March 07, 2016

Medical Acupuncture in the Making

The superior physician controls disease before any illness has declared itself; the average physician practicse acupuncture before the disease has come to crisis; the inferior practitioner treats the patient when the illness is already dying away. -Huang-Fu Mi, 282 A.D.

Acupuncture is an art of healing using needles in specific body points to treat disease and relieve pain.  It uses a complex therapeutic process to address inflammation, or blocks in energy, to re-balance the body’s systems. In classical Chinese acupuncture, these points are needled to acquire Qi, or energy.  When Qi is acquired, the practitioner can contact and balance the body’s energy.

Acupuncture points have been studied in the past century with modern technology, and have been shown to have distinct bioelectrical and histological properties, compared to non-acupuncture points.  These properties include decreased electrical resistance with high densities of nerve fibers, vessels, and lymphatic tissue. 
Medical acupuncture is the practice of acupuncture by physicians and is the integration of classical acupuncture with modern medicine. With knowledge of modern anatomy and neurophysiology, a medical acupuncturist is able to use acupuncture points for both their classical Chinese functions and their neuro-anatomic significance (in relation to ligaments, fascia, tendons, organs, nerves and muscle).
At heart, medical acupuncturists desire to re-balance the patient’s body, mind and soul to help the patient heal optimally, increase his/her resilience to internal and external stresses, and decrease pain.  This is generally done by using the patient’s history and physical, imaging, and labs to produce a Western diagnosis, such as plantar fasciitis, phantom pain, chronic fatigue, lumbar stiffness, or seasonal allergies—for which acupuncture may be offered as a primary or secondary treatment option.
Anatomic parallels aside, acupuncture can also be used to treat organic and psychosomatic disorders. It was recognized by the National Institutes of Health in 1997 as a reasonable clinical option for several conditions, such as myofascial pain, low back pain, stroke rehabilitation, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and headaches.  In daily practice, acupuncture is sometimes utilized in treatment of insomnia, addiction, hyperarousal, and constipation.
Dr. Eileen Wong, MD is a PM&R specialist with medical acupuncture training through the Helms Medical Institute. She joined the White Memorial Medical Center medical staff after completion of a 4-year residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Loma Linda University Medical Center. She received her M.D. from Wayne State University, School of Medicine and her undergraduate degree from UCLA.  She specializes in the non-operative care of musculoskeletal problems--using injections, manual manipulation, physical therapy, acupuncture, and yoga. She has special interests in stroke/traumatic brain injury rehab, overuse injuries, pain, sports medicine, and has experience in performing EMG/NCS. She has been on medical missions to Ecuador, Belize, China and does many community events locally. She sees patients in the Kerlan- Jobe / Orthopedic Clinic (White Memorial Medical Center) and in the Glendale Adventist Spine & Orthopedic Institute, and primarily focuses on Musculoskeletal Medicine.





Eileen C. Wong, M.D.

Physical Medicine & Rehab