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Acupuncture and Acupuncture Points

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Acupuncture is becoming quite popular today as an ancient 3,500-year form of traditional Chinese medicine, based on the theory that a vital force of energy, called “Qi” (pronounced chi), is responsible for controlling our mind and body. With over 2,000 acupuncture points in the body, the acupuncturists have found that each body point can be stimulated to restore the body and mind’s health and balance.

Each point has a very thin metal needle placed into the skin in a painless manner, for periods of 15 to 30 minutes, for multiple sessions over time periods. The point[s] treated depends on the condition of the body or mind that is affected.

The condition known as PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that develops after viewing something life threatening or having a violent assault happen personally. Body changes develop with ranging biological changes and psychological symptoms, with over 30% of affected individuals not being able to get on with their lives after such a traumatic life event, even though it is medically quoted as a normal reaction to abnormal events. With few controlled clinical trials for the treatment of PTSD, a new controversial treatment being used is acupuncture, using points at the face area with focus on the eyes.

Acupuncture and Acupuncture Points in Treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Many treatments for PTSD are available but little clinical trial treatment results are in, as it is a new diagnosis, occurring in more than 5 million men and women in the United States. Many treatments for PTSD are available through the use of antidepressants, tranquilizers, and psychotherapy.

More and more individuals find that due to the recent diagnosis and lack of treatment results of PTSD, they are turning to alternative and complementary medical therapies which are not only less expensive but less dangerous as compared to some of the more traditional medical treatments. Acupuncture treatments have been shown through recent research to be effective in easing fear and reducing traumatic dreams, and can effectively be used in conjunction with psychotherapy for emotional disorders.

In November of 2005, a summary was done by Stephen A. Feig, James Biddle, Eleanor Hynote, Neil Speight, Kenneth Bock, Allan Magaziner, and Joseph E. Rich in regard to the American College for Advancement in Medicine’s 64th International Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine.  The article, “The Role of Acupuncture in Modern Healthcare, Mechanistic Focus on the Cardiovascular System” by John Longhurst, MD, PhD, which shown how manual acupuncture would effect anxiety and depression in the brain area.[1]

            Another study through the University of New Mexico is working on a $250,000 two-year study of the acupuncture effects in the treatment of PTSD.[2] In Acupuncture News, another group of researchers is looking at specific areas of the body for patterns using acupuncture[3]:

The most likely pattern differentiations for PTSD were Heart Shen disturbance caused by Heat, Fire, or a constitutional deficiency; Liver Qi stagnation; and Kidney deficiency. Secondary patterns were outcomes of long-term Liver Qi stagnations. “Liver overacting on Spleen/Stomach, Liver Fire, Phlegm Fire, Phlegm-Damp, and Heart Fire,” and constitution  deficiencies in the Heart, Kidney, and Spleen organ systems.

            When a trained practitioner applies acupressure to specific points of the body, one needs  to understand that  its purpose is to enhance the energy flow by stimulating the point with a needle or finger pressure. The points are stimulated with a two to five seconds of pressure to several minutes, depending on the diagnosis. If only a few points are used, longer periods are required.

The head is the area focused  on due to the energy deficiency, with the points affected being BL2. BL1, TW 23, GB1, and GB 14 under the sixth chakra area, with GV 25, GV 24, GV 20, GV 19, GV 18, GV 17, GB 5, and GV 16 listed under the seventh chakra area of the head. [4]

In the frontal face area which is one of the focuses of PTSD, the BL is the Bladder meridian, with the pressure area being the eye area. BL 1 is the eye itself, and BL 2 is the eyebrow above the eye. This area is connected to the “fight or flight” part of the body’s system, connected to survival and emotions. The point of TW 3 is called the Triple Warmer, located at the corner of the eyebrow, referring to the solar plexus area, which is the area of traumatic pain and hurt. The next point is the GB1 and GB 14 meridian points. They are areas in connection to the Gall Bladder, located at the throat pressure point area, with GB 1 located at the corner of the eye and GB 14 directly above the center of the pupil above the eyebrow, all connecting to inflammation and pain, or eye issues.

            The second facial area is the one which starts from the nose and goes directly over the heat to the base of the skull. GV 24, 25,20, 19, 1, 17, 16 all refer to the conception vessel and requires the total body. The first or 16th point is located right above the occipital protuberance, on the posterior midline of the head, which affects the head and neck. Symptoms of PTSD would be dizziness, wind cold headaches, visual dizziness, throat swelling, earache, eye pain, nosebleeds, or aphasia. The next point is the 17th one, which is located right above GV 16 and so on until the GV meridian points 18th, 19th, and 20th following a pattern coming up the back of the head to the top.  GV 24 is located right under the front hairline downward to the forehead.

This particular point refers to “headaches, chronic sinusitis, nosebleeds, and excessive tearing of the eyes and emotions. GV 25 is located on the tip or top of the nose, referring to restore or maintain consciousness for shock, loss of consciousness, or feeling as if a person was drowning. The GB 5 point is located within the hairway, and refers to headache issues, located between the GV 16 and 17th. By manipulating all of these at once, the energy flow, which is affected, can be unreleased and unblocked from traumatic events.

            In conclusion, it is being found that acupuncture is slowly being proven through several studies by traditional medicine, along with new research being applied. It is considered safe and non-poisonous as compared to some of the traditional medicine, providing individual more choices and safer methods of healthcare.

[1] Longhurst, J., MD, PhD, “The Role of Acupuncture in Modern Healthcare, Mechanistic Focus on the Cardiovascular System”, Oxford Journal. 2005. Retrieved from the web on November 12, 2006. Online web address: http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/3/3/385?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=acupuncture&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&volume=3&issue=3&resourcetype=HWCIT .

[2] Devitt, M.  “UNM Explores Role of Acupuncture in Treating PTSD”. Acupuncture Today. Dec. 2003, Vol 04, Issue 12. Retrieved from the web on November 12, 2006. Online web addess:  http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/archives2003/dec/12ptsd.html .

[3] Acupuncture News. “ Developing a Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnostic Structure for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Jan. 2006, Vol 12, No. 1: 45-57.

[4] Judith, A. “Wheels of Life”, 1990. Llewellyn Publications; St. Paul, Minnesota. 479-490.

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