Can Back Therapy Make Acupuncture More Effective? 5/5 (41)

backpain3Do you perform some type of back therapy with your acupuncture?

Whether it’s massage, Tuina, chiropractic, or some other discipline, I’ll bet you find you get better results when you help physically move the Chi.

Of course, Chi can become blocked anywhere in the body, but there’s one special area that deserves careful attention: the Spine.

No other body area has so many traditional, physiological, metaphysical, and even scriptural connections to the life-force energy we call Chi.

It’s worth taking a minute to consider some of the major schools of thought and reasons the spine is so important.

importance of spine

Physiology: As we all know, from the physiological perspective, the spinal cord is part of the central nervous system (CNS)–and the CNS is so important that it is almost completely encased in bone from top to bottom, to prevent injury.

If the CNS is injured, it has no ability to heal or regenerate, and injury to the CNS generally results in permanent loss of function.

This is an important system.

The spine connects all the peripheral nerves to the central nervous system, and is also home to major parts of the autonomic nervous system. From that perspective, the spine and its associated structures affect every other system and organ of the body.


TCM: The Associated (back-shu) points are located on either side of the spine, along the Bladder channel. These points provide connections that affect every other channel, and consequently, every other system in the body.

If you only treated the Associated points, you would still have profound effects throughout the body. Dr. Akabane, pioneer of the Jing-well Akabane technique did just that; he treated the Associated points to treat the whole body.

Chiropractic: The foundation of chiropractic care is the concept of subluxation, generally considered as misalignment or lack of proper segmental movement in the spine.

Subluxations prevent the proper communication of life-force energy to the rest of the body, resulting in dis-ease. Correction of these subluxations with manual correction techniques restore proper motion and alignment, which in turn restore energetic flow to improve health.

Yogi with chakras. Silhouette of man in lotus position.

Tantric and Yogic traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism specify the Chakra energy centers are located along the spine, front and back. These Chakras represent energy vortexes or whirlpools in the subtle body where Prana life force energy moves.

Each of the Chakras affects certain systems and aspects of the patient. Each has an associated color, frequency, sound, emotion, and body area.

Though you may be familiar with these ideas, you may not know just how far they reach.

Indeed, are you familiar with the following symbol?

caduceus medical symbol chrome

I bet you’ve seen it many times and just assumed it meant “medical.”

Known as the Caduceus, it is a very common, modern symbol of healthcare practitioners and organizations. It shows two intertwined snakes wrapped around a staff, with wings at the head.

The Caduceus is actually a very ancient symbol that perhaps became established in modern medicine as a more symmetrical substitute for the Rod of Asclepius, which features only one snake and is the true ancient symbol of healing.

HiResWe still see it today as well:

So why a snake wrapped around a staff?

The answer has been lost to antiquity, but at least one interpretation is that the staff represents the spine, or “staff of life” and the snake represents the life-force energy infusing and wrapping around it.

The crossing points of the snake and the staff show the chakras, and the whole illustration is symbolic of the centrality of the spine to the movement and balance of Chi in the body. It’s a beautiful concept and it rings true to me.

Symbolism aside, it’s clear that from the physical and energetic perspectives of both ancient and modern systems.

The Spine affects all other parts of the body, and care of the spine, with its associated structures, ought to be an important part of our clinical skill set.Back Pain Lead Magnet

How do we know what parts of the spine need attention?

I’ll cover that in Part II: The Spinal connection to Acupuncture – my next post.

Until then, keep the Chi flowing and review this Special Report: Back Pain Treatment.

It’s free – Just click here and tell us where to send it.  

Continue Reading Part II – The Spinal Connection
to Acupuncture.    Just Click Here!

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Dr. Adrian Larsen

Adrian P. Larsen, D.C., F.A.S.A., C.Ac. Dr. Larsen is President of Miridia Technology Inc., and one of the developers of the AcuGraph Digital Meridian Imaging system. He currently divides his time between research, product development, and teaching. Dr. Larsen also holds certifications in Applied Kinesiology and CPK, and has specialized training in SOT and craniopathy. He, his wife, and 7 children reside in Meridian, Idaho.

4 Replies to “Can Back Therapy Make Acupuncture More Effective?

  1. Of course I know how effective such a combination is. My son is an osteopath. Together we treat numeral cases both with osteopathy and acupuncture together in the same session. I recommend it to all of my collegaes.

  2. As a Doctor of Oriental Medicine,I have always incorporated bodywork and have worked with chiropractors sharing clients and offices. I have practiced yoga since the age of 18. The spine
    and the nervous system are key in all of these systems, as you show with your lovely illustrations. Now if we can just get all of us who work in these ways to collaborate!

  3. I am interested in the idea you pose that the CNS has no ability to heal or regenerate. I thought nerves, the spinal cord and the brain did have the ability do heal and regenerate. I understand some damage cannot repair, but thought much damage can be healed and repaired by the body, depending on the exact extent and location of the damage. Any further information on your related sources, experience and opinion about this would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, Kristen

    1. The brain and spinal cord generally have almost no ability to heal or regenerate. Scar tissue can form, but it does not function. This is why most brain or spinal cord injuries are permanent, and also why the CNS is completely enclosed in bone. Peripheral nerves can regenerate, though slowly.

      Fortunately, there is quite a bit of ongoing research happening in this field, and hopefully there will be better healing options in the future. But until then, a severed spinal cord generally means permanent paralysis. A brain injury can sometimes be somewhat compensated by other parts of the brain, but the injured site does not heal.

So, what do you think about it?