Did you know that acupuncture can be done without needles? Acupuncture is one of the therapeutic tools of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM views the body energy as flowing through a system of energy pathways called meridians. When this energy, also known as Chi, flows unencumbered the body and mind can experience a profound sense of well-being as the energy heals, repairs and rejuvenates as is flows. To affect this flow of energy TCM practitioners use needles inserted into energy points (known as acupuncture) along the meridians to tonify, stimulate and balance the flow of energy. Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for many health conditions and has a well-established evidence base.
Practitioners may also apply pressure, either with fingers, elbows or even tiny ‘seeds’ or pellets, to these individual points to affect the energy flow – known as acupressure. These days with scientific and technological advances we can also use low light therapy (technical term = photobiomodulation) and microcurrents to stimulate, tone and balance the points on the energy pathways. Collectively these treatments – acupressure, ear seed therapy, low light therapy/laser acupuncture and microcurrent acupuncture (sometimes known as electro-acupuncture) have become known as ‘no needle acupuncture’. So, as practitioners we now have several ways to work with the energy flow through the meridians.
Light therapy/laser therapy and microcurrent therapy have been around for a long time – as early as the 1970s – both in medicine and more recently in the beauty industry. Strong laser light is commonly used in surgical procedures, lower level light is used in wound healing, and laser light is used in the beauty and aesthetic industry for hair removal and to stimulate hair growth, as well as wrinkle reduction. In dentistry blue light is often used to set fillings and sealants a well as tooth whitening. Microcurrents are used in TENs machines to help relieve pain – if you’ve ever been pregnant and experienced labour pains, or experienced muscle pain you may have used a TENs machine to relieve the pain.
Low light acupuncture and microcurrent acupuncture have established a large body of evidence-based research, have proven to be incredibly safe, convenient, and as effective as needle acupuncture. The treatments have been shown to help regenerate cells which aids wound healing, decrease pain, reduce inflammation, improve circulation and stimulate hair growth.
Amazingly, a 1991 study showed that low laser light travels in the acupuncture meridians throughout the body. Recent functional MRI studies used advanced brain imaging to show that low laser light acupuncture has measurable effects on the brain similar to needle acupuncture. In 2009 a systematic review published in The Lancet found that 280 patients with acute neck pain had immediate relief that lasted up to 22 weeks after completion of a course of treatment. Studies show that these treatments have as broad an application as needle acupuncture and have documented success in treating many conditions, including:
- Pain control
- Depression and anxiety
- Weight loss
- Post-operative nausea
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- TMJ myofascial pain
- Dental anaesthesia
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Dry eyes
- Bell’s Palsy
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Chemotherapy nausea
- Knee osteoarthritis
As a practitioner I love using ear seed therapy, low light therapy acupuncture and microcurrent acupuncture treatments in situations where needle acupuncture may not be suitable. For example,
- patients don’t want needle acupuncture.
- patients are sensitive to or unable to tolerate needle acupuncture.
- patients for whom it’s not safe or who have other co-existing health conditions where acupuncture would not be suitable.
- treating specific acupuncture points with needles would be unsafe or very uncomfortable for the patient.
- for elderly or frail patients.
- for young children.
There are many advantages during the treatment session too:
- It is very safe – treatments penetrate the skin without piercing or puncturing the skin.
- minimal/no infection risk.
- It is painless – patients don’t usually feel anything during the treatment.
- Easy to perform and quick – treatment on each point with laser or microcurrent can be from 3 seconds to 60 seconds.
These treatment modalities fit perfectly into the range of treatments I currently offer and are in harmony with my treatment aims which are to help re-regulate and restore best possible function in my patients as well as help build resilience – and who among us these days doesn’t need a resilience booster!
If you’re not a fan of needles then give no-needle acupuncture a try. Ear Seed Therapy is very popular these days and is a fabulous way of giving yourself a treatment – especially if you’re not able to visit a practitioner for any reason. You can purchase ear seeds kits on the internet and if you purchase wisely the kits will give you full instructions on how to use them for different conditions, contain good quality ear seeds and offer a back up and support service too. You may want to look at the ear seed kits available on my website – link below.
If you are interested in finding out more about the treatments I offer you’ll find more information on my website here.
I’d love to hear if you’ve tried no-needle acupuncture and what your experience was like so do leave your story in comments.