TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has first appeared in China as one of the therapeutic methods, integrated in the cognitive and philosophical system since 2.650 B.C., while it began being implemented in Europe by the end of 16th century and was institutionalized for the first time in 1951. In 2016, Medical Acupuncture was included in European Union of Medical Specialties (EUMS), as an interdisciplinary specialization, while in Greece, it was recognized as a Complementary Medicine, upon the positive decision of Central Health Council in 2018.
According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Acupuncture regulates the balance of energy or qi traversing the body through 32 meridians (both main and paradoxical ones) without anatomical relations for those canals of energy, while the needles are inserted painlessly into more than 400 spots across the meridians, based on specialized therapeutic protocols for the right angle and depth of the needle insertion. The inserting needles can be replaced by the pressure with fingers of the acupuncturing spots (acupressure), as well as by the placement of cones on them, made by a kind of absinthium that slowly burns, while the results are enhanced with the use of Herbal Therapy.
Medical Acupuncture, with or without the electrical stimulation (Electro-acupuncture), transmits its stimulus at the specific organs, through the autonomous nervous system to specific regions of the brain and other tissues, causing neuroendocrinological changes with an increase in endogenous opioids, such as endorphins, as well as neurotransmitters, serotonin, norepinephrine and an increase in cortisol, ACTH and prostaglandin levels, inducing local, spinal and supraspinal changes.
In recent researches related to the efficacy of acupuncture in stimulating the brain with the assistance of the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the positron emission tomography (PET), it was ascertained that big and particular areas of the brain are activated and deactivated, such as the existence of endorphins in blood.
The techniques of Medical Acupuncture are the Electro-acupuncture with the use of electric devices connected with acupuncture needles, the Neural Acupuncture with the infusion of substances mainly painkillers, the Acupuncture with the use of laser devices, the Ear-acupuncture, the Skull-acupuncture and more generally, the body and abdominal Acupuncture.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the USA examines the possibility of Medical Acupuncture being financially covered by Medicare, Medicaid and the private insurance, while it is imposed that it is integrated in our Medical care system (Greece), as it is referred in the scientific program of the University of West Attica-Greece since 2015.
Medical Acupuncture – Indications
The main indications of Medical Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy of the 107 diseases as mentioned by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), are:
- Ophthalmological Diseases (Stargardt’s disease, Age-related Macular Degeneration, Ischemic Optic Neuropathy, Optic Neuritis, Glaucoma, Usher’s Syndrome, Dry Eye Syndrome, Retinitis Pigmentosa, hereditary Retinal Dystrophies, improvement of Visual Acuity).
- Otorhinolaryngological Diseases (allergic rhinitis, acute rhinitis, acute and chronic sinusitis, flu, acute and chronic pharyngitis, tinnitus, vertigo).
- Lung Diseases (bronchial asthma, allergic asthma).
- Gastrointestinal Diseases (obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, nausea, colic, hiccups, acute and chronic gastritis, duodenal ulcer, acute and chronic colitis, diarrhea).
- Neurological and Musculoskeletal Diseases (trigeminal neuralgia, migraines, headaches, back pain, sciatica, chronic post-traumatic and musculoskeletal pain, metherpetic neuralgia, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, facial paresis, peripheral neuropathy, Meniere’s disease, neurogenic bladder dysfunction, nocturnal enuresis, lateral neuralgia, cervical-brachial syndrome, frozen shoulder, osteoarthritis, back, waist and knee pain, chronic fatigue, sports and post-traumatic pain, carpal tunnel syndrome).
- Gynecological Disorders (dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, menopause, infertility, premenstrual syndrome).
- Urinary System (prostate, libido and erectile dysfunctions, urinary incontinence, recurrent urinary tract infections).
- Psychiatric and Emotional Disorders (stress, anorexia nervosa, depression, emotional dystonia, insomnia).
- Endocrinological Diseases (hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism).
- Skin Diseases (psoriasis, allergic skin diseases) and generally speaking, for the prevention and strengthening of the immune system, the physical and mental performance (athletes, pupils and students), smoking, alcoholism, facial and body aesthetics, longevity and well-being.
The number of session treatments for chronic cases are usually 10, which can be extended to 20, with a frequency that depends on the severity of the case, each one lasting about 30 minutes, always with the consent of the attending Physician.
Medical Acupuncture is a Complementary Therapeutic Implementation of Classic Medicine that is applied at pain centers of 23 Greek hospitals, always with the consent of the attending Physician. It has to be applied solely by specialized Doctor – Acupuncturists, with targeted therapeutic protocols tailored to the patient’s condition and body, without side effects and with disposable needles.
Professor Konstantinos Kouskoukis
Professor of Dermatology – Lawyer
President of the World Academy of Chinese and Complementary Medicine, President of the Hippocratic Academy of Thermal Medicine, V. President of the Global Hippocratic Doctors’ Institute, f. General Secretary Ministry of Education, V. Rector of Democritus University of Thrace.