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Eight Principle Patterns in Chinese Medicine and Use of Acupuncture Needles

Part Five: Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Series – Eight Principle

Chinese medicine recognizes many patterns of disharmony.

All of these disharmonies can be grouped into what is known as the Eight Principle Patterns.

One of the major tasks of the physician is to discern between these Eight Principles. These 8 principles are composed
of 4 pairs of opposites:

  1. Yin/Yang – tells whether the disharmony is Yin or Yang.
  2. Interior/Exterior – tells where the disharmony is located. Related to chronic or acute diseases.
  3. Deficiency/Excess – also related to chronic or acute disease.
  4. Hot/Cold

Much research is currently being conducted showing the efficacy of Acupuncture in certain diseases, one of which
is pain relief. In 1997, the National Institute of Health carried out effective and well executed scientific studies
that provided important evidence validating that Acupuncture was effective for many different ailments, such as
relieving pain after dental surgery, helping reduce morning sickness, nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy,
helped with chemotherapy side effects, and anesthesia. Other studies suggest that Acupuncture may be useful for
health issues such as:

  • asthma
  • osteoarthritis
  • low back pain
  • headache
  • menstrual cramps
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • other chronic pain conditions
  • traumatic accidents

Insertion of the needles has been describes as feeling like a mosquito bite, or a pin prick. After insertion, the
needles can be stimulated by twirling them to cause a mild tingling or aching sensation. Needles may be inserted ½ to
1 inch in depth. They can be either left in for 30-45 minutes or withdrawn in and out in a quick fashion.

In order for the patient to get better faster, it is imperative or important that he/she be seen as soon as possible
after a trauma or accident has occurred. Treatment will be more effective both in duration and in completion if the
patient is seen as soon as possible or immediately.

Initially, the acupuncture treatment should be carried out as frequently as 2-3x per week, then as the patient starts
to show improvement, the treatments can be spaced out to once per week, then gradually to every two weeks, then once
per month, as long as the patient does not relapse. Acupuncture treatments are cumulative, and they build upon one
another, thus affecting a release from pain, or initiating a stable condition.

Generally a response of some sort or improvement can be seen almost immediately in some cases, or gradually in other
cases. Each individual case is different, so there is no prediction of who will respond better. However, if there
is absolutely no response after 10 acupuncture sessions, then the therapy probably isn’t working and should
be stopped. In general, chronic pain relief should be perceptible after about 6 sessions. A responsible acupuncturist
will acknowledge when treatment seems to be ineffective and will not continue.

There are several theories that explain how acupuncture works:

1. Acupuncture raises levels of triglycerides, specific hormones, prostaglandin’s, blood cell counts, gamma
globulins, opsonins, and overall antibody levels. This is called the “Augmentation of Immunity” theory.

2. The “Endorphin” theory states that acupuncture stimulates the secretion of endorphins in the body
(specifically Enkaphalins).

3. The “Neurotransmitter” theory states that certain neurotransmitter levels (brain chemicals such as
seratonin and nor adrenaline_ are affected by acupuncture.

4. “Circulatory” theory states that acupuncture has the effect of constricting or dilating blood vessels.
This may be caused by the body’s release of vasodilators (such as histamine) in response to acupuncture.

5. One of the most popular theories is the “Gate Control” theory. The perception of pain is controlled
by a part of the nervous system which regulates the impulse which later will be interpreted as pain. This part of
the nervous system is overwhelmed, and it closes. This closure prevents some of the impulses from getting through.
The first gates to close would be the ones that are the smallest. The nerve fibers that carry the impulses of pain
are rather small nerve fibers called “C fibers”. These are the gates that close during Acupuncture.

That concludes this series on Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture with hopes that this information will broaden your
understanding of the benefits of this ancient healing system and its wisdom for healing and balancing the body.

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by Dr. Leia Melead