Sonopuncture is stimulation of acupuncture points carried out using a narrow, cylindrical high frequency beam of sound instead of needles. High frequency sound waves of 750,000 to 1,000,000 cycles per second are the most effective for sonopuncture. The human ear can hear sound waves with frequencies between twenty to twenty thousand cycles per second. Sound waves with a frequency above twenty thousand cycles per second are too high pitched to be heard by human ears and are called ultrasound. The frequency of ultrasound used in sonopuncture is one megahertz; that is it vibrates a million times a second.
Ultrasound waves are generated using the piezo-electric effect. When an alternating electric current is applied across the faces of a quartz crystal, the crystal vibrates. To generate an ultrasound beam a rapidly changing electric current is applied across the faces of the quartz crystal in the sound head causing it to vibrate. This very high frequency vibration generates the ultrasound beam.
For sonopuncture, specially constructed, high quality sound heads are used that generate a narrow cylindrical beam of ultra-sound. These special purpose sound heads emit intense vertical beams varying from two to five millimetres in width. Each of these special purpose heads is handcrafted to exacting standards to ensure that the beam is uniform. This makes each of these sound heads more expensive than a normal ultrasound machine.
Sonopuncture is a quick method of treatment that requires fifteen to forty-five seconds of stimulation at each acupuncture point. It has an effective depth of penetration of six to eight centimetres. This penetration is possible because ultrasound waves are conducted through fat without absorption and are absorbed by the underlying muscle where most acupuncture points lie. This makes sonopuncture an effective alternative to acupuncture even in very fat patients. Technological advances have allowed us to use both electroacupuncture and ultrasound simultaneously through the same applicator, thus
These high frequency ultrasound waves are however poorly conducted through air and so require a high density conducting medium to carry the waves into the body. For sonopuncture, a conducting medium like a gel or oil is required between the treatment head and the skin to conduct the ultrasound waves into the body. Without the gel the ultrasound waves are reflected inside the sound heads, generating heat instead of helping the body to heal itself.
Ultrasound is useful in many conditions in which conventional acupuncture does not work. Ultrasound is used to treat infections by applying the sound head over the area that is infected, like a small abscess or a wound that is not healing Sonopuncture improves the blood circulation in the area being treated. This increase in circulation brings more white blood cells, and antibodies to e affected area. In areas with a reduced blood supply, fibrous tissue gradually replaces the normal tissues. Sonopuncture improves the blood supply to the affected area, breaking down the fibrous tissue that surrounds the area of infection thus improving and speeding up the process of healing. This means of therapy is also useful in treating infections like pneumonia especially that of viral or fungal origin where antibiotics are ineffective.
Ultrasound is very useful for rejuvenation, as it improves the blood supply and improves the quality and texture of the skin. Ageing and wrinkled skin gradually smoothens out and begins to glow again, while the underlying muscles firm up. This cosmetic application of sonopuncture yields best results when done on a regular basis as it can slow down and reverse the ageing process. It should ideally be started in middle age when it can help the person to look young for many years. It helps to improve the elasticity of scar tissue and is the treatment of choice following surgery as it ensures a soft smooth scar.
Ultrasound is used to treat varicose veins as it improves the tone of the affected veins, which start to contract. Within six to eight weeks of treatment most patients respond adequately. Patients with very bad varicose veins may require twelve to twenty-four weeks of treatment.
The case history of Mrs Deb illustrates the utility of sonopuncture. Mrs Deb is an overweight lady in her early forties who has had varicose veins for the last eight years. About twelve years ago she was suddenly afflicted with painful swellings, which appeared all over her arms and legs. She went to a doctor, who told her she was suffering from thrombophlebitis. She was advised rest in bed for three months, which she took, but in spite of that, the problem did not go away. It kept bothering her for the next eight months. She ran from pillar to post, tried various means of treatment, but nothing helped.
About eleven years ago she came to see me. I treated her daily with sonopuncture for about a month then three times a week for the next four weeks, and then twice a week for the last four weeks. During the course of the treatment, the ugly swollen veins and the swellings gradually subsided. Within a few weeks she was free of pain and has not had any recurrence of the problem in all these years.
Sonopuncture is effective in giving almost immediate relief in many conditions like backache. Very strong stimulation is given to the acupuncture points that are related to the pain and within three to five minutes, the person feels relief. Sonopuncture is useful in the treatment of conditions like fibrositis, in which small painful lumps appear on either side of the spine. Treatment for five minutes on each point rapidly and dramatically eases the fibrositis.
Mr. A, a plump 55 year old had ankylosing spondylosis, which had left him stiff for many years. A few days of treatment with sonopuncture, has got him moving freely again without pain and he was able to resume his normal activities. This rare condition is crippling and sonopuncture is the best treatment for such ailments.
This treatment is also used to treat star athletes and racehorses before a race to improve their performance.
A high intensity ultrasound probe is moved over the legs of the racehorse and if it flinches or shows any sign of discomfort, the intensity of the ultrasound is lowered and stimulation is given at that point for five minutes. The intensity is then increased again and the point checked again and very often the fibrosis has disappeared. As a result the horse is able to perform at his best and win the race.
This has become a popular mode of treatment in the United States, where it is used by veterinary surgeons to improve the performance of horses before a race.
Ultrasound is also used in the same way on athletes before a race to help them achieve peak physical performance. A sprain or strain that may take three to six weeks to heal on its own can be persuaded to heal within seven to ten days with this mode of treatment.
Sonopuncture is very effective in treating bruises, ligament tears and any type of inflammation. It improves the circulation and by massaging the area speeds up the healing process. This treatment is very useful in treating professional sportsmen, as it permits an early return to full physical fitness. This helps them return to active sports in the shortest possible time.
Ultrasound can also be used to promote the healing of bones. The time of healing of fractures can be halved by the use of ultrasound and even fractures, which have not healed for many months, can be persuaded to heal again.
Sometimes fractures do not heal for many months in spite of a plaster cast. Treatment with ultrasound for a few weeks starts off the healing process and leads to results, which are quite dramatic and can often avoid surgery.
Ultrasound is also used to help teeth regenerate. Teeth, which are loose, can be helped to become stronger by ultrasound treatment for a few weeks. With the means of treatment, teeth, which would have had to be extracted, can be saved and made healthy again.
It also has a beneficial effect in inflammation of the gums, cavities and along with mampulation is the treatment of choice in Temperomandibular joint pain (pain in the joint of the lower jaw just below the ear).
Mrs Mohan a forty five-year-old lady had loose teeth due to receding gums and gingivitis. Her dentist said that he would be unable to save her teeth and advised extraction of all her teeth followed by the use of dentures.
I treated her with sonopuncture and within six weeks her gums were healthy again her teeth were no longer shaking and most important she still has all her own teeth ten years later!
In conditions like bronchial asthma, treatment with ultra sound can give immediate relief from the bronchial spasm with the breathing becoming easier in five to ten minutes. It is also useful in many conditions for which conventional treatment is not very satisfactory like an enlarged prostrate and fibroadenosis of the breast.
Sonopuncture and ultrasound thus have a very successful history of treating a variety of ailments that do not respond well to any conventional treatment.
More information on how Ultrasound is used is available in my book "Non-invasive Acupuncture" which details how Lasers & ultrasound can be used for treatment on Acupuncture points. The book is priced at US $ 30 for a Paperback copy & US$40 for a Hardback copy inclusive of Shipping charges.
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