Contemporary Medical Acupuncture is a precise peripheral nerve stimulation technique, in which fine solid needles (acupuncture needles) are inserted into anatomically defined neurofunctional sites, and stimulated manually or with electricity for the therapeutic purpose of modulating abnormal activity of the nervous system and/or the endocrine, exocrine and immune systems, in pain syndromes, functional problems, and any diseases in which these modulatory mechanisms are available. Neuromodulation occurs through neurological and neurohumoral mechanisms at multiple levels, namely: peripheral nerves, spinal cord, brain stem, brain and cerebellum.
Contemporary Medical Acupuncture is mechanism-based, not disease-based. Therapeutic goals and treatment targets are selected based on the identified neurological dysfunctions contributing to the clinical presentation of the symptoms. Sometimes Contemporary Medical Acupuncture treatments result in transient amelioration or disappearance of the symptoms, and other times results in permanent resolution of the dysfunction, especially when dysregulation of the nervous system was the underlying pathophysiological mechanism.
Contemporary Medical Acupuncture is synonymous with Neurofunctional Acupuncture at the McMaster University Contemporary Medical Acupuncture Program. Neurofunctional Acupuncture is a physiological intervention similar to exercise that elicits existing available regulatory mechanisms through the up-regulation and down-regulation of specific cellular processes. These cellular processes cannot be forced upon the body as it would happen with administration of pharmacological substances.