22. June 2017 · Comments Off on Can Acupuncture Be Used to Help Treat Children with Cerebral Palsy? · Categories: Acupuncture · Tags:

Acupuncture is a Chinese form of complementary therapy that is meant to alleviate pain and treat disease. For some, this treatment is a means of relief from ailments and used as an alternative to NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs),acetaminophen, and other -the-counter drugs. Acupuncture is most commonly used for neck pain, joint pain, back pain, and headaches.

Despite the frigid treatment acupuncture has gotten from the medical community in the United States, it is widely deemed to be a healing tradition than a medical treatment.

Acupuncture is a relatively new treatment for children and adults suffering from Cerebral Palsy. Research efforts are ongoing to see if it has any effect against the various symptoms of Cerebral Palsy. Some of those researches examined the treatment’s efficacy for hypertonicity, repair of brain injury, and chronic pain relief.

A few studies have actually been undertaken to test acupuncture’s impact on Cerebral Palsy; however, in at least one formal study done by the University of Arizona in conjunction with the United States National Institutes of Health, which is a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services, it was seen that acupuncture works in decreasing muscle hypertonicity in children that resulted in the alleviation of muscle discomfort, pain, and tension.

China has also released the results of a clinical study revealing that acupuncture speeds up the healing and recovery of injured brain nerves and restores normal brain function of children with Cerebral Palsy.

Although more research is needed to further validate the effectiveness of acupuncture as a viable alternative treatment for chronic pain in people with Cerebral Palsy, some studies also indicate the treatment’s ability to alleviate pain associated with other conditions, like postsurgical dental pain, osteoarthritis, myofascial pain, headaches, chronic pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

There are several theories that attempt to explain why acupuncture treatment developed; however, no record exists regarding how acupuncture evolved and developed or why it was used.

Acupuncture became a household word in the United States in the early 1970s.Thistriggered the popularity of the other complementary and alternative therapies in this country.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture in its most conventional form, is done by practitioners whose main tools are small slender needles to penetrate the skin at certain points on the body. According to Chinese medicine theory, when a needle is inserted into a certain point, it influences the movement of life force or qi that courses through our body via energetic pathways called meridians.

Acupunctureis premised on the principle that all functions of the body are influenced by qi, and if disturbances in this flow occur, it can lead to pain and other maladies; when needles are inserted into specified acupoints, that flow is reestablished, enhanced, or opened.

The Five main functions of qi are:

 Warming of the limbs
 Actuation, or encouraging blood and qi flow by stimulating certain processes in the body
 Defense, against spiritual or pathogenic infiltrators
 Conversion of air, drink, and food to energy or qi to boost circulation into the meridians of the body
 Containment of body fluids

There are 12 main meridians in the human body, eight are deemed essential or “extraordinary,” to the existence of qi. Meridians are named for the organ systems or parts of the body they are located in.

In Western medicine, there is no physiological counterpart to qi. Practitionerstoday mainly use acupoints located on the hands, legs, neck, and head. The exact number of acupoints or pressure points in the human body is still not known although it is believed to be in the hundreds.

Under the skilled hands of a qualified and licensed practitioner, acupuncture is considered to be quite non-invasive; the needles used are a fraction the size of hypodermic needles, and are never applied deeply into the skin.

Acupuncture is used as a remedy for a variety of health conditions. Some of the conditions it is commonly used for include:

 Bell’s palsy
 Arthritis
 Fibromyalgia
 Drug addiction
 Cancer
 Depression
 Insomnia
 Anxiety
 Muscle tightness and pain

How is acupuncture done?

In your first appointment, your acupuncturist will evaluate you. Most likely, he/she will question you about your symptoms and medical history to see if acupuncture is the right therapyfor your needs.

Afterwards, a physical examination will be conducted to help your acupuncturist determine what acupoints should be used. This examination will involve your

 Pulse
 Breathing capabilities
 Heart rate
 Tongue
 Face

After all the information is gathered, a plan of treatment is established. The pressure points that were selected based on the results of your examination will be stuck with thin small needles. A plastic tube is used to guide the needles into the acupoints. The needles are manipulated through twists and/or up and down motions. The thinness of the needles makes the insertion process virtually painless.

During an acupuncture session, the following modes of treatment may also be performed:

Moxibustion – This is a type of Chinese medicine treatment in which a moxa herb is burnt near an affected site to warm the skin and enhance blood and qi flow

Acupressure – This procedure is similar to acupuncture but instead of needles, manual pressure is used to activate the acupoints

Sonopuncture – This is a type of acupuncture that uses sound to stimulate the pressure points

Electropuncture – This treatment uses electrically-charged needles to stimulate the acupoints

What benefits can acupuncture give to children suffering from Cerebral Palsy?

Part of Cerebral Palsy treatment is to find new ways to better manage the many physical symptoms. Many believe that acupuncture is one potentially viable remedy.

The aforementioned University of Arizona and National Institutes of Health study is by far the most comprehensive study of children and acupuncture. Several children were involved in the study whose aim was to see to what degree muscle hypertonicity could be cured.

In the study, there was a 5-year-old child suffering from extremely tight muscles that were hindering the growth of his internal organs. The child’s affect was rather flat and he showed limited vocal ability. He was administered with acupuncture for a few hours that treated seven meridians located on his upper and lower extremities. According to researchers the child experienced a short term reduction in hypertonicity.

The child started to cry during the second treatment because of the insertion of the needles, and the researchers promptly removed the needles and stopped the treatment.

Instead of traditional body acupuncture, ear or auricular acupuncture without needles was used on the child. The treatment made his muscles relax. Anear probe was used to stimulate the acupoints on the ear. After 16 sessions, the limb thrusting of the child decreased by 50 percent.

The Health Sciences Center of the University of Arizona did a randomized controlled trial that showed acupuncture alleviating the symptoms of children suffering from spastic Cerebral Palsy. children ages 12 – 72 months with spasticity was involved in the blind evaluation trial.

One group of children experienced an enhancement in their gross motor function after four months of acupuncture treatmentexceeding the expectations of the researchers. The study concluded that,if done early and correctly, acupuncture can help improve the physical function of children stricken with Cerebral Palsy, although more research still needs to be done.

Laser acupuncture is one area of promise. Instead of needles, it uses pulsating low energy laser beams to target and stimulate the pressure points.The laser beam is aimed at a specific point to generate the same effects as a needle. In China, a study was done on 30 children with brain damage. They experienced improvements in blood circulation to the brain after receiving laser acupuncture on several acupoints on the scalp. This led to an improvement in their physical function.

Where is acupuncture conducted?

Nowadays, acupuncture treatment is usually conducted at wellness centers and specialized clinics that offer the treatment. Since US doctors have not embraced acupuncture as a full-fledged medical treatment, you many not likely see it being performed in a doctor’s office. Be that as it may, all types of therapies whether alternative or conventional should be known by your primary care provider so that he/she can coordinate with the other health professionalsinvolved.

How effective is acupuncture?

Throughout the years, acupuncture has slowly gained adherents in America and in other countries; however, four decades later its effectiveness in relieving symptoms and remedying illnesses is still a matter of serious debate.

The medical establishment has advocated one theory as to how acupuncture works. They believe that its effect on the body is attributed to a placebo effect. This means that when acupuncture treats illness or relieves chronic pain, this is just the result of pure imagination on the part of the patient. A lot of medical reviews have shown that people have experienced symptomatic relief by undergoing the procedure, and they include those brought on by serious illnesses including headaches, migraines, or arthritis. Other studies have suggested that acupuncture plays a key role in the improvement of fertility.
Another Western medical theory suggests that acupuncture promotes the release of endorphins in the bloodstream that leads to temporal amelioration of pain and other physical symptoms.

The University of Arizona /NIH study on children with Cerebral Palsy proved that acupuncture can help decrease muscle hypertoncity in children.

Doesacupuncture carry any risks?

After more than four decades, fierce debate still rages regarding the efficacy of acupuncture. Although only a few research has been doneon the safety of body and mind practices for children, the NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) states, “When conducted by properly trained practitioners, acupuncture appears to be safe for most children; but the conclusion of a 2011 research review revealed that adverse side effects can happen when the treatment is performed by poorly trained practitioners.”

Acupuncture cannot be considered free of risks because it entails the sticking of needles into a person’s skin.

Theseare the typical risks related to acupuncture treatment:

 Site injury
 Pain
 Dizziness
 Hematoma
 Bleeding
 Transmission of diseases
 Infection

Acupuncturists in the United States are required to use sterilized disposable needles only once to minimize the risk of transmission of blood-borne diseases and infection. If a needle is applied too deeply into the skin, there is also the likelihood of site injury which could lead to blood vessel and/or organ damage or head or brain injuries. However, all these very rarely occur if the treatment is done by a fully qualified and licensed practitioner.

What qualifications acupuncturists practicing in the US must meet?

For eligibility to practice in the 50 states,acupuncturists should be able to meet stringent educational requirements. There is a three to fouryear graduate level university program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture or Oriental Medicine that all candidates need to complete. Furthermore, many states require acupuncturists to get certification from the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine).

This commission has implemented certain requirements for various certifications. Before a candidate can be eligible to take an examto get certification for pre-graduation, more than 1,485 hours of training is typically required. To practice acupuncture, 870 hours of training in the ACAOM’s Oriental Medicine Program is also required. Then, every two years, sixty more hours of training are required by all licensed acupuncturists in order to re-certify.

Morning Quail Acupuncture
300 Beardsley Ln Bldg. E Ste. 7
Austin, TX 78746
(512) 293-1311