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Acupoint Therapy is an extension of Willy Penzel's modern APM system (Akupunkt Massage), and it involves the stimulation of acupuncture points or meridians with a therapy stick. This differs from acupuncture which uses needles, acupressure or shiatsu which uses massage. Under the scientific standards of evidence-based medicine, there is insufficient evidence as to whether acupoint therapy is effective, despite that most practitioners report beneficial effects.
Sweden is one of the foremost countries using and developing this therapy.
The starting point is traditional Chinese Medicine, which teaches that along the body runs a series of meridians. Each meridian is said to have a specific function, and each of the points along that meridian is claimed to have a different effect on that meridian and indeed on other parts of the body and the energy system.
Half the meridians are said by Acupoint therapists to be yin, which they say seems to correspond to the parasympathetic nervous system. In this theory stimulating these meridians leads to relaxation, a slower heart, reduced blood pressure, muscular release, etc. The other half of the meridians are therefore yang, which is said to produce increased sympathetic nervous system activity - tension, a faster heart beat, higher blood pressure, and more contraction in the muscles.
Acupoint Therapy focuses on bringing the yin and yang (parasympathetic and sympathetic) back into balance.
The therapy stick looks a bit like something a dentist would put into your mouth, but at the end it has a small ball with a diameter of just a couple of millimeters.
One form of treatment involves the stimulation with the therapy stick along a meridian. This causes vasodilation, thereby stimulating the meridian. (You can see this on yourself by running a pointy blunt object (like a match stick) along your inner forearm. After a few minutes, you'll see a red line appearing where you traced the line. Sometimes you'll see a line - which is vasoconstriction.)
Another treatment method involves stimulating individual points, rather than a length of the meridian.
Science and acupoint therapy
There is scientific agreement that health outcomes should be assessed via an evidence based medicine framework and that systematic reviews with strict protocols are needed.
Sixty-four patients in two trials have been studied to assess possible scientific support for acupoint therapy . As of July 2006, acupoint therapy has not been the subject of any peer-reviewed EBM review. Under EBM, there is insufficient evidence as to whether acupoint therapy is effective.
Concepts and characteristics of penetrating needling
The acupuncture manipulation by penetrating through the acupoints refers to the acupuncture manipulation of puncturing two acupoints or multiple acupoints with one needle. The characteristics are that it uses less needles but stimulates more acupoints and it can alleviate the patient’s pain and improve the acupuncture effects.