NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS

Neurological Acupuncture

Out of all the research that’s been done on Acupuncture the greatest efforts have gone into acupuncture in the treatment of neurological disorders. This is because of the inherently strong effect acupuncture has on the nervous system, and why acupuncture is effective in treating and managing:

Epilepsy

Seizures

Stroke

Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia

Parkinson’s Disease

Transient Global Amnesia

Transient Ischemic Attack

Neuropathy

Radiculopathy

Pain

Numbness

Tingling

Burning

Swelling

Loss of sensation

Organ issues

Acupuncture works directly on the nerve pathway itself, the spinal segment where the nerve enters/exits the spinal cord, and the brain. Direct nerve stimulation with acupuncture creates a local effect to heal the nerve (via producing nerve growth factor a.k.a. “NGF”) while simultaneously stimulating the tissues that that nerve innervates (attaches to and regulates; like muscle, tendon, bone, etc.). This is how acupuncture locally treats neurological disorders like neuropathy, radiculopathy, swelling, burning, pain, numbness, tingling, loss of feeling, and organ dysfunction.

Neurotrophic factors like NGF are essential in supporting neurogenesis (the constant repair and renewal of new nerve cells as old ones become diseased, dysfunctional, or obsolete) and a healthy working nervous system. The second neurological effect acupuncture has is on the spine itself. The spine is an area where our nerves enter, exit, and have tracts running directly to the brain. At the sides of the spine are called dorsal root ganglia, which are bundles of nerves that meet in one area. Each of these areas has domain over certain regions of your body. For example, the head, face, sense organs (eyes, nose, ear, tongue, etc.), and the neck is controlled by the cranial nerves (from the brain directly) plus the nerves from the spinal segment C1-C4.

The spinal segment responsible for ridding the body of toxins via urination are T10-L2. These segments not only control the organs, tissues, enzymes, and peptides that create the healthy functioning of these systems, but also control how those functions integrate with the rest of the body. This spinal segmental mechanism of acupuncture is why we can treat constipation, colitis, and a long list of other organ related pathologies from areas of the torso. While I cannot physically insert a needle into the colon and intestines for a healing response like I can with muscle tissue, I can treat the spinal segment and associated nerves that control the function of the colon and intestines.

Lastly and most interesting, acupuncture works directly on brain chemistry and activity. Scalp acupuncture as well as acupuncture around the spine have a potent effect on brain chemistry, and neurological brain activity. For example, when treating Alzheimer’s disease I would target the area of the patient’s brain where there are amyloid sheets and plaque, while also targeting organs like the liver and kidneys to help mobilize the excretion of heavy metals. Acupuncture in this instance generates the growth of new and healthy cells while killing off the cells that are no longer functioning (as a result or cause of the amyloid sheets). New research indicates that inflammation of the neurons themselves are a large part of the process involved in Parkinson’s Disease (disrupting the production of Dopamine) and to some degree Alzheimer’s Disease.

As with the last example, acupuncture is effective in treating and managing Parkinson’s Disease by stimulating the areas of the brain where the inflammation is and releasing anti-inflammatory cytokines and other major health inducing modulators. TNF (tumor necrosis factor is produced in large amounts with Parkinson’s Disease) and TNF alpha are seen to have a direct damaging effect on dopaminergic neurons (nerves dependent on our body’s dopamine). By addressing these chemicals and their associated pathways we are activating the patient’s anti-inflammatory response and ability to self heal. Acupuncture changes the gene expression for unhealthy growths, and reduces inflammation, thereby slowing the degeneration of those cells and the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.