Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, but only became popular in North America in the 1970’s.   There are many variations of acupuncture but the two distinct forms are referred to as classical acupuncture and modern acupuncture.
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture
Classical acupuncture has many origins but the most commonly referred form is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine otherwise known as TCM.   There are a 361 TCM acupuncture points that are located on 14 different meridians.  Meridians are like rivers that interconnect different parts of the body.  Some examples are the liver meridian and bladder meridian.  It is said that within each meridian circulates Qi.  In TCM Qi, pronounced “chee” is the body’s life energy that supports the activities required to sustain life.  Acupuncture points are specific points located on meridians close to the surface of the body.  These points are comparable to adjustment valves, and they enable the practitioner to manipulate and regulate Qi.  A true TCM practitioner will usually diagnose with different methods than we are used to in western medicine, and will use acupuncture points that are in different areas to where your complaint is (ie. Hand points for neck pain).  However, due to  acupuncture’s recent popularity in North America, specific TCM points have been identified as being effective for many western conditions such as muscle strains, hemorrhoids, neck pain, menstrual pain etc.  Now western practitioners can use TCM points without diagnosing with TCM methods.
Western Acupuncture
Modern acupuncture, sometimes referred to as Western acupuncture, looks at what happens at a cellular level rather than manipulating Qi.  There are 20 points, called homeostatic acupoints, which are not needled for certain conditions but rather when they are symptomatic.  New research in the field supports that acupuncture is a wonderful modality for stress relief, pain relief, tissue healing and activation of immune and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.   Therefore when practiced in the western sense, it is most commonly used at the site of injury. Both forms have been used with electric stimulation which is called percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS).  PENS produces a greater analgesic effect than dry needling, by releasing a greater amount as well as different types of endorphins at different frequencies.  Finally PENS can target specific muscles, “turning them on” after an injury and prior to rehabilitation.  This same method is used with elite athletes who lack injury but seek optimal muscle function and has been termed “performance care”. At Georgian Family Chiropractic we have blended both classical and modern acupuncture together to give our practice members the most effective care.