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While the word Acupuncture really just means to puncture with a needle it had been used to define a larger entity that is usually called Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. TCM includes the use of many very specific combinations of herbs (used similarly to how we might use pharmaceuticals) as well as the use of Acupuncture to balance the energy meridians within the body. It also includes manual body work somewhat like massage and even Tuina which is similar to chiropractic. Long ago the Traditional Chinese system of health care was actually somewhat similar to ours today. It hasn't really changed much and remains very similar to how it was many years ago, and I mean that in a good way in that it worked well then and it works well now.
To start off with a clear message, that is not what I do. What I do started off being called Biomedical Acupuncture but later the name changed to Dry Needle Acupuncture or Dry Needling. There are several good reasons for the name change but that is another story. The focus of this type of Acupuncture is based on the neuromuscular anatomy and its primary use is to help restore function and relieve pain.
In the past 20 years much has been published about the mechanisms of Acupuncture, some scientific, some not so much. Of the objective scientific publications Dr. Janet G. Travell, MD & Dr. David G. Simons, MD developed trigger point techniques that are used widely today by everyone from massage therapists, physical therapists and chiropractors (trigger point therapy pressure based techniques) to pain management physicians ( trigger point injections). Also Dr. C. Chan Gunn, MD who dedicated his career to relieving patients pain through the use of his spinal segment techniques based on the dermatomes and myotomes which are recognized by everyone in medicine as the pathway of the sensory and motor nerves. Roughly the same as the Hua Tuo Jai Ji points that acupuncturists have used for a couple of thousand years.
The use of acupuncture needles in all these points has been part of all of their research and it has always worked to a great degree!
Enter - Dr. Yun-tao Ma, Ph.D.
Dr Ma received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of South Carolina for research in the field of pain mechanism and neuronal rehabilitation. He is a renowned international authority in acupuncture pain management and trauma rehabilitation and has more than 40 years of experience practicing and teaching throughout the world. Dr Ma believes that science advances through our disagreement with each other as far as what "we think" we know. Because of this he is a humble man and credits all who's work has helped him put together his ideas of what works, along with the why & how. In that spirit I credit Dr. Ma and his lovely wife Mila for much of what I know and practice every day as far as the use of Dr. Ma's Biomedical Dry Needle Acupuncture Technique is concerned. I have studied under many teachers since 2002 when I began using Acupuncture in practice and I respect and appreciate them all but Dr. Ma's work has and will continue to revolutionize the way acupuncture needles are used to treat pain. Thank you Dr. Ma and Mila for teaching me.
What is the "Biomedical" approach to acupuncture?
Unlike traditional acupuncturists I do not evaluate and balance the energy meridians for you to heal yourself. I evaluate certain tender points to determine how to proceed with your treatment. Then I treat specific painful points in the areas where the nerves innervate the muscles. It is the nerves and blood vessels that carry the healing energy and it is the small traumas made by the acupuncture needles that stimulate electrical impulses known as the energy of healing. It is believed that these tiny traumas from the needles and the energy of healing that follows has always been a mechanism of many acupuncture success stories.
I utilize this system of acupuncture by Dr. Ma Ph.D. called "Biomedical Dry Needle Acupuncture for Pain Management". It is based on the experience of generations of acupuncturists as well as modern medical neuro-anatomy. Because of this system, I am able to target your pain very specifically on your first visit to my office. Let me clearly explain that I target the specific nerves responsible for transmitting your pain signals to your brain and I do so at three different levels. I do not treat "meridians of energy" even though many of the points may be the same. I treat the muscles and the area that the nerve attaches to the muscle, that is one way acupuncture works and it has been proven to be how Biomedical Dry Needle Acupuncture works to treat pain.
This system allows me to evaluate your overall "health" (really your lack of health and your likely response time) utilizing a very quick and precise evaluation method. Then on that first visit I can target the first set of points that relate to your overall health. Second I target the segmental levels of the spinal nerves at what I determine to be your level of pain or problem as well as the levels above and levels below. That is because those particular sets of nerves spread out and effect the discs, dermatomes and myotomes both above and below so several need to be targeted to be sure the level we are trying to effect is truly maximally affected. Finally I target your specific area of pain. For example if yours was low back pain that radiated down the leg then needles would likely be placed all along the painful area at specific sites that we find to be tender.
If you have read any websites that discuss acupuncture then you realize that what I have just described is a stark contrast to almost every other practitioner out there. Most give an explanation about the chi and energy flow and the meridians and leave you wondering how this could work. In the old times people used stories to be sure the younger people remembered the acupuncture medicine, the points and the methods of finding the right points to treat. The “string and pearls” is the term that describes the art of using a story (string) to hold the information (pearls of wisdom and knowledge) together so that it is not easily forgotten. I have great respect for the acupuncturists that spend many years learning Traditional Acupuncture and I refer to them in cases where a patient may be seeking care for something outside the scope of a Chiropractors license. Texas is extremely limited in that regard. Traditional Acupuncturists do many things necessary to arrive at a diagnosis and get amazing results. I respect their ability and readily admit that few who practice acupuncture can match the skill of the seasoned acupuncturist when it comes to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
On the other hand, thanks to Dr Yun-tao Ma, many health care practitioners can learn to be very effective at treating your pain quickly and precisely by duplicating Dr Ma's method of treatment. Because I already had the medical knowledge to know where pretty much every single muscle, nerve, major artery and vein is in your body and I was able to learn more quickly how to safely place the needles so that your pain is relieved quickly.
If you are a practitioner and are interested in knowing more, please feel free to call me at the office. 903-570-7080 or google Dr Yun-tao Ma PhD. He doesn't personally teach anymore (that I know of) but has 2 extremely qualified Physical Therapists teaching his material now. There are many great practitioners teaching Dry Needling, just be aware of the qualifications of those you learn from and your own states laws regarding the use of acupuncture needles in practice.
Acupuncture of the Ear aka: Auricular Acupuncture or when done without needles called Auriculotherapy.
A complete system of acupuncture exists on the auricle (ear). Like traditional acupuncture, Auricular Acupuncture offers a complete system of acupuncture points on the ear that actually effect things all over your body.
For example I can treat three to five points in your ear that might help your low back pain, neck pain, headaches or stress. The method has been called "Battlefield Acupuncture" because some soldiers are using this treatment on each other (yes they are trained, by a physician, Richard C Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH ) while they are out on missions.
Auricular Acupuncture treats your pain or addiction neurologically but it doesn't restore function. That is one thing that acupuncture does that other therapies don't. The tiny lesions actually increase healing function in he areas we treat and in the areas the nerves we treat are connected to!
We have one completely private acupuncture relaxation room for your complete comfort and one more communal room where others might also be receiving treatment of some type. This gives you an incredible stress relieving treatment and often in less than thirty minutes your back to your day, with a lot less pain or stress! Acupuncture is a simple treatment and is awesomely powerful!
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Dr. Charles R. Dixon is a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic, he began "Dry Needling" in 2005 and later trained directly under Acupuncturist & Neurologic "Dry Needle" Acupuncture Textbook Author Dr. Yun-tao Ma PhD.. Prior to that, he studied Acupuncture under Dr. Richard Yinnie, DC, DABCA, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM), and Dr. Jon Sunderlage, DC, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM), L.Ac., DABCA, (from 2001-2004)
He has a Masters of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction and teaches at LeTourneau University.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the thoughts and opinions of Dr. Charles R. Dixon MS DC, unless otherwise noted. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Dixon. Dr. Dixon encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. No portion of this website may be copied, reused or plagiarized in any way. It is the sole intellectual property of Dr. Charles R Dixon MS DC with all rights and privileges reserved.