“Contemporary” means existing or happening now rather than in the past. “Medical” means relating to the science or practice of medicine. Etymologically, “Acupuncture” is simply a descriptive Latin term referring to the insertion of needles into the human body. “Contemporary Medical Acupuncture” can be defined as the use of fine solid needles to stimulate the peripheral nervous system in order to produce therapeutic physiological responses in patients or animals afflicted with musculoskeletal pain and movement disorders, sports injuries, functional problems, problems of dysregulation, headaches, stress-related disorders, chronic pain, etc.
The McMaster Contemporary Medical Acupuncture Program is a technical course for qualified health care professionals that focus on the most important neurofunctional knowledge, anatomical structures and needling techniques necessary to induce therapeutic modulation of local, spinal segmental and supraspinal neurological processes in cases of dysregulation at any of these levels.
To insert a needle on a given musculoskeletal structure and successfully effect the occurrence of the specific signal transductions that will up-regulate or down-regulate critical proteins and other humoral messengers involved in the wide range of neural and tissular activities, in all case circumstances, requires a lot more than a basic anatomical knowledge.
It is clear that a chess grandmaster plays with the same rules and uses the same movements as the “more enthusiastic than proficient” amateur player in a sidewalk game. He just selects them in a different order, at a different time.
It is easy to confirm that a Nobel literature laureate uses the same letters and many of the same words as the average high school student may use on a D+ essay. She just uses them in a different order and with different timing.
In his immortal compositions, Mozart used the exact same notes as the “painful to hear” violin dilettante on a rushed Sunday morning practice. However, he composed and played them with exacting precision and perfect timing.
Michaelangelo’s hammer when sculpting Moses and David was no different than the one used by the least skilled mason of his time. He just controlled the blows with infinitely more precision and intention.
Therefore, the singular elements of any craft when examined in isolation can be deceitfully unimpressive. But, when combined with the power of understanding, insightful vision, and precision, these humble elements suddenly become the fundamental components of superior performance.
The power of the chess master, the artful writer, the accomplished musician, or the genius sculptor and painter—the differentiator that makes their “technique” superior or advanced—is simply their ability to control the humble elemental components of their craft, i.e. their ability to combine them chronologically for the service of a higher purpose.
As it is often the case, to master such a simple recipe requires a lifetime of intelligent observation of our own “modus operandi” and the purposeful determination to apply this controlled experience to refine our next output. Patience, passion, vision, determination, and purposefulness can infuse quality and even immortal life on a chess piece, a collection of words or musical notes, a piece of marble, a canvas, or an in our case, an acupuncture needle.
The choice is in your hands. If you choose professional excellence in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain and movement disorders, sports injuries, functional problems, problems of dysregulation, headaches, stress-related disorders, chronic pain, etc., the other faculty members and I are committed to providing the friendly and productive learning environment where you can develop new skills to help your patients with these problems.
Whenever our paths cross, I’ll be grateful and excited for the opportunity to assist you on your lifelong learning journey.
Your colleague in excellence,
Dr. Alejandro Elorriaga Claraco, MD (Spain)
Director – McMaster Contemporary Medical Acupuncture Program