The positive health benefits of acupuncture are well known. It has been used for thousands of years to treat many different ailments, injuries and diseases. In the last 25 years, through innovative medical research and clinical practice, a new and improved method of acupuncture has emerged called biopuncture.
What is Biopuncture?
Biopuncture involves the injection of natural medicines below the skin or into muscles for the purpose of stimulating the body’s own healing process and a return to normal function. The concept of biopuncture was first coined by doctors in Belgium and Germany when they began to treat patients with chronic pain and injuries with very positive results. Since then the use and popularity of the technique has grown all over the world. High level athletes, such as Tiger Woods, have used biopuncture to speed the healing of injuries. Most recently it has been featured on the Dr Oz show for the treatment of chronic pain.
Biopuncture harnesses many of the benefits of traditional acupuncture with the additional benefit of injecting a medicinal substance directly into or around the area that is in need of healing. This not only promotes blood flow to the area but also stimulates the body to repair itself. Another added advantage of biopuncture is that various medicines can be used to promote either the drainage of swelling, reduce pain and inflammation, stop muscle spasms, stimulate detoxification or repair cellular function. A treatment can be tailored to the specific stage of injury of each patient. These medicines work with the body to break the cycle of pain and inflammation and help create an environment where healing can take place.
What Conditions Can Biopuncture Be Used For?
Biopuncture is most commonly used to treat injures and chronic pain. This includes pain in the neck, shoulder, elbow, back, hip, knee, Achilles tendon and foot. It can be used to treat osteoarthritis, sciatica, sports injuries, tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. Biopuncture can also be used to address many other conditions besides pain. Some of these include: supportive therapy for general or organ-specific detoxification, allergy, asthma, migraine, tension headache, sinusitis, cystitis, bronchitis, and many others. The intention is to resolve the underlying problem and not just the symptoms, so that the treatment is effective and long lasting. A more recent and popular application of biopuncture is for cosmetic and skin rejuvenation. Substances that improve lymphatic flow and skin health are injected just under the skin to improve appearance. It is important to note that biopuncture has its limitations and it can’t resolve all of medical problems. Ask your Naturopathic doctor if biopuncture can be an effective treatment for you.
What is injected?
The substances injected are combinations of natural products that stimulate and support the body’s ability to regulate its own healing mechanisms. As such, they do not suppress or shut down the body’s natural healing ability. In comparison cortisone, a commonly injected hormone, suppresses inflammation, which will reduce pain and swelling, but it does not promote tissue growth, healing or recovery. It actually can promote the weakening of tendons and ligaments, opening the door to future injuries.
Is the treatment safe?
There are few, if any, adverse reactions or side effects to the substances used in Biopuncture. The substances used for injection are made according to very strict quality control regulations. Most are manufactured in Germany, Italy, France and Belgium and conform to the highest medical manufacturing standards. Unlike commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs which produce gastric upset, these substances have proven to be safe with very few side effects.
Treatments are administered according to standards set by the Ministry of Health that involve correct injection technique and the use of sterile disposable material. Naturopathic doctors that administer biopuncture have received additional training in proper technique, protocols and safety measures.
After a biopuncture treatment, you may feel fatigued or have slightly more pain at the site of injection over the following 24-hour period as your body initiates a healing process; this is often a positive sign. You may also develop a mild bruise at the injection site that will resolve after a few days.
Where are the injections given?
The injections are given in carefully chosen spots and the locations and are often just as important as the substances themselves. They are not as painful as many other types of injections because the needles used are very fine and the quantity injected is very small. Most people are surprised at how easily and quickly these treatments are performed. Injections can be given under the skin, into muscles and ligamentous areas.
How many injections will I receive?
Usually several areas are injected during each session. If you have elbow, neck, hip or knee pain, injections may be made in the corresponding area and sometimes locations that are distant from the problem area need to be injected as well. These can include pain points, trigger points, and other areas of dense and sometimes painful tissue that contribute to the problem. Anywhere between 3 and 10 injections per session is typical but every case is different.
How long before I heal?
Some people improve immediately after the first treatment. This is usually the case in patients with a fresh injury who already have a fully functioning capacity for healing. For conditions that have been around for months or years, healing takes place over a longer time. Other aspects of your health may need attention at the same time. You may have several treatments before noticing any improvement at all or you may notice an improvement and then a plateau in results. In general, an improvement usually takes 3-6 treatments. The length of time you have had a problem, its severity, and the doctor’s judgement will determine the number and frequency of sessions you will need.
Biopuncture is a safe and effective way to speed the healing of injuries, resolve chronic pain and promote overall cellular health. For more information please contact me through the contact me on my website. Or you can visit http://www.iabp-online.com/cms/iwebs/default.aspx?mmid=9916&smid=34230.
Dr Paul Hrkal ND
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