It is a historical fact, throughout numerous cultures in the world, spinal vertebral mobilization has been used extensively for literally centuries. Evidence exists from the ancient Mayans, Babylonians, Greeks, Egyptians, Sumerians, American Indian cultures, not to mention virtually every Asian and Middle East country, as well as the European and African nations.
Even though most people who hear the word acupuncture, relate it specifically to a Chinese healing art, the stimulation of certain key skin points on the body have been a part of the healing approach of almost every nation on earth in one form or another. From contemporary motor points, trigger points, reflex points, tender points, to the Indian “marmas,” Aboriginal “wantoo” and the Asian “jing luo mai” or acupuncture points to name just a few cultures, they are all basically the same thing.
When seen by the uninitiated, acupuncture appears to come from ancient methodologies based on myth, and pre-scientific superstition. It bases its energy flow on imaginary channels of which Western science has been unable to prove the physical existence. It has utilized a variety of stimulation devices from rubbing stone or bone over a specific skin point to the most accepted and recognized approach today, which is the insertion of a slender needle just below the surface of the skin. Modern acupuncture procedures, since the mid 20th Century, use TENS, laser and motorized mechanical stimulation to affect the skin point the same as the needle. However, all of these contemporary approaches have only been developed within the last few decades, as their discoveries and application have proven to elicit a similar response as the classic needle.
Acupuncture bases its general philosophy on the Yin and Yang, which are two dynamic polarities which affect all living and other structures of life. It is the positive and the negative. This balance of negative and positive is critical to the healthy functioning of the human body. The ancient Asians had no other way to describe this critical energetic event in the body other than by their own language, thus balancing of the Yin and Yang became paramount within the practice of acupuncture. Many will view the descriptions of acupuncture as being archaic, based on myth and folklore; however, the Asians described these applications and explanations in the only way they could, as Latin had not either been created or had not reached Asia to describe it in terms that a Western scientist today could understand.
On the other side of the world, the founder of the chiropractic profession, Daniel David Palmer, described health and disease in his classic 1910 book, The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic, sometimes known as The Chiropractors Adjuster. The title page specifically states this science is “Based on Tone.”
D.D. Palmer stated: “Life is the expression of tone. From tone originates all the principles which constitute the science and philosophy of chiropractic. It is a self evident fact that any change in tissue, other than that of normal tension, produces disease. Consequently, the cause of disease is any variation of tone, too much or too little.” This summation of Chiropractic literally parallels the basic concept of Acupuncture, as it describes the balance of Yin and Yang, the negative and positive. For example, on palpation, the DC may find on pressure, exquisitely tender points which are hypo tonic (Yin) or hypertonic (Yang). These tender points, which are utilized globally as “acupuncture points,” rely totally on the balance or imbalance of, as Palmer described it, “Tone.”
From the earliest days of chiropractic’s history, reflex points along the body include “zone therapy” utilizing points on the fingertips and toe tips which unequivocally relate to the famous “tsing” points used in acupuncture. Early DC’s knew of a variety of specific points on the body that, when stimulated, were predicted to elicit a response.
Perhaps the most pertinent of all of the similarities of chiropractic to acupuncture comes from the famous physician Huo Tuo. This physician, revered to this day, discovered over 2,500 years ago a series of acupuncture points which carry his name as the “HuoTuojiaji points.” These points correspond exactly to what would be discovered centuries later as the sympathetic trunk ganglionic chain, which is specific to the chiropractic “chart of spinal subluxations,” and the basis of the so-called “straight” philosophy of chiropractic. In this approach, it is known that the vertebral nerve root of C5 affects the thyroid, whereas the lungs are innervated by T3. This is carried out throughout the entire spine from Atlas to Sacrum. The ancient physicians of Asia and the Middle East were very aware of this approach to healing; D.D. Palmer made use of this ancient knowledge, which launched an entire profession. Today, with acupuncture, the contemporary practitioner makes vital use of the Huo Tuo points, which are one-half inch on either side of the midline of the spine directly over the lamina.
One major similarity of acupuncture and early chiropractic revolves around the ancient physician Mei Hua. Living at approximately the same time period as the previously mentioned Huo Tuo (2,500 years ago), Mei Hua expounded on a specific approach to healing. In this system, in all cases of any illness, before doing anything else, always treat an acupuncture point known as “Jizhong” (Middle of Spine) which today translates to GV6 between T11-T12 vertebrae. In addition, stimulate “shendao”, GV11 between T5-6. This would be followed by stimulating the points at the vertebral level of the spine, namely the famed “HuoTuojiaji” points.
Interestingly, 25 centuries later, D.D. Palmer stated in his early teachings that, in any case of any disease or dysfunction, always adjust “Kidney Place” and “Center Place” before adjusting the vertebral level of the condition. Kidney Place is the segment of T11-T12 (GV6), whereas Center Place is GV11. This approach parallels the Mei Hua approach to health identically, which is thousands of years old. Unfortunately, it is no longer taught in chiropractic but was the basis for the early profession.
There are scores of specific reflex points which have been used by the chiropractic profession in a variety of established chiropractic techniques over the last century. If one uses a needle to stimulate the reflex point then, classically and officially, it is considered “acupuncture”. However, should a practitioner use any physiotherapy modality allowed under their State Law to stimulate the same point, the procedure is referred to as TENS, Reflex Therapy, Trigger Point Therapy, etc. Today, the profession uses a variety of inexpensive electronic, laser and motorized manual approaches with stunning clinical success. It may be practiced by any practitioner, as it is non-invasive and falls within Scope of Practice Laws.
The fact of the matter is that there is a stunning relationship between acupuncture and chiropractic. Unfortunately, most people think of needles when mentioning acupuncture, however it must be borne in mind, just like chiropractic, “Acupuncture is a principle, not a technique.” It is not how you stimulate a specific reflex (acupoints), but where you stimulate.
Learning this work will insure your future clinical, financial and personal success.