PROFESSOR KONSTANTINOS KOUSKOUKIS
Professor of Dermatology, Lawyer, President of the Hellenic Academy of Thermal Medicine, President of the World Academy of Chinese & Complementary Medicine, V. President of the Global Hippocratic Doctor’s Institute, f. Gen. Secretary of the Ministry of National Education, V. Rector Parliamentary Candidate of New Democracy in B Region of Athens
Biomedical Acupuncture – Traditional Chinese Medicine
Biomedical acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific parts of the body for the prevention or treatment of diseases. It is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, an integrated system used in China since 2.650 B.C.
Most medical specialists who practice Traditional Chinese Medicine additionally use herbal blends combined with minerals and animal products mixed in very complex recipes.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture works by correcting the balance of energy or qi that runs through the body via 32 meridians (major and minor) without anatomical correlations for these energy channels, while needles are painlessly inserted in over 400 points along the meridians, based on personalized therapeutic protocols.
Selecting the points is important, but the angle and depth of needle insertion is equally important. Inserted needles can be substituted for acupressure points with the fingers, as well as the placement on them of cones made of a kind of smoldering wormwood. The acupuncturist usually rotates the needles to maximize their effect, as well as with electrical amplification (electro-acupuncture) with laser, moxa (wormwood) and suction cups. In China, in 1949, there was a strong trend towards modernization, as some leaders proposed the replacement of Traditional Chinese Medicine by Modern Western Medicine while others continued to support the tradition. Thus, in 1958, the Chinese Government decided to recognize it as equal to Western medicine. Today, doctors in China are usually taught both medical systems.
“The Food and Drug Administration is considering the possibility of paving the way for biomedical acupuncture to be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, but there is already insurance coverage for certain conditions.”
Although biomedical acupuncture was always practiced within the Asian communities in the United States, after 1972 there was a general interest in this method and as a result acupuncture schools proliferated, as it was the case in other countries too. However, there are several variations in its application such as auricular acupuncture, body and abdominal acupuncture, cranial acupuncture and the balance method.
The Food and Drug Administration is considering the possibility of paving the way for biomedical acupuncture to be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, but there is already insurance coverage for certain conditions.
Since acupuncture is effective for a variety of diseases, the possibility of integrating biomedical acupuncture into our medical care system is imperative as long as the therapeutic effect is proven using medical scientific methods and research, as stated in the scientific program of the University of West Attica since 2015.
There are many types of acupuncture training and in practice acupuncturists develop each one their own particular therapeutic protocol, starting though with a common basis of points of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Biomedical acupuncture improves vision in refractory eye diseases such as macular degeneration, Stargardt’s disease, glaucoma, pigmentary retinopathy, refractive dysfunctions mainly in early stage (myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, astigmatism), dry eye and post-operative eye restoration always with the agreement of the attending physician. Acupuncture helps many patients who suffer from chronic pains such as neck pains, back pains, kidney colic, dysmenorrhea, arthritis, migraines, post-operative pains and neuropathic disorders.
‘’Biomedical acupuncture is an approved method by the World Health Organization and is implemented by the State Health Systems for about 100 diseases.’’
Acupuncture is more acceptable to insurance companies for certain conditions. Physicians who disbelieve the notion that the analgesic effect of acupuncture is due to the balancing of energy diffused by invisible channels can be convinced by imaging methods (MRI) and blood tests that demonstrate the production of endorphins and other substances after needle insertion.
Furthermore, acupuncture helps in the treatment of nausea and vomiting (of travelers, during pregnancy and chemotherapy), in IVF, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity and in Medical Aesthetics of the face and body, while also increases the physical performance of young people (athletes) as well as mental performance (students). Acupuncture is often used to help people detoxify from toxic substances such as tobacco and alcohol, and is now widely used by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to detoxify outpatients from pharmaceutical substances. Detoxification from chronic use of prescription opioids usually takes 3 to 6 months, while short-term detoxification programs can last almost 1 month.
Biomedical acupuncture is an approved method by the World Health Organization and is implemented by the State Health Systems for about 100 diseases. More specifically, in Greece, the decision of the Central Board of Health reduces it to a complementary therapeutic application of Classical Medicine, which is applied in pain centers of 23 hospitals, but always with the agreement of the attending physician, as long as it is applied only by specialized physicians, with targeted therapeutic protocols that are tailored to the patient’s condition and body, without side effects and with disposable needles.
Published article in the magazine grtravel