Acupuncture Without Needles?

A large number of people are afraid of needles. Although acupuncture needles are regulated by the FDA and used with all the same aseptic procedures as hypodermic needles, I think many folks are more comfortable with the much, much larger hypodermic needles simply because they are more familiar with them. Whatever the reason, I have always offered non-needle treatments.

I have used several types of stimulation on the acupuncture points besides needles in my 40-year practice. In the early years, I used a lot of (monopolar) electrical stimulation. Then I explored soft lasers. Then I was most impressed with a combination of long wave infrared, coupled with a pulsed magnetic field. I still use this a lot.

In Europe and also in Japan, they have done much research into bioelectricity—the tiny but measurable amounts of electricity produced by the human body and its actions. Of course everyone knows about electricity in the heart and the brain. This is what makes EKGs and brain scans possible. But even the individual cells of the different tissues have electrical potential. It is a very weak current (it can’t light your flashlight) yet it’s powerful enough to contract your muscles, including that very important heart muscle.

Acupuncture has always focused on balancing the body by normalizing the flow of bioelectricity through the many circuits that lie below the skin. This is why needles have been inserted in particular places for thousands of years—to improve circulation and performance of that low-voltage “body electricity”.

In Japan, Takeyoshi Yamaguchi, M.D. spent fifteen years studying these electrical circuits from a Western scientific perspective and began using Piezoelectricity to stimulate the acupuncture points. Piezoelectricity seems to be the same kind of electricity produced by the body itself. Piezoelectricity is produced when a quartz crystal is struck by a metal piston. A little pulse of energy is created. The device has no batteries. He found this to be extremely effective, and based on his research, medical doctors and chiropractors in Japan have been using these stimulators for some time. I have been using this kind of stimulator for some years as well. It is wonderful because if the bioelectricity in an area is deficient, the stimulator increases it. But if it is excessive, the stimulator calms it down without any change in the method. I think this is because it is speaking the “language” of the body, and when pushed in the right way, the body self-regulates.

An interesting connection to this is that I also use a type of soft tissue manipulation that consists of rolling the connective tissue at specific spots on the body. Research in recent years has found that this action creates a Piezoelectric charge that tells the brain to create a healing response in the area. I use this to cover larger regions where there are too many acupuncture points to stimulate individually, and on sensitive areas where the Piezo stimulator might be awkward to use.