What is ACT?
ACT (Acu-current therapy) is a comprehensive set of techniques and an approach to treating musculo-skeletal pain. It was developed by Dr. Malvin Finkelstein, O.M.D- a highly experienced (in practice for over 35 years) and well-respected acupuncturist based in Eugene, Oregon. The system is an amalgamation of Dr. Finkelstein’s in depth study of anatomy, Chinese medical structural analysis, as well as a number of other disciplines along with his own clinic experience treating thousands of patients.
ACT is commonly used in conjunction with acupuncture to treat musculo-skeletal pain, and numbness. The combination treatment approach can yield faster, better, and more long lasting results than acupuncture alone, and led to treatment success for many patients who did not see benefits with other modalities, including acupuncture by itself. ACT can also be used a needle-free alternative for children and patients who are needle averse.
The micro current portion of ACT involves the use of a hand held device called the dolphin neurostim, which is used on the surface of the skin and transmits a micro current of electricity into the tissue. The particular frequency that the dolphin emits is extraordinarily effective at releasing adhesions, restrictions, and “stuck” muscle, fascia, tendons, with the intent of freeing the area and relieving the underlying cause of pain. The positional portion of ACT involves positioning the body in order to stretch the area being worked on, which allows for a more significant release of tension to take place. The positional portion of treatment also addresses the fact that most people do not injure themselves in a neutral position. By placing a portion of the body in a position of dysfunction (always without pain), we can “get to the root” of things more directly. The technique portion of ACT to the overall process, as well as a form of tuina, or Chinese medical massage. The tuina in this context is not massage in the traditional sense, but a gentle coaxing of the muscle, or soft tissue performed during the treatment with the dolphin, which helps to obtain a maximum release of the area and move the muscle back into its normal position.
How can the combination of ACT and acupuncture help me?
ACT has the capacity to deliver results in dealing with pain much faster, and more profoundly than other techniques. The system also has effectively treated conditions that other modalities have failed to address. The combined methods are akin to a 1+1 =3 mathematical formula. This expresses the fact that the two methods potentiate each other and perform different, but complementary functions. Restored range of motion, as well as a significant lessening of pain symptoms occurring within a few sessions is a common occurrence. The majority of patients see significant and permanent improvement with these treatments in conjunction with ergonomic adjustments, and home exercises.
Can ACT be used as a stand alone alternative for acupuncture?
Yes. ACT can treat pain anywhere on the body, and can be an effective alternative for children and patients with a serious aversion to needles. In addition, it can be useful for treating areas that are difficult to needle, such as face, palms of hands, portions of the feet and other sensitive areas.
What kinds of conditions respond best to ACT and acupuncture?
Pain of a musculo-skeletal origin in any area of the body can respond well to ACT and acupuncture used in combination.
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Jaw pain (TMJ)
- Sinus issues
- Upper extremity pain of all kinds
- Carpal tunnel
- Hip pain
- Lower extremity pain
- Foot pain
- Gynecological issues
- Men’s health
- Pain that has not responded to other treatments
- Scar therapy
How widely known is ACT?
ACT seminars have been occurring since 2008. A number of acupuncturists, as well as Physical Therapists, Massage therapists, Chiropractors, and MDs have been trained in it. The numbers of practitioners in the Portland area who use it frequently are fairly small. I was the first, (and currently only), practitioner to have received certification in ACT. Certification is recognition of mastery of this method. I have more hours of formal training than any practitioner (over 250). I am currently acting as teaching assistant in ACT seminars. I have also given several lectures on ACT to a practitioner audience at OCOM (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine), and at the Pain Society of Oregon, Portland Chapter.
Simply put, why does ACT work so well?
There are a number of reasons behind ACT'S effectiveness. One is that the Dolphin Neurostim is extraordinarily powerful at releasing restricted, overly tight areas. In addition, the ability to treat patients in a stretched position is greatly additive and allows for a way to “get to” areas that would be challenging to do with just needles. The tuina (massage) stretch performed concurrently with treatment by the dolphin, allows the work to go even deeper. In addition, Dr. Finkelstein’s theoretical basis for the root cause in most injured cases, is innovative, and comes out of decades of study and practice. The points chosen to treat are unique, and have profound implications for dealing with painful areas of the body. Finally, since ACT and acupuncture are used together, the acupuncture portion of the treatment can do more than it would have otherwise. Acupuncture is a highly effective form of treatment on its own. In combination, it becomes ever more effective.
ACT and Acupuncture: Key Takeaways
DOES NOT PENETRATE THE SKIN: Dolphin Neurostim (micro current device) does not penetrate the skin, and is used on points that have been shown to be more effective than traditional acupuncture point locations. Acupuncture does penetrate the skin.
IT WORKS BETTER THAN OTHER TECHNIQUES: Acupuncture is increasingly being recognized for its healing capacity. ACT is the invention of a 40-year, senior level practitioner who saw innovative ways to improve upon the standard ways of doing acupuncture using acu-current therapy (ACT). Acupuncture then is used and augments ACT.
GETS YOU OUT OF PAIN MORE QUICKLY: releases overly tight areas (the leading causative factor of pain) extraordinarily quickly, and effectively.
COMBINED TECHNIQUES BRINGS BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: The combination of ACT and acupuncture generates a faster, more profoundly positive result than either modality when used alone. The use of a modern technology alongside the ancient modality of acupuncture blends innovation as well as a technique with thousands of years of history (and increasing recognition) behind it.
ENHANCES EFFECTIVENESS OF OTHER MODALITIES: Since ACT and acupuncture can “get in there” in ways that other techniques do not, this combination can make other work such as physical therapy, and or massage more effective and speed the recovery process.
COST SAVINGS: Since the combined use of ACT and Acupuncture work so quickly, and so well, patients can save money by requiring fewer treatments. More “bang for the buck.”
PATIENTS WHO HAVE “STRUCK OUT” WITH OTHER MODALITIES—GIVE THIS A TRY: Often, ACT and acupuncture can effectively address pain conditions that have not responded to other modalities, including acupuncture itself.