Santa Cruz Acupuncture in Capitola
Acupuncture, treating more than pain and symptoms
Treating the Underlying Cause of Illness
The myth that acupuncture only treats pain began with the first nationally televised acupuncture treatment. In the 1970's, open heart surgery using acupuncture anesthesia was broadcast nationally. Since that time, many people remember that acupuncture stops pain. Further scientific research has proven that acupuncture can stimulate endorphins and enkephalins, the body's naturally occurring opiates that control pain.
In the case of acupuncture anesthesia, an acupuncturist does stimulate the release of naturally occurring chemicals within the body so that there is little or no need for additional anesthetics. This reduces the risks associated with operations and also allows for swifter recovery periods. However, an acupuncturist uses different techniques other than acupuncture anesthesia to stop pain when treating acute or chronic pain or when treating internal medicine disorders. Additionally, endorphins and enkephalins are not the only beneficial and naturally occurring chemicals that acupuncture can stimulate.
Acupuncture can restore normal hormonal secretions to balance menstrual disorders, stimulate fibrinogen to help in the healing of wounds, stimulate enzymes to aid digestion, and acupuncture can increase the local micro-circulation of blood to speed tissue repair. So, when a patient asks me, "I feel much better, but are you just hiding the pain?”, the answer is that acupuncture not only stops pain but also reduces swelling and assists in the healing of the underlying disorder. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is applied to eliminate both the symptoms and the root underlying cause of the problem.
Acupuncture has a huge advantage over medications for pain in the case of arthritis and chronic inflammatory diseases. Acupuncture can prevent morphological change of soft tissue and bony structures. For example, acupuncture can prevent an arthritis sufferer's fingers from twisting and bending over the years. How? By decreasing the inflammatory process, cells called osteoblasts do not build up bony structures in response to inflammation. Rather, acupuncture promotes homeostasis of the endocrine system such that osteoblast-osteoclast balance is achieved. Acupuncture achieves this balance by stimulating the micro-circulation of blood to the affected regions thereby preventing the body’s chemical factory, the endocrine system, from releasing a cascade of chemicals that cause tissue malformation. This cascade of inflammatory chemicals that cause pain, known as the ‘complement cascade’ in western allopathic medicine, is stimulated by excess sympathetic nervous system stimuli. Acupuncture can balance the nervous system signals in the local region of pain or disharmony by promoting homeostasis of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nerve stimuli in the region. This is the mechanism by which acupuncture prevents morphological decay in areas of pain and inflammation.