The Western World has become more and more aware that the medical practices that patients undergo for a variety of ailments almost inevitably have a variety of unintended consequences – including adverse reactions to artificially synthesizes drugs, especially where many of the drugs required to treat a condition have varying degrees of contraindication when used together.
This has led to an increased interest in alternative forms of treatment which are by and large benign in their effects – but still allow the patient relief from symptoms (such as chronic pain) that are associated with many conditions.
One of these treatments is acupuncture, which was first recorded in a text authored by Huang Di Nei Jing in around 2600 BC – ‘The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine’. However, there has been some argument that this author may not have existed and that the treatise is an amalgamation of the writings of several authors which appeared around 300 BC. The practice of modern acupuncture can be traced to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the publication of ‘The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion’.
Whatever its origins, acupuncture has been practiced for much of modern history – and today that practice has been refined to offer a variety of treatments including ‘Neurology Acupuncture’.
This branch of acupuncture inserts needles into the scalp just below the skin (the needles are extremely thin and sterility is of the utmost importance). The treatment causes almost no pain. Needles are inserted into areas of the scalp that correspond to the regions of the brain which may process the perception of pain, circulation, general movement, swelling, and abnormal sensations affecting the body such as tingling and/or numbness.
It can also be used to treat conditions associated with anxiety, depression, and stress. Neurology Acupuncture is useful in treating an enormous array of conditions including hormonal imbalances, the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy, PTSD and a host of other conditions, including those that lead to chronic pain (research has shown that between 50% and 85% of chronic pain patients benefit from acupuncture).
Research indicates that the placement of the needles in sites that are rich in nervous tissue and what are called TRPV1 receptors which are involved in the transmission and modulation of pain. The stimulation of these receptors, in turn, stimulate neurochemical processes of pain modulation such as the secretion of the body’s natural opioids.
Studies have shown that patients who undergo acupuncture treatments (including neurology acupuncture) have a decreased need for opioid-like-medication. Given the so-called ‘Opioid Crisis’ in the United States that has seen unprecedented numbers of people become dependent on opioid-based medications the increasing popularity of acupuncture is understandable. Research is also ongoing regarding the stimulation of the body’s natural secretion of somatostatin and cannabinoids through the use of acupuncture. Both of these chemicals are involved in the modulation of pain.
By stimulating the theoretical ‘seat’ of the problem – the brain, neurological acupuncture has enormous promise – and that is recognized by researchers who continue to explore its effects. It is a path well worth considering for those with a variety of conditions that affect the central nervous system.