A Biomedical-based acupuncture diagnosis is based on the same principles of anatomy and physiology as all specialties of medicine, so it requires the same examination process to determine a diagnosis and treatment plan. Anatomical assessment of which neuromuscular distribution has been traumatized directs the treatment strategy.
During treatment, the most common response is deep relaxation. Acupuncture influences the cerebellum, hippocampus, amygdala, and septal area connections in the brain effecting mood and emotional state. Stimulation and release of brain stem serotonin also occurs triggering a cascade throughout the body leading to feelings that ranges from euphoria to deep relaxation and calmness.
A range of 6-12 treatments is generally enough to demonstrate subjective, objective and most importantly functional improvement. As these improvements are reported, the continuing treatment schedule is adjusted to correspond with the individual patient’s rate of response.
One of the most profound effects is its impact on the autonomic nervous system. Within 15 minutes of the therapy, the nervous system shifts from a sympathetic to parasympathetic state. This means the body goes from the ‘flight or fight’ response that coincides with pain and stress to a restorative state, which leads to a deep state of calm that ripples into the rest of the day and often for many days following.
This initial response is very fast. It should be perceived as almost instantaneous by the patient. After needling therapy the patient goes home and the pain may return. The body, just like the mind, has a hard time breaking bad habits. But if the patient returns in a couple of days to get another treatment, the neural threshold will be jumped again.
Consistent treatment will eventually break the protective neurological patterns and allow the body to stay in the non-pain, functional state. The technical term for this is re-establishment of neurological homeostasis.
Following a course of treatment, most patients feel pain relief and notice improved function in the injured area. In most muscle-skeletal conditions, an initial short course of treatment will generally determine the rate of response and need for additional care.
A range of 6-12 treatments is generally enough to demonstrate subjective, objective and most importantly functional improvement. As these improvements are reported, the continuing treatment schedule is adjusted to correspond with the individual patient’s rate of response. There are a small percentage of patients that experience slight soreness after treatment – this is a sign that the repair process is being reactivated in the injured area. If soreness does occur, several cycles with an ice compress will generally soothe the area.
It is important that you communicate everything you feel to your acupuncturist as it will help him/her assess your response and adjust your therapy accordingly to maximize improvement.