Acupuncture and Cranial Therapy
Acupuncture and Cranial Therapy in Ann Arbor, MI
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are currently more than 12 million adults in the U.S. that have used or are currently using acupuncture. Thousands of scientific studies have validated its effectiveness, and acupuncture is fast becoming one of the most sought-after approaches by patients seeking alternative approaches to pain, mood, and many other functional conditions (see list below).
Acupuncture stems from Chinese medical philosophies dating back at least 3000 years. The modality involves inserting one or more hair-thin needles into the skin at specific points along energy channels or meridians that carry “life energy” or qi (chi).
By placing needles in prescribed points, the practitioner seeks to accentuate or diffuse qi and thereby restore balance to the system. Likewise, the manner in which qi flows undisturbed through the body marks health and vitality, and any obstruction to its flow is linked to present or future disease.
Medical acupuncturists are licensed physicians (MD or DO) who acquired additional training and certification in evidence-based acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In addition to using traditional medicine, our understanding of the Chinese medicine paradigm allows us to prescribe herbs and recommend diet and lifestyle changes in a safe and comprehensive way.
At Natural Balance Wellness Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Dr. Tony Boggess performs acupuncture. As a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, Dr. Boggess frequently places needles at key neuroanatomical trouble points.
It is his conventional medical background in neuroanatomy and physiology that enables him to understand how needle insertion stimulates nerves to produce neurotransmitters that positively impact hormones, pain signaling, circulation, and overall well-being in a variety of ways.
In the last 25 years, acupuncture and Chinese medicine has gained wider acceptance by conventional medicine due to growing research proving its efficacy in problems such as:
- Mood disorders
- Fatigue syndromes
- Hormonal and menstrual problems
- Digestive disorders
- Migraine and stress-related headaches
- Skin diseases
- Many other conditions
Thus, some insurance companies will reimburse for it when prescribed and/or performed by a licensed physician.
Osteopathic & Cranial Therapy
What is a doctor of osteopathy (DO)? A DO is a fully licensed physician and surgeon in the U.S. who completed 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and 4 or more years of postgraduate specialty training.
A DO is similar yet distinct from allopathic doctors (MDs) in that they also learn osteopathic principals and practice, which is a “whole-person” system of evaluation and treatment designed to achieve and maintain health using manual modalities similar to, but distinctly different from, chiropractic, massage, and physical/occupational therapy.
Osteopathy maintains that much illness, pain, and disability stems from an improper relationship between structure and function. Thus, DOs use osteopathic manual medicine (OMM), a soft manual therapy to align the musculoskeletal system correctly in order to reduce tension and improve physical and physiological functions.
DOs learn that organ systems and bodily tissues, which rely on the musculoskeletal frame for support, benefit from such treatment, and the circulatory, lymphatic, and other fluid systems associated with the body’s innate healing mechanisms function more efficiently after one or more treatments.
Cranial osteopaths are DOs who, in addition to osteopathic manipulation, specialize in cranial manipulation, a set of highly regarded subtechniques of osteopathic medicine referred to as osteopathy in the cranial field (OCF), which is distinctly different than “cranial-sacral healing” and various other techniques practiced by physical and massage therapists.
OCF maintains that subtle, coordinated, rhythmic movements of fluids and tissues related to micro movements in skull joints (or sutures) provide osteopathic access to diagnose and treat dysfunctions not only in and around the brain and spinal cord as they relate to local dysfunction, but also throughout the entire body as they relate to the whole person.
DOs who practice this form of manipulation have a highly refined sense of touch used to identify subtle disturbances as well as a gentle, yet verifiable way of balancing and correcting them. While OCF can treat any number of ailments, it is clearly helpful for dizziness, headaches, untoward effects of difficult deliveries on babies and children, as well as any musculoskeletal anomaly for which other osteopathic techniques are appropriate.
Cranial Rhythmic Impulse (CRI): The cranio-sacral system is considered the generator for cranial rhythmic impulse, which, along with the cardiovascular and respiratory impulses, is one of three life-maintaining impulses of the human body.
The components that make up this system include the fine membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, 22 skull bones divided into midline and paired bones, the sacrum (tail bone), and the cerebrospinal fluid (clear fluid derived from blood) that circulates around and bathes the brain and nervous system.
Also via its subtle connections, the CRI’s influence extends to the entire body via fascia or layers of connective tissue that enclose organs, nerves, and muscles. Together, these structures pulsate in rhythmic fashion and where imbalance is detected in the CRI, there is strain in the system. Thus, OCF is used to both diagnose and treat patients.
The safe practice of this form of manipulation requires rigorous study in applied anatomy, physiology, embryology, and pathology. Though the techniques seem simple enough, post-treatment reactions that speak to their profound effect on patients such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, and outburst of crying do occur.
Osteopathic medical schools require their students to understand only the basics of OCF, so most physicians who specialize in these techniques have hundreds of additional hours of study. While many nonmedical persons claim adeptness in cranial-sacral manipulation, choosing one trained in the entire scope of medicine (DOs, MDs, and DMDs) is advantageous because extensive medical background is needed to apply these techniques comprehensively and safely.
In essence, we intervene, and then allow the body to heal itself; like watering dry grass, we add water in intervals and let nature do the rest. Because not all osteopathic physicians stick to their roots in manual medicine, one should inquire if OMM is part of any given osteopathic physician’s skill set. OMM remains a significant part of Dr. Boggess’s daily work with children and adult patients.
We Are Here to Help You! Contact Us for Acupuncture and Cranial Therapy Services
On behalf of the Natural Balance team, we hope you have found this information helpful and we look forward to working with you. To learn more about our acupuncture and cranial therapy services, call Natural Balance Wellness Medical Center at (734) 929-2696 or book an appointment online.