Advances in Medicine: Ancient Practices Meet Modern Technology
Dr. Thomas Patavino of Thoracic Park Alternative Health

Medicine is forever changing. Surgeries that once left massive scars have been reduced to incisions about the size of a dime. Herbal medicine mentioned only in the writings of Nataive Americans, African and South American tribes and the Far East have found their way into our medicine cabinets and the shelves of most local pharmacies. Chiropractic medicine has made the jump from a misunderstood health practice to mainstream healthcare. Finally, acupuncture has broken through the tangles of misconception and captured the intrigue of modern health care.

Once thought of as a taboo art practiced in the orient, acupuncture has been gaining not only acceptance by American doctors but has trickled its way into the media capturing the curiosity of those seeking relief for their ailments. It now seems you can’t pick up a magazine or catch a special news report that isn’t depicting the use of acupuncture as an alternative therapy for a massive spectrum of health problems. The interest surge of acupuncture began with the release of an American study performed at the University of Maryland School of Medicine nearly 2 years ago. The Today Show televised the findings showing a 40% in pain in arthritis suffers after undergoing a course of acupuncture treatments. This monumental study was released on the heals of a major arthritis drug recall which effected millions of pain suffers. This was a pivotal shift in the exploration of implementing eastern medicine in American health care.

That study has prompted further research looking at the effectiveness of acupuncture for weight loss, pain management, mental illness, drug addiction, infertility, menopause and cancer therapy. Considering the main principal of acupuncture is balancing and stimulating the body to heal itself regardless of the condition the possibilities are endless. It is believed that restoring balance stimulates the immune system to fight disease and pain. This is achieved traditionally by placing needles along specific points in the body in order to achieve desired effects. An example would be sedating a point related to migraine headaches or turning off an overactive mouth point related to overeating in obesity cases. There are over 400 points in the body and ear that are related to symptoms such as infertility, nicotine addiction, stress, every body part such as shoulder or knee pain, asthma, sinus and allergies, weight loss, digestion and organ function.

Acupuncture is typically a painless, bloodless procedure using tiny needles about the thickness of a human hair. Although most people find the procedure relaxing and typically fall asleep during a treatment, many people still have a huge fear of needles. This probably stems from the first time we received our first set of shots from our pediatricians. All the lollipops in the world couldn’t make up for what was on the other side of that syringe. Although most of us have managed to deal with the notion of needles, many are still reluctant to look into acupuncture because the art involves needles. The good news is modern technology has made it possible to receive the benefits of acupuncture without the use of needles.

Laser and electro acupuncture techniques have managed to capture the therapeutic effects of acupuncture without needles. Class 3b lasers stimulate acupuncture points similar to the way a needle would work without touching the skin. The patient feels a little warmth or vibration, but absolutely no pain. This is beneficial as it appeals to 3 groups of people that historically have been reluctant to try acupuncture; the elderly, children and those afraid of needles. Lasers reduce treatment times, are less invasive and totally painless compared to traditional needle acupuncture. The lasers work at specific frequencies to achieve the desired affect. Lasers have been used for surgery, skin conditions and now the 5000 year old art of acupuncture. Now even those who would never consider acupuncture as a viable option for their health concern can reap the rewards of this valuable gift to medicine.