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Light and its application in Acupuncture

by David Barker-Hall(more info)

listed in light and colour, originally published in issue 28 - May 1998

The therapy known as Acupuncture has fragmented into many differing methods, with each system appealing to various groups or individuals. In this article we will now consider yet another system of Acupuncture which we will refer to as Aculight therapy. Light or Laser machines have been used for a few years by Acupuncturists and physiotherapists. Also, a number of Veterinary Surgeons regularly use Light machines on animals, reporting excellent healing results.

Aculight Therapy

For thousands of years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has served the people of China and its neighbouring countries very well. Acupuncture in its many forms has been used for around 4,500 years. The outstanding success of Acupuncture (the prominent part of Traditional Chinese Medicine), has been extensively documented.

Over that vast expanse of time, many theories and procedures were devised, in order to try and explain how and why Acupuncture works.

The ancient Daoists (learned Men) related everything to the Dao or Way, consequently the explanations of Acupuncture's (T.C.M.) effectiveness were linked to the beliefs of these ancient wise men.

Gradually, the concept of Vital energy (Qi) permeating the entire universe was understood, along with the observation that nature operated in an harmonious or balanced way. After a long period of time the idea of Yin and Yang emerged, and became an excellent description of Positive and Negative, or absolute opposites being totally dependent upon each other. Over the centuries, many elaborate and complicated ideas were formulated in order to explain how the environment operated. The Five element theory was introduced into Chinese philosophy and encompassed the practice of medicine.

The world was viewed as a constant continuation and interaction of the five elements or phases.

These elements are comprised of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood, and foster balance and harmony with each other. Each element relates to certain Yin and Yang organs of the body, and they move in a clockwise direction within the Shen or creative cycle.

The preceding element enriches the next element within the cycle, thus keeping a natural balance within the bodies Ecosystem, this sequence is called the 'Mother and Son' relationship. Yet other rules are said to apply within this system, such as the 'Husband and Wife' rule.

Also, within this interaction, the 'Ko' or 'Ke' or controlling aspects operate, such as Fire controls Metal, Metal controls Wood, Earth controls Water, Water controls Fire and Wood controls Earth.

Another aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine revolves around natural phenomena such as the Wind, Cold, Damp, Heat, Summer Heat, and Dryness. These 'pernicious evils' invade the human ecosystem and cause similar reactions to the ones they cause in the environment.

So far I have only touched on a few of the Traditional Chinese Medicine ideologies in order to give the reader an introduction to the complexity and diversity of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

These systems have undoubtedly worked well for centuries, however, in our fast pace society, many people do not have the time to devote to these ancient theories.

Because the concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine are very complex and time consuming, a great number of Acupuncturists both in China and Western countries now use more straightforward techniques.

One such system of diagnosis is where the practitioner palpates the 'trigger' or 'alarm' points on the body; these are called Mu, Shu and Ah Shi points. These points are very important diagnostic pointers to the disordered Meridian or organ.

Reflexologists use a similar diagnostic system on the feet and hands. Dr. Fitzgerald regarded by many to be the modern discoverer of 'Reflex' points on the body, was actually using a similar procedure to the ancient Chinese system of 'Ah Shi' palpation. Similar healing systems have developed using Acu trigger points, such as Acupressure, Shiatsu, Biomagnetic therapy and other modern techniques.

Modern Methods

As man in his ingenuity makes vast strides in electronics, it should not surprise us that machines have been designed and built that can actually measure and treat Acupuncture points. Consequently, a number of different systems have been developed, such as Voll, Vega, Mora and Ryodoraku. These methods are known as Bio-electronic Regulatory Medicine.

The therapy known as Acupuncture has fragmented into many differing methods, with each system appealing to various groups or individuals.

In this article we will now consider yet another system of Acupuncture which we will refer to as Aculight therapy.

Light or Laser machines have been used for a few years by Acupuncturists and physiotherapists.

Also, a number of Veterinary Surgeons regularly use Light machines on animals, reporting excellent healing results.

It was during the 1970s that a Professor Mester, along with his colleagues in Budapest, Hungary began to demonstrate the positive effects of biostimulatory Low Power Lasers.

Since that time, many varied medical problems have been relieved by this new form of light therapy.

Early forms of Laser machines used a Helium Neon (He-Ne) tube to generate the emission of radiation required to produce a narrow beam (1mm in diameter) 'at the speed of light'. The wavelength of a He-Ne Laser is fixed at 632.8nm and the beam is a visible red, yet, this type of Laser is not very versatile and has a number of drawbacks. However, due to rapid advances being made in electronics, Laser-Diode technology appeared. These diodes are made from Gallium Aluminium Arsenide, and are far more versatile and inexpensive than the He-Ne laser. This type of devise is found in most modern therapeutic lasers or light machines, and has proven to be very effective, versatile and safe in various situations.

Because of the latest techniques used in the manufacture of light diodes, different wavelengths can be achieved by producing diodes of alternative ratings, they now range from 650nm (nanometers) to around 950nm.

The power rating is usually around 10 Mw (milliwatt), a very safe but adequate power for most applications encountered in the Acupuncture Clinic.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, the Meridians (Ching Lo) are believed to reside within the adipose layer of the dermis, therefore, a light source penetrating the skin to around 4mm actually stimulates the cells that make up an Acupuncture point.

Traditional Chinese Medicine regards the Spleen as the provider and distributor of all essential elements throughout the body, working on a cellular, sub-cellular and molecular level such as the Mitochondria, which are regarded as the motivating power of the cells.

Consequently, when we apply light to the cells they respond favourably, especially at the Acupuncture points, which have been proven to respond to many different forms of stimuli.

Therefore, activating a 'point' with concentrated light works on very subtle energy fields within the body, resulting in the following effects:

1 Anti inflammatory.
2 Analgesic.
3 Improvement of capillary and lymphatic circulation with reduction of swelling.

The absorption of 'light' photon energy has been shown to bring about changes in the ground substance or connecting link between the tissue cells and the closed circulation.

Therefore, physical change in the permeability of cell membranes and capillaries and in nerve conduction thresholds can result.

Because of the changes in the bodies environment brought about by light therapy, normal homoeostatic function can be restored, thus improving organ function.

In a clinical situation, we use the Thor D D light therapy unit on patients that display a fear of needles, and we have found the system very effective. The probe diode is rated at 660 nm with a power of 10 Mw.

The machine is easy to use, having a control knob for the frequency in Hertz, and a control for the treatment time in seconds and minutes.

We have found that 5 Hz – 20 Hz is effective for many acute disorders, while 150 Hz is better for chronic conditions.

An Acupuncture point is treated with the probe for around 30 – 60 seconds. Because the stimulation is painless we have found that the patient often feels very relaxed and comfortable. The pain relieving aspects of Aculight therapy are often immediate, much like Acupuncture with needles.

Case Histories

Last year, 1997, I treated a nurse with a dislocated shoulder blade, she was in a lot of pain and her 'Scapula, was displaced by around 50mm. She had been receiving physiotherapy for around 6 weeks with no positive results. I palpated areas around the 'Scapula' and found the 'Ah Shi' points and treated them. The Gluteus Medius also revealed some 'Ah Shi' points, and these were also treated with the Aculight probe.

I also included distal points on the arms and legs, plus 'Ah Shi' points around the 'Sacrum'. Within about 10 minutes the 'Scapula' had re-positioned itself, the patient also remarked that the pain had subsided. After just 2 treatments, a week apart, the patient had returned back to work.

Another patient, a man aged 38, developed an intermittent twitch of the left eyelid, he had visited his doctor and a specialist, who told him he would have to live with the problem as nothing could be done about it.

After the first visit, the twitch had diminished slightly.

I treated the stress points such as Stomach 36, Liver 3, Spleen 6, Large Intestine 4, and 11 and Gallbladder 41 for locomotor disorders around the eyes. I also included local points San Jiao 23, Gallbladder 1 and Stomach 2.

Other sensitive points around the neck, shoulders and arm were included, after 6 weekly treatments the twitch had been resolved.

I still see this patient every 2 or 3 weeks because he finds the treatment very relaxing, and as a businessman he feels the treatment helps him to stay calm.

This patient has also been helped through a few traumatic months, having seen his friend die in a diving accident the same week that Princess Diana died. Then just 3 weeks later his Father died the very same week he was also moving house.

In cases of trauma such as this we also give the patient Homoeopathic Arnica for the shock and Ignatia for the grief.

Homeopathy and Herbs work extremely well with Acupuncture or Light Therapy, because these substances also work on the cellular and organ level.

A Colleague of mine uses the same machine in his clinic, and reports excellent results in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Aculight therapy is a very safe form of treatment, provided the usual safety aspects are observed.

Contra-indications applicable to 'Electro-Acupuncture' such as not treating anyone fitted with a cardiac pacemaker, do not apply with 'Aculight' therapy.

This form of treatment can safely be used to treat the following disorders. Arthritis, Sciatica, Rheumatism, Myalgic Fibrositis, Trigeminal Neuralgia, etc. Skin conditions such as Eczema, Acne, Psoriasis and Allergies.

Success has also been reported in the treatment of Circulatory conditions associated with disturbance of local capillary flow such as 'Raynauds phenomenon'. Light therapy often increases local capillary flow in the skin which can also release stagnated blood and Qi. Patients often report a feeling of 'well being', and notice minor problems they suffered from are also resolved.

Clearly then 'Aculight' therapy can be used as another branch of Acupuncture, and can help dispel the fear often associated with this very effective medicine.

'Aculight' is a copyright term used by the college of Complementary Acupuncture to describe Acupuncture performed by light.

Useful publications

A Handbook for Low Power Lasers and Their Medical Application. Ann Wooley-Hart M.Sc M.B.B.S. M.C.S.P. Published by East Asia Co.
Clinical Acupuncture. Dr Sir Anton Jayasuriya. Published by Medicina Alternativa
Essentials of Chinese Acupuncture. Published by Foreign Languages Press. Beijing, China.
Chinese Medicine, The Web That Has No Weaver. Ted Kaptchuk. Published by Ryder.

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About David Barker-Hall

David Barker-Hall D.E.Ac. M.A.C.Ac is the Principle of The College of Complementary Acupuncture, who teach various forms of Acupuncture including ‘Aculight’ therapy. He can be contacted on Tel: 01902 820844.

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