|"It is better to wound yourself a thousand times|
than to do a single harm to another person."
- Dr. Li Chang-yuan,
interviewed by James Reston in 1972
I remembered that acupuncture can be used to bypass the nerves along specific pathways to stop her pain. During her treatment, I applied electricity to the acupuncture needles I had inserted for her toothache. Her pain immediately resolved, and she asked if my services would be available during her next dental procedure.
I was able to stop her pain so quickly because of the first powerful effect of acupuncture to catch the attention of the West.
A little history
|Adding electrical stimulation to acupuncture points|
interrupts the signal of pain in nerve gate pathways.
Amazed by his experiences in China, he returned to the US to be one of the first journalists to provide accounts of his acupuncture treatment and his observation of treatments performed by clinicians abroad. (If you'd like to read the original article, here's a free reprint.)
|This diagram is linked to an article|
on pain management using acupuncture.
To explain how acupuncture stops pain, scientists introduced Gate Control Theory, which states that signals, which travel from the site of pain to the brain through high-traffic gates, can be moderated by influencing stimulation in corresponding tissues, such as with acupuncture. These gates can be overwhelmed by the acupuncture stimulation, and the result is no sensation of pain.
There are no drugs or other substances within the acupuncture needle; in order to achieve this powerful effect, the needles can be used alone or with added electrical stimulation.
Many amazed onlookers in the West have witnessed surgeries where the patient was awake and alert, their pain modulated by acupuncture. This is not a common practice in the West, yet it is a useful opportunity for patients who do not have the option of receiving anesthetic medications. It serves for the rest of us as a powerful example of how acupuncture stops pain.