Acupuncture Anesthesia Essay

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Since the first report on the success of acupuncture anesthesia in 1970s, much attention has been attracted to the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy worldwide. Analgesia is one of the most important effects of acupuncture. Generally, mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia contain mechanisms of acupuncture anesthesia, but the latter does not represent the entirety of acupuncture analgesia. This is because acupuncture not only treats acute or transient pain, but also chronic or persistent pain resulted from inflammations or other causes. Clinically, the pain usually occurs prior to acupuncture, either needling or moxibustion can be used for treatment. For acupuncture anesthesia, an induction period of acupuncture is required prior to the surgery and only needling or acupressure may be applied. In addition, the surgical pain pertains to the category of acute pain. However, most modern studies on mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia are conducted focusing on the mechanisms of acupuncture anesthesia. In the following discussion, we will first outlook those studies on acupuncture anesthesia, then provide a complementary explanation on mechanisms of clinical acupuncture analgesia, and finally analyze their implications in improving results of clinical analgesia. Primarily, mechanisms of acupuncture anesthesia or analgesia include two closely associated aspects: neural and humoral mechanisms [27]. 1.1. Neural mechanisms Effect upon arrival of qi, literally meaning pain is eliminated instantly when needling sensations are acquired after needle-insertion, is a familiar clinical fact when acupuncture is used for kinds of pain. Of course, such quick responses are not resulted from changes of humoral factors. There were similar successes duri... ... middle of paper ... ...ure anesthesia, auricular needling is often used. By stimulating sensory receptors at auricular points, signals inputted into the body are transmitted through the trigeminal lemniscuses instead of the spinal cord. There were studies demonstrated anterior and posterior portions of the nucleus of spinal tract of trigeminal nerve had similar feedback effects to the gate system in the posterior horn of spinal cord, which could be used to modulate transmissions of pain impulses. This might be able to explain why auricular acupuncture has analgesia effects on surgical or painful irritation on the head and face. However, anesthesia effects of auricular acupuncture during thoracic and abdominal surgeries cannot be explained by any hypotheses about the gate control occurring at either posterior horns of the spinal cord or the nucleus of spinal tract of trigeminal nerve [27].

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