Neurofunctional electroacupuncture treatments are easy to replicate using a neurofunctional diagnostic approach. A neurofunctional diagnostic approach does not seek a single hypothetical source of pain; instead, it investigates, clinically, the most common levels of dysfunction associated with a given pain problem, namely neurological, biomechanical, muscular, metabolic, and psychoemotional levels. Clinical examination aims to determine, among other things, which muscles are neurologically inhibited and which are weak due to atrophy; which tissues have lost normal texture; which kinetic chains are not working properly; and which peripheral nerves have developed mechanosensitivity. Understanding all these aspects allows the practitioner to design a truly individualized integrated neurofunctional treatment plan.
Specifically, neurofunctional acupuncture interventions aim to facilitate modulation of neurological activity at every level identified as having been disturbed, such as autonomic sympathetic and parasympathetic, motor and sensory somatic, and central (autonomic centres, somatic areas, limbic system, cerebellum, etc.).
Following these functional subdivisions, neurofunctional acupuncture treatments are then designed using a modular approach, with local inputs, axial and trunk inputs, and systemic regulatory inputs. Functional clinical outcome measures able to reflect changes on these levels are used afterwards to evaluate effectiveness.
An important point is that neurofunctional acupuncture interventions do not aim at eliminating pain directly. The goal is to promote self-regulation of nervous system activity, facilitating up-and-down-regulation processes, such as the production and repair of myelin sheaths, the synthesis of protein-based nerve membrane ion channels, and the secretion and metabolism of neuropeptides, which will result in the clinical improvement sought by the patient.
We would like to thank Dr. Alejandro Elorriaga Claraco, MD for his permission to use his article above.
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