if you're taking blood thinners such as Warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Having a pacemaker. Some types of acupuncture involve applying mild electrical pulses to the needles, which can interfere with a pacemaker's operation.
  • Being pregnant. Needle placement in acupuncture points which stimulate uterine contraction could result in a premature delivery.
 
"Acupuncture is very different from conventional nerve stimulation because it activates a unique communication network that restores normal function in the body. Activating the meridian system restores both hyperfunction and hypofunction to homeostasis; the possibility of any adverse side effects is extremely low. " (Milbradt)
 
References
 
International Journal of Neuroscience: The Treatment of Obesity By Acupuncture
The Journal of Chinese Medicine: Obesity Research
Mayo Clinic: Acupuncture - Why It's Done
Intern. J. Neuroscience, 116:165–175, 2006
The Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Novosibirsk, USSR,