Soft tissue pain often starts to subside immediately after needling therapy and even completely disappears within a few days. After needling, the peripheral mechanisms of normalizing soft tissue dysfunction are operating. Without central command from the brain and spinal cord, however, peripheral organs cannot work without central coordination; therefore the role of the CNS is important. Even though this book focuses on clinically observable and measurable physical parameters such as musculoskeletal balance, the basic background of the central mechanism of needling is indispensable for understanding peripheral mechanisms.
The neurochemical mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia have been investigated extensively in many Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, and North American universities. Han's10 laboratory at Beijing Medical University and Pomeranz's1,11 laboratory at the University of Toronto have contributed solid scientific data explaining the neurochemical processes of acupuncture analgesia.
The explanation of acupuncture analgesia is simplified for the purposes of this textbook. For example, after pain impulses reach the spinal cord, at least six neural pathways transmit those impulses from spinal cord to cerebral cortex, and numerous neurochemicals are released at different sites to modulate pain signals, including three different endorphins (enkephalin, P-endorphin, and dynor-phin), acetylcholine, cholecystokinin, serotonin, adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), soma-tostatin, substance P, vasoactive intestinal peptide, neurotensin, CGRP, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), epinephrine and norepinephrine, and cytokines. More substances will probably be discovered in addition to this long list. However, a detailed description of interactions among neurochemicals is beyond the scope of this book.
The purpose of needling treatment is the integration of physiologic systems. This integration is achieved by normalizing any dysfunction that is caused by local or systemic pathologic condition.
The neurochemical mechanisms of needling provide analgesia (pain relief); promote homeosta-sis and tissue healing; improve the immune system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, and endocrine system; and promote psychologic adjustment for systemic integration. The integrated nature of these mechanisms explains why problems as different as asthma, tinnitus, irritable bowel, and gastric ulcers are all improved in the course of needling treatment for pain management. Needling therapy restores the body's control system and promotes self-healing through a systemic integration that is suppressed during disease or injury.
The systemic integration of physiologic and even anatomic functions of the human body by ISDN therapy is understood to result from activating the reflex circuits at different levels of the nervous system: the spinal cord segments, the brainstem, the hypothalamus and thalamus, the upper part of the limbic system, and the cortex.
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Have You Always Been Curious About Acupuncture, But Were Never Quite Sure Where To Stick The Needles? If you associate acupuncture with needles, pain and weird alternative medicine then you are horribly misinformed about the benefits of the world's oldest form of medicinal treatment.