What is Contemporary Medical Acupuncture
Contemporary medical acupuncture (also known as functional integrated acupuncture or biomedical acupuncture) takes the traditional form of Chinese acupuncture and modifies it using modern day scientific understandings of human physiology and anatomy. At first glance contemporary medical acupuncture appears very similar to the traditional Chinese approach, as the same small, thin needles are placed in specific points on the body for a period of 5 to 30 minutes and removed. However, there are considerable differences between the approaches.
Contemporary vs. Traditional
In contemporary medical acupuncture, treatment is given after a conventional medical/neuro-functional diagnosis. This diagnosis is made based on established methods of a medical history taking and physical examination. After the diagnosis is established, the practitioner will use acupuncture needles to influence the physiology of specific structures that were identified in the initial examination. Needle placement will be determined based on specific goals to affect local tissue structures, target specific spinal segmental outflow, as well as influence central regulatory effects on the nervous system. In summary the points used in this form of acupuncture are chosen based on their specific neuroanatomical and neuromuscular location related to your specific pain or dysfunction. The practitioner will typically use contemporary medical acupuncture as another treatment tool along with other therapeutic approaches such as: manual joint manipulation and mobilization, soft tissue techniques, stretching and rehabilitation exercises.
On the other hand, a traditional Chinese acupuncturist or Nathuropathic doctor will also do a very comprehensive history/physical examination but make a diagnosis based on complex theories regarding disturbance in the body’s balance (energy) that need to be addressed with treatment. This traditional form of acupuncture involves the similar use of small needles inserted at specific points on the body, but aimed to help to regulate the flow of energy or Qi. Dysregulation of this energy in the body is stated to be at the root of all ailments and disease. By regulating the state of qi with the needles, traditional acupuncturists aim to help guide the body back into homeostasis. While modern science may find it difficult to explain in conventional medical terms, traditional Chinese acupuncture has been around for more than 2500 years and has produced positive results for centuries.
Since contemporary medical acupuncture lends itself to the same method of understanding musculoskeletal complaints, it makes for an excellent clinical tool for many modern day manual practitioners to add to their current toolkit, including chiropractors, physiotherapists, massage therapy and more.
Commonly Treated Conditions (based on current evidence):
- Neck pain
- Upper limb pain, (especially rotator cuff tendonitis, tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow)
- Lower limb pain
- Low back pain
- Chronic knee pain
- Myofascial pain – including myofascial trigger points
We at SpineWise have more then one provider that has been trained in acupuncture. Give us a call today to book your consultation! 905-623-8388