Treatment Philosophies

A fundamental concept of acupuncture is the balanced flow of life energy, Qi, through the body. The Qi flows in well-defined, but as yet undetectable "vessels" called "meridians." When the flow of Qi is blocked, by disease or injury, symptoms of illness, e.g., pain, swelling, and tenderness, manifest themselves. Acupuncture points are well-demarcated areas along these "vessels," which are known to "unblock" the flow of Qi. This is known as the Principle Meridian System, with which Western medical doctors are most familiar. This is also the simplest, most straightforward system in acupuncture for resolving the blockages.

Patients with pelvic floor problems are anything but straightforward. Their treatments will involve other, more complex meridian systems in addition to the previously discussed Principle Meridian System. The next deeper system is known as the Distinct Meridian System. According to traditional acupuncture theory, this system can provide direct access to an organ and help to release this obstruction. Another deeper, denser meridian system is the "Curious" or "Irregular" system. The Curious system helps to balance and coordinate energy flows in the principle meridians, which affect all the systems. These two systems, the Curious and the Distinct, are difficult to use and activate, but can offer profound relief of symptoms if they work.

Normally, an acupuncturist would use only one meridian system per visit. Because of the profound nature of these problems, I combine two of three of the above treatment systems together at any one session rather than just using one, and I find a combination that works. That is, the patient either immediately reports improvement in symptoms, if they are present at the time, or lets me know at the following treatment session of the improvement in their chronic symptoms. I then use that acupuncture program for at least four sessions. Acupuncture promotes a subtle response, which increases over time. Generally, three or

Table 9-5.1. Acupuncture protocols for pelvic floor dysfunction

System

Command Points

Notes

TY-SY

KI3—.at 4 Hz

Use KI10 instead of KI3 if tender

BL60

KI-BL

KI10 crossed to BL40

EA to focusing needles placed when tender

BL10 return

and crossed as +: BL27, BL28,and/or BL30,

or if more tender BL31,32,33, and/or 34

all + at15-60Hz

Chong-Mo

SP4 crossed KI3

EA + to focusing needles used if tender:

MH6 couplet

KI11, ST30, CV2,3,4 at 2-4Hz

Dai-Mo

GB41, GB26

Focusing needle used if tender: GB27,28

TH5 couplet

four treatments are required to obtain significant reduction in symptoms for these chronic conditions.

Actual treatments consist of the Tai Yang-Shao Yin (TY-SY) Principle Meridian, the Kidney Bladder (KI-BL) Distinct Meridian, and the Chong Mo-Dai Mo Curious Meridian System. The important points for these circuits and their focusing points are listed in Table 9-5.1. Points used for focusing are selected if they are tender on palpation. Electroacupuncture (EA) is used at all sessions. Generally, I use lower frequency (2-4 Hz) with the Principle and Curious Meridian Systems. This has been shown to amplify the release of endorphins and presumably other active neurohumoral substances. I use higher frequency (EA) with the KI-BL Distinct Meridian System. This helps to deactivate the intense musculoskeletal trigger points so often present in these patients, similar to percutaneous nerve stimulation.

I often begin my female patients with a TY-SY Principle Meridian program and a Chong Mo-Dai Mo program. This has proven to be more effective in the female. Conversely, the KI-BL Distinct Meridian System seems to be more effective in the male, combined with a TY-SY Principle Meridian circuit with additional abdominal focusing points that are tender (Table 9-5.1). These abdominal points are needled at a very acute angle so the patient can be turned prone and not have the needle penetrate further or be uncomfortable. Incidentally, these treatments also help the irritable bowel symptoms that many of these patients exhibit concurrently.

Acupuncture For Cynics

Acupuncture For Cynics

Have You Always Been Curious About Acupuncture, But Were Never Quite Sure Where To Stick The Needles? If you associate acupuncture with needles, pain and weird alternative medicine then you are horribly misinformed about the benefits of the world's oldest form of medicinal treatment.

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