The Benefits of Acupuncture with Dr. Eugene Capitano

How This Traditional Chinese Medical Practice Can Aid in Everything From Sports Injury Rehabilitation to Pain Relief

Acupuncture is the process of inserting thin, sterilized needles at strategic points in the human body for therapeutic and healing purposes. The practice of acupuncture has a long and rich history. In ancient China, where it was developed, acupuncture carried with it something of a spiritual or mystical quality. Traditional Chinese medicine dictated that a blockage or disturbance in the body’s vital life force, or ‘qi’ (usually pronounced “chi”), could result in serious health problems or even death. Acupuncture was viewed as one of the primary ways to prevent such blockage and keep the life force properly aligned. In the contemporary era, the mystical qualities of acupuncture have been de-emphasized in favor of a more scientific approach. Modern clinicians tend to focus on its restorative effects on soft tissue, as well its ability to stimulate the peripheral nervous system, and its capacity to provide pain relief. According to Dr. Eugene Capitano, the medical benefits of acupuncture and numerous and varied. Here are a few salient examples:

Acupuncture is Mostly Painless

Perhaps it would be helpful to start by dispelling some common misconceptions. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, when administered by a trained professional, the insertion of paper-thin needles all over a person’s body is completely painless. In fact, the strategic points on the body chosen for needle placement are such that pricking them merely elicits feelings of low-grade pressure or a slight, dull ache. Sometimes needles are warmed before insertion and sometimes they carry a mild electric charge, but both of these acupuncture techniques serve only to heighten the effect pain relief. After a session ends, general opinion among recipients of acupuncture treatment is divided; some claim it makes them feel energized, some claim it makes them feel relaxed, and some have reported nothing more than a mild tingling sensation. That being said, when conducted by an amateur or individual who has not been adequately educated in proper needle placement, acupuncture can be painful.

Acupuncture is Safe

“Acupuncture is regulated by various agencies of government as well as internally, just the same as every other field of medicine” states Dr. Capitano. There are stringent standards of hygiene enforced on those who practice it. Acupuncture needles are sterilized, used only once, then disposed of. Before insertion, the area around a needle puncture site is swabbed with rubbing alcohol or another disinfectant. Although some minor bleeding and bruising is a fairly common side effect of acupuncture, most patients who report this also report it produces no major discomfort and that it dissipates quickly. However, it should be noted that when conducted by someone who is improperly trained, acupuncture can produce adverse effects, the most common of which is infection. There are also some medical conditions it is unwise to treat with acupuncture, such as blood disorders like hemophilia. Those with cardiac pacemakers, infusion pumps, or other electrical medical devices implanted in their body should avoid electroacupuncture.

Acupuncture is an Effective Method of Pain Relief

Inserting needles into acupuncture points stimulates the body’s peripheral nervous system, resulting in the release of endorphins and other pain-killing chemicals to the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals attach themselves to the body’s natural opiate receptors, and work to block the pathways that relay pain signals to the brain. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, acupuncture is an effective treatment for pain associated with headaches, backaches, menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, myofascial injuries, dental pain after surgery, and nausea caused by surgical anesthesia or cancer chemotherapy. Another major benefit of acupuncture is that it is a drug-free treatment. As such, those who suffer from addiction, as well as people who just generally try to avoid pharmaceuticals, often seek out acupuncture as a preferred method of pain relief.

Acupuncture Assists in Sports Injury Rehabilitation

Increasingly, the benefits of acupuncture in treating sports injuries have been touted by more and more clinicians. Whether the nature of the injury is a single acute traumatic event or the culmination of years of repetitive stress, acupuncture has proven an effective means of reducing inflammation, increasing flexibility, and encouraging blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients into the affected area. Many recent studies indicate that, especially when used in conjunction with the conventional R.I.C.E. treatment (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), acupuncture plays a crucial part in overall rehabilitative therapy. This is now so universally accepted as medical fact that many professional sports teams retain the services of a trained acupuncturist on their staff.

Dr. Eugene Capitano states that while acupuncture was met with skepticism by most practitioners of Westernized medicine in past decades, these days it is widely regarded as a safe, largely painless procedure that produces many beneficial results. Among these are its effectiveness as a drug-free alternative to pain relief, and its ability to hasten recovery in those suffering from sports injuries.