Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India

Acupuncture

History of the Department

The Department of Acupuncture, at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, is the oldest. It was started about 20 years ago and it has been actively involved in treating patients both privately as well as at the Free O.P.D. level. A continuous endeavour is always on to make this department well known and towards that end , the department of acupuncture had recently organized a free acupuncture treatment and awareness camp at the hospital.

New Facilities added recently

A new system of diagnosis known as the Pulse Analysis System has been recently added to the Department of Acupuncture. This system utilizes the measurement of energy flow at the Pulse level to diagnose a disease and accordingly treat it. Just recently we have launched the first online course of its type in the world on Acupuncture which is essentially meant for the busy medical practitioners who can do the entire theoritical learning on the Internet and thereafter come to us for one week for a intensive clinical training course. We also conduct a 100 hours class room course for medical doctors.

Other facilities

Each patient coming to the department of acupuncture is assessed and the diagnosis made according to Traditional Chinese medicine. It is then reconfirmed by Acutech, the latest diagnostic computerised equipment from Japan, to measure energy flow in different channels of the body.

Diseases belonging to different organ systems can be treated here by acupuncture:-

  • Diseases of Head and Neck :- like migraine headaches, cervical spondylitis.
  • Diseases of limbs and musculature :- like muscular pains, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, low backache, slipped disc with sciatica.
  • Diseases related to digestion :- like irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis and constipation.
  • Diseases related to respiratory system :- like chronic bronchitis, and bronchial asthma.
  • Diseases related to cardiovascular system :- like angina pain and high blood pressure.
  • Diseases related to genito urinary system :- like bed wetting in children, frequent urination, enlarged prostate.
  • Diseases related to gynaecological system :- like irregular menses, leucorrhoea etc.
  • Diseases related to sexual disorders :- like Impotence, Azoospermia.
  • Diseases related to eyes :- like optic atrophy & blurred vision.
  • Diseases related to ear, nose & throat :- like sinusitis, earache, tonsilitis, laryngitis & nerve Deafness.
  • Diseases related to skin :- like Acne, chronic eczema, psoriasis, skin rashes & falling hair.
  • Diseases related to nervous system : - including paralysis, polio, epilepsy and coma.
  • Diseases related to psychiatric disorders (including stress related disorders) :- like insomnia, anxiety, mania, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and behaviour disorders.
  • Acupuncture also cures addictions :- like smoking, alcohol and other addictions.
  • Acupuncture is also helpful in Diabetes and over weight.
  • Laser Acupuncture is extremely useful for cosmetic problems like black circles under the eye, Wrinkles and for tightening the facial muscles.
  • Preventive Acupuncture is also given for patients with family history of Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma etc.
  • Here, acupuncture is performed with an without needles. Very fine hair-thin silver needles are inserted under complete asepsis and utmost care is taken to make the procedure absolutely painless.

Many advanced needle-less techniques are also available for patients who are very apprehensive of needles. They are:-

Soft Lasers:- very effective for cosmetic problems, like acne, wrinkles, crow's feet, scars, skin diseases-like eczema, psoriasis etc. They can also be used on all acupuncture points for different diseases.

Sonopuncture:- A high frequency beam of sound is available, to be used instead of needles.

Acutron:- A recent non-invasive device has been introduced in our hospital in which interferential and micro currents are used at acupuncture points to treat all types of acute and chronic pains.

Colourtherapy:- This is a recent modality of needleless treatment in which different colours are used at acupuncture points to balance energy flow.

FAQ’s

Q. What is the meaining of the Word "acupuncture"?

A. Acupuncture is derived from Latin word ‘acus’ and ‘puncture’, where acus means ‘needle’ and puncture means ‘to penetrate’

Q. What factors determine the response of a patient to acupuncture?

A. The response of a patient to acupuncture is depends on the severity of the illnes and the length of time the patient has suffered from it. Other important factors are general health, constitutional type, emotional balance, diet, lifestyle, and any medication the patient has received in the past or is receiving at the time of consultation.

Q. What factors affects the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment?

A. Acupuncture’s effectiveness depends on its ability to improve the flow of Qi ( the life-force, vitality, or energy that makes us alive) in the body. If it is blocked, progress will be slow or may not occur. In conditions of great depletion, the patient’s constitution must be built up for acupuncture to have an effectiveness in a patient receiving medication from an orthodox practitioner, especially on a long-term basis, acupuncture treatment is likely to be difficult and can take some time to be effective.

Q. How Quickly can acupuncture treat an illness?

A. It is difficult to generalize about how quick or slowly acupuncture will work. The response varies from individual to individual. Acupuncture’s speed is dependent on Qi, so children and those with good general vitality often respond fast, but older people and those with depleted Qi may expect slower result. The duration of treatment is decided by the duration of illness. The less chronic an illness, lesser are the number of sittings required.

Q. Does acupuncture cure a problem or provide temporary relief?

A. Acupuncture cures many diseases like bronchial asthma, cervical spondylosis, low backache, acne, frozen shoulder, etc. However, in some diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety neurosis, prolapsed disc, etc. it provides symptomatic relief and the patient has to take treatment at regular intervals (once a month) to achieve complete improvement.

Q. Is it effective as a single mode of treatment or in conjunction with others?

A. It is generally effective as a single mode of treatment.

Q. Does it reduce/lncrease/hamper the effects of other simultaneous treatment?

A. It does n ot alter the effect of any other simultaneous treatment.

Q. Has acupuncture been given formal scientific recognition?

A. Yes, it has been given scientific recognition by WHO and in many other countries like Sri Lanka, Australia, U.K. and U.S.A. the government has acupuncture councils. The West Bengal government has already recognized acupuncture in their state. Research projects on Acupuncture have been financed by the Indian Council of Medical Research ( ICMR) and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) at the Ranjit Memorial Acupuncture Hospital, Howrah, West Bengal India. In November, 2003, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recognised acupuncture as a ‘Mode of Therapy’ to be practised only by registered medical practitioners.

Q. What is the cost of acupuncture treatment?

A. The cost of acupuncture treatment can vary from Rs. 1000 to 1500 per sitting.

Q. Which painful conditions can be treated by acupuncture?

A. Acupuncture can treat any pain of the body, ranging from headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, joint pains, ankle pains-even cancer pains.

Q. Can it treat any other condition besides pain?

A. Yes, it can treat a large number of diseases like polio, paralysis, asthma, sinusitis, eczema, deafness, constipation, menstrual problems, hyper acidity, hypertension, psoriasis, facial paralysis, vertigo, laryngitis, obesity, acne, optic nerve atrophy, chronic bronchitis, painful urination syndrome and all chronic diseases.

Q. Does acupuncture have any side-effects?

A. Acupuncture does not have any side-effects.

Q. Is the insertion of needles painful?

A. Prior to their first treatment, many people do not believe that acupuncture can be painless. Different sensations such as warmth or pressure may be felt, but the energetic sensation differs from pain. People often comment that the feeling is unfamiliar but pleasant and relaxing. Acupuncture needles are very fine, about the size of a thick hair. They are solid and nothing is injected through them. Over the centuries, refined needle insertion techniques have been developed which enable the skilled acupuncturist to place a needle with little or no pain .

Q. Is there any bleeding with needles?

A. There is no bleeding with acupuncture needles.

Q. How often are the needles used in acupuncture changed?

A. Most practitioners must use disposable needles.   All medical acupuncturists are required to carry out stringent sterilization procedures.

Q. What treatments are available for patients who are apprehensive of needles?

A. A number of needleless techniques such as Transcutaneous Electro-Acupuncture, Laser Acupuncture, Sonopuncture, Acutron and Color puncture are available for patients who are apprehensive of needles

Q. What is the benefit of electrical stimulation?

A. Electrical stimulation reduces the time required per treatment and is very useful in treating acute  conditions. It is more reliable, less tiring, and more acceptable to the patient

Q. In which conditions are lasers most effective?

A. Lasers are most effective in treating various musculo-skeletal diseases, skin diseases, cosmetic problem like acne, wrinkles, scars, black circles under the eyes, and for face-lifts

Q. What is the Computerised system of diagnosis and treatment in acupuncture?

A. Acujing is a computerised method which allows for diagnosis and treatment by measuring the electrical conductivity at acupuncture points and thus diagnosing the electrical imbalances in the body and then suggesting the treatment. This test is repeated on a weekly basis at an additional cost.

Q. What is meant by preventive acupuncture?

A. Acupuncture can spot the start of trouble before the acute phase begins by identifying the tendencies that could develop into illness. Treatment at this stage ensures the prevention of the disease.

Q. What role can acupuncture play in child birth?

A. Acupuncture has two main effects in childbirth: It can reduce pain; and it can stimulate the contractions of the uterus, which helps to ensure a healthy delivery. Reduction of pain without the use of drugs is of  special benefit, especially to the unborn child.

Q. Does acupuncture offer any hope to AIDS patient?

A. Acupuncture is being increasingly used in the treatment of AIDS, but this being a recent phenomenon, it is difficult to assess the benefits. In the early stage, acupuncture can be very helpful to reactivate the immune system, and at all stages can help to deal with the wide range of symptoms which tend to manifest.

Q. Can acupuncture be used to quit smoking?

A. Acupuncture treatment helps to reduce or even give up smoking. It makes the system more sensitive to toxins, and may make a patient feel that smoking is repellent. The patient must be committed to stop smoking, as acupuncture treatment can only help the nicotine addict- it is not a miracle cure.

Q. Is acupuncture helpful in sleeping problems?

A. It is important to understand that very often sleeping problem are a result of stress. If sleeping pills have been prescribed, it is essential that they are not continued to a point at which dependence, whether psychological or physical can occur, should the patient feel unable to cope without sleeping pills, acupuncture can play a positive role by helping to reduce the drug, while assisting in regulating the patient’s sleeping pattern. Bringing the sleeping pattern to normal may take 4-6 weeks and the patient should be able to sleep without the aid of drugs

Q. Is acupuncture effective in emotional problems?

A. The Chinese philosophy of health does not distinguish between physical and mental problems, both are treated at the same time, and are seen as different manifestations of one pattern of disharmony. Emotional imbalances, if untreated, may eventually result in physical symptoms, and are considered by the Chinese to be one of the major cause of disease. These emotional imbalances are treated by rebalancing, removing blockages, and restoring the natural flow of energy, and not by suppressing symptoms with potentially addictive medicines.

Q. What are the limitations of acupuncture?

A. Apart from limitations in the practitioner’s knowledge and skill, and in a patient’s willingness to heed advice, the most significant practical restriction is the need for a practitioner to be present in order for treatment to be given. In ‘emergency’, patient needing life-saving resuscitation or surgery or suffering from a serious infection, any life threatening condition, or a mechanical problem must be immediately directed to the nearest hospital. In such conditions, acupuncture would normally be a useful  supplement in improving the final outcome of the sickness, and curing the residual/chronic component of the sickness.

Q. What is colour Puncture?

A. This is a recent modality of needleless treatment in which different colours are used at acupuncture points to balance energy flow. Colour puncture can be used to relieve migraines, sinusitis, cerebral palsy, optic atrophy and IBS.

Q. What are Intradermal needles and where are they used?

A. These are small flat needles which are placed at ear acupoints to give continuous stimulation to the related internal organs.

Q. What is moxibustion and where is it used?

A. Moxibustion is a very important component of Acupuncture therapy. Various types of moxa like sticky moxa, mini moxa etc. are available with us, which are used at acupoints to give mild heat. It is considered to be a very effective tonification treatment in deficiency disorders?

Q. What is cupping therapy and where is it used?

A. Cupping therapy involves, the use of special types of cups at acupoints to create vacuum. This is very effective in treating chronic backaches, neck and shoulder pain and arthritis.

Q. What are ear candles and where are they useful?

A. Ear candles is a special device which is extremely useful for chronic sinusitis, ear blockage etc.

Q. What is Plum Blossom Needle and where it is useful?

A. This is a special type of needle used for tapping and is very effective in treating patchy baldness and skin ailments.

Q. What are cosmetic needles and where are used?

A. Cosmetic needles are very small and fine needles which are used on the face for face lifts, acne, removing dark circles under eyes, hyper pigmentation on face etc.

Q. What is Sonopuncture?

A. Sonopuncture is a type of needleless acupuncture treatment in which sound waves are used at acupoints. Different types of sound heads are used to treat a variety of ailments ranging from migraines to cervical spondylosis, low backaches, arthritis, frozen shoulder etc.

Q. What are ear seeds and where are they used?

A. The ear seeds are a special type of vacca ria seeds which are fixed with a tape at specific ear points for giving stimulation to internal organs and are painless.

Q. What is Guasha Therapy and where is it useful?

A. Guasha or scraping therapy is a new therapy where a special type of herbal oil is rubbed into the meridians of acupuncture with a jade stone. It is a needleless and painless treatment and is used as an adjuvant to needle therapy in relieving backaches, neck pain, arthritic pain, calf pain etc.

Q. What is Acutron and where is it used?

A. Acutron is a needleless type of acupuncture treatment which offers state of the art microcurrent therapies, ranging from milliamp currents to millimicro and IFT currents. It is very useful in all type of musculoskeletal pains.

Q. What is a TDP (Infra Red Heater) and where is it useful?

A. TDP i8s a special device from China which produces a spectrum of electro magnetic waves. It is useful in soft tissue injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, hematoma, edema and in reducing pain and inflammation.

Management of complicated cases

1. BRONCHIAL ASTHMA

Miss Mona, a 14 year old girl, had recurrent cough and cold since she was a child, started wheezing at 11 years of age. She was put on steroids for 3-4 months. When she came to us, she was on oral deriphyllin twice a day, 6-7 times asthalin inhaler in a day and unlimited use of the inhaler at night when she gets up with episodes of wheezing and salsol nebulizer 2-3 times a night.

She started Acupuncture treatment for her bronchial asthma from 24/4/2002. Initially her treatments were daily for the first month, during which time her nebuliser was stopped and oral medication (deriphyllin) was stopped in the first 15 days of starting treatment. She felt so much better that by the end of the first month she had totally stopped even her inhaler.

Subsequently, her treatment was reduced to thrice a week in the second month and then to twice a week in the third month.

She was so pale and underweight when she started treatment and as she progressed, her complexion became rosy and she gained about 5 kg. Weight. Her appetite became normal and she has never experienced any wheezing till now. She will go onto once a week treatment in the next month and then her treatment will be over. Since the problem of asthma is getting rampant among school going children, more so due to high level of pollutants in the atmosphere and low immunity levels.

It is important that such children be given Acupuncture as the first line of management so as to cure them of the disease by improving their body immunity.

2. FACIAL NEURALGIA

Ms. Neeru Gulati, aged 28 years, developed Lt. Sided facial paralysis in october 2000. She took Wysolone and electrostimulation and recovered. However, she developed an acute pain in the left eye since last 5 months and she was put on pain

killers. As she got no relief, she was started on Tab. Mazetol, initially once a day, to now upto four a day with little relief. She came to us on 27-4-2002, when acupuncture treatment was started on her. Initially she was given daily treatment for 20 days, during which time she totally stopped all her medication and had substantial pain relief. Later, this schedule was made to alternate days for 2 weeks, then twice a week for 2 weeks. Her pain is now totally cured and there has been no relapse since her treatment was completed.

3. MIGRAINE

Mr. Krishan Kant , aged 32 years, complained of left sided headache since the last 8 years, gradually became more worse and also shifted to the right side of head since 3 years. Presently, his pain was only left sided and he was diagnosed as a patient of migraine. When he came to us for treatment, his headaches had become so severe that he was taking 1-2 tablets of vasograin daily, and he would be suffering from headache almost 4-5 days in a week. His headaches used to get worse with sunshine. He was started acupuncture therapy from 27-4-2002. Initially for first 20 treatments, the treatment was given daily. Within the first 10 sessions only, he got so much relief that he stopped taking vasograin. Gradually , the frequency of headache got less. After 20 treatments, the session was reduced to alternate days for 2 weeks, by which time he had totally stopped having any headaches. He could now even move in sunshine without any headache. He had once a week treatment for 2 weeks and then we stopped his treatment. Follow up till now has not shown any relapse.

4. BILATERAL POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN DISEASE WITH INFERTILITY

Mrs. Anita Shora, aged 37 years, came to us with history of amenorrhoea ( no menses) since December 2000. Her ultrasound showed her to be having polycystic ovaries and she was put on hormone therapy. Even with hormone treatment, she was not getting regular menses, and the bleeding used be very scanty. Acupuncture treatment was started on 21-8-2001. Initially patient was treated daily for first 4 months, during which time, her cycles became normal and all hormone therapy was stopped. Thereafter, she was given acupuncture only for 7 days in a month, prior to onset of menstrual cycle. This process continued for about 6 months. In the month of april 2002, she missed her cycles. A pregnancy test was done and it came positive. An ultrasound revealed a normal growing foetus. Acupuncture thus helped this lady recovery from her problem of hormonal imbalance and then conceive a child.

5. CENTRAL SEROUS RETINOPATHY

Mr. Manohar das, a 35 year old patient came to me in November 2001. He is a pilot with Air India and during a routine eye check up he was informed that he is suffering from Central Serous Retinopathy in left eye, a condition which causes gradual deterioration of vision. He developed this problem since July 2001 and since then he was not allowed to fly anymore. He took all treatments available but to no avail. His carrier was in jeopardy and with this problem, he may have to stop flying totally.

An angiography done in November 2001, showed changes of retinopathy and vision in his left eye was 6/18.

Acupuncture treatment was started on 10th Nov. 2001, and gradually the vision of the patient started improving. By April 2002, his vision had become 6/6 in the left eye. He was seen again by doctors at Jaslok Hospital who did a repeat fundus angiography and found that central serous retinopathy had resolved and his vision in the left eye was 6/6. His license for flying which was temporarily cancelled was renewed after this latest report. For a man whose career is of a pilot and a condition like this can ruin his career, acupuncture came as a boon.

6. LUMBAR DISC PROLAPSE WITH ACUTE SCIATICA

Mrs. Saroj Modi, aged 67 years, had been suffering from acute pain in her left leg since March 2002. She had an episode of similar pain in the right leg last year but in 6 months she got relieved with pain killers and exercise. However, this time the pain was so acute that inspite of pain killers, no relief was there and she was unable to walk for a few steps also. Clinical examination confirmed a left sciatic nerve root compression. She came to us in June 2002 and her treatment was started on 10th June 2002. Initially she took 20 sittings daily followed by alternate days and then twice a week sittings.

Her leg pain is totally gone and she is able to go on her morning walks like before. Acupuncture is considered to be the first treatment of choice today for lumbar disc prolapse and sciatica, the world over.

7. LUMBAR CANAL STENOSIS WITH PARAPARESIS AND ASTHMA

Mrs. Sukhda chadha, aged 60 years, developed paralysis of her right leg along with numbness in May,2001. Gradually the left leg also became weaker. Her situation became so bad that she was totally bedridden and had to use a walker for support to walk at home. She came to us in February, 2002. An examination of the patient revealed that she had lumbar canal stenosis which had resulted in gradual reduction of blood circulation to her legs with constant pain in the legs and numbness and gradually diminishing muscle power.

Acupuncture treatment was started from 12th Feb,2002. Initially she was given daily treatment for over 1 month. She showed such tremendous improvement that her leg pains disappeared and she felt more active. After 3 months of treatment by May ,2002, she was able to leave her walker and walk independently.

Now in July 2002, she takes only twice a week treatments and her muscle power is returned to near normal. She also had a chronic bronchial asthma since last 20 years for which she was on heavy medication. We concomitantly also treated her for asthma and now she is fully cured and does not use any medication for the same.

8. CERVICAL SPONDYLOPATHY

Mrs. Kamlesh Dua, aged 65 years, was suffering from acute pain in her left hand since November,2001. The pain used to start from her neck, travel to the shoulder, then upper arm and forearm and then spread to all the fingers of her left hand. She was unable to even lift her left shoulder, and developed gradual weakness in her left hand. She was on regular proxyvon twice a day, with no relief and used to be constantly crying in pain. X ray of her cervical spine had showed markedly reduced disc spaces at C4-5-6 levels with osteoporosis. MRI showed degenerative disc disease with disc bulge at C4-5-6-7 levels.

She visited us for treatment on 17th April ,2002. Her pain was agonizing and she was even unable to sleep due to the severe pain. Within just 3 sessions of Acupuncture , the acute pain disappeared. Thereafter, in another 15 sessions her left frozen shoulder got cured. Thereafter, we reduced her treatment to alternate days, then twice a week and now to once a week. She is totally pain free and even the pain in her fingers has gone. She recovered completely from all her symptoms.

9. CALCANEAL SPUR IN BOTH FEET

Mrs. Anuradha Bhandari, aged 45 years, was suffering from severe pain in both feet since the last 2 years. She was diagnosed as having calcaneal spur in both the feet for which she took ultrasonic, laser, pain killers but with no relief.

She came to us on 13th , April,2002, for treatment. Regular acupuncture treatment over a period of 2 months completely relieved her of pain in both the feet. Her pain was so intolerable that she was unable to even keep her foot on the ground and walking or standing for long was impossible for her. She used to be mostly on bed because of her acute pain.

After she got cured of her ankle pain, she told us about her chronic lumbar pain which has also been taken care of with acupuncture.

10. Mr. G.N. Khaitan aged 78 years, chairman of Radico Khaitan, used to suffer from Chronic migraines since he was 30 years of age, He had tried all types of treatment without success. He came to know about Dr. Kapur after watching a programme on acupuncture with him about 10 years ago. He took a total of 30 treatment sessions with Dr. Kapur and thereafter has never suffered from any migraine headaches since the last 10 years. Recently he developed a prolapsed disc in his back which caused an acute sciatica pain in his right leg. He immediately contacted his acupuncture doctor and in just 10 treatments his pain was cured.

11. Mrs. Sunita Sharma, a 42 years old woman, suddenly had a brain hemorrhage and developed optic nerve atrophy in both her eyes. This led to complete vision loss in both eyes. The doctors at the hospital where she got treated told her that her vision can not come back. Acupuncture treatment with Dr. Kapur has been able to bring her vision back by 60% in over 6 months time.

Future plans

We wish to develop the department of Holistic medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital which would be the first of its type which is going to provide patients with therapy by using Acupressure, Reflexology, Yoga and meditation in addition to Acupuncture which is already available.

Departmental Publications & Other Achievements

Our department has been involved in continuous research work and presently we are doing our study at the hospital on the "Role of Acupuncture in Pain Relief for Cervical Spondylosis". The interviews of Dr. Raman Kapur appear regularly in National Dailies and also on the Television where in difficult cases treated with acupuncture are interviewed and their opinion regarding the science told to the lay person.