At BodaHealth, we offer a treatment that merges the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine with modern day techniques to bring you the best in pain relief and healing. It’s called Acupoint Injection Therapy or AIT (aka Acupuncture Point Injection.) It blends the use of the acupuncture points (acupoints) with therapeutic injections for an effective way to treat a wide variety of pain.
While this may sound unconventional, a number of treatments and practices already exist that incorporate the use of acupoints for the best results. For example, Shiatsu massage, the Asian bodywork called Tui Na, healing with acupressure, and trigger point therapy used by physical therapists all make use of acupuncture points and pathways.
Acupoint injection therapy consists of injecting one or more substances into acupuncture points or sites called ashi points to relieve pain and enhance healing. Ashi points are spots on your body that are often surprisingly painful when they’re pressed or palpated.
In many instances, these ashi points correspond with acupuncture points, but not always. Acupoints and ashi points can be compared to the Western idea of trigger points, which are also locally tender when pressed. In fact, in a study exploring the relationship between trigger points and acupoints, researchers found that over 90% of known trigger points corresponded in location and patterns of referred pain to that of actual acupuncture points, which have been used since ancient times.
Ashi or trigger points can occur not only as painful areas, but also tight bands of muscle, or muscle knots. They can be caused by a number of issues, such as a traumatic injury like whiplash, muscle strain, overuse, poor posture, and even emotional trauma. These points often get worse over time, causing pain and loss of function.
While Acupoint injection therapy locates and treats painful ashi or trigger points, it also encompasses the diagnostics and therapeutic philosophy on which all of Chinese medicine is based. This means that your practitioner takes into account your overall health, any imbalances, and the source of your pain before choosing the points to treat and what substances will work best for you.
There are a number of substances that may be used for injections with AIT. At BodaHealth, we most commonly use a combination of B vitamins and/or procaine. The B vitamins are an important component in cellular growth and reproduction, the formation of blood and protein, and in tissue repair. B vitamins are used in our treatments when you have had a long-term ashi or trigger point, muscle knot, or an injury.
For your comfort and effectiveness, we typically use Vitamin B3, Folic acid, and B12 for these injections. If you’re experiencing a great deal of pain, procaine may also be used. While procaine is a local anesthetic, it also acts as a vasodilator to increase circulation in the area that has been injected, and to help decrease inflammation.
The research on AIT is relatively new, and therefore limited, but early studies are promising. Some research is finding that AIT is an effective treatment for menstrual cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome, and low back pain, however it may also be used for a wide range of pain conditions.
Scientists believe that this therapy works because acupuncture points tend to be located close to nerve bundles. When a substance is injected into an acupoint, pressure is placed on the nearby nerve bundle, stimulating the point for up to 36 hours until it’s reabsorbed, causing a long-term therapeutic effect.
If you undergo AIT at BodaHealth, we usually recommend beginning with 3 to 6 treatments every week or two. Each injection is intended to go into the acupoint or trigger point in the belly of the affected muscle. The location of each point is aimed to release tension in the muscle, relieve pain, and heal the tissue. You may feel sore, for 24 to 48 hours, after this kind of treatment as your body is healing, and as with any injection or needling, bruising is possible.
The benefits of acupuncture injection therapy are numerous. AIT is safe and effective, creates prolonged stimulation of the points treated, and promotes healing at a deeper level. At BodaHealth, we have found that AIT is an excellent treatment for pain relief. If you want to know if AIT is right for you, give us a call today.