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Oral Acupuncture

By Dr. med. Jochen M. Gleditsch

From Neural Therapy, Reflex Zones and Somatotopies: A Key to the Diagnostic and Therapeutic Understanding of Man’s Ills, a seminar guide compiled by the American Academy of Biological Dentistry, June 1989

Oral acupuncture is a new form of acupuncture treatment, performed in the oral cavity. I have discovered a number of acupuncture points situated in the oral mucous membrane. These points can be used to influence disorders of various parts of the body.

I have experienced the advantages of Oral Acupuncture in my ear-nose-throat practice, as an ENT specialist, for the last 12 years, treating thousands of patients with best results. By this method I was able to cure not only neuralgia, sinusitis, and other ailments in my special field. To my surprise, even pains and disorders of distant parts of the body responded to my treatment performed within the oral cavity.

Oral Acupuncture can be performed very quickly and easily. I have therefore adopted this method for the majority of my patients. Neither advertising that I am an acupuncturist nor informing my patients about the nature of my treatment, I have achieved all my results without influencing my patients in a suggestive manner.

In traditional Chinese acupuncture, only four acupoints were known, and used, in the oral mucous membrane; e.g., the final points of the two midline meridians, situated at the frenulum of the upper and lower jaw, respectively.

The newly discovered oral points, even if they may be connected with the meridians of traditional body acupuncture, form a microsystem of their own. For the whole body with its inner functions and organs is represented in the respective oral points.

The phenomenon of a microsystem was originally discovered by Dr. Nogier, of France, some thirty years ago. Since he made his findings, we have become familiar with the existence of a complete holographic somatotopy of the human body on either auricle. Although some single ear points were known and used in traditional Chinese acupuncture, the modern way of systematic auriculotherapy has become a very refined and effective method of acupuncture.

Specific mucosa points forming a system of their own were described as early as 1985 by the German doctor Professor Fleiss. In the nasal mucous membrane he found certain points by means of which he was able to influence disorders of the urogenital and digestive system. Moreover, he cured, by applying cocaine to specific endonasal points, such disorders as headaches, migraine, and vertigo.

Such observations prove that there are connections between outer points of the body on the one hand, and inner organs and their functions on the other hand. The outer points may be located on the skin or, as mentioned before, on the mucous membrane; they may either be spread over the body or gathered in microsystems of points of correspondence. In both cases, the laws of traditional Chinese acupuncture are the basis of our understanding.

A further step towards the development of Oral Acupuncture was the discovery of another system of connections in the oral cavity. The German doctors Voll and Kramer have investigated the energetic links between the respective teeth, including their paradental tissue, and the respective inner organs. They performed bio-electrical measurements while drilling teeth. These measurements were applied to traditional acupoints, whose connections to inner organs and their functions are well defined.

Transmutation of the respective teeth leads to a temporary change of the bio-electrical behavior of particular body acupoints. The mutual connections between particular teeth and particular inner organs and their functions have been verified by many dentists during the last twenty years. As all the inner organs and their functions are completely represented within the system of the teeth, this system forms another holographic somatotopy, or microsystem, of the body.

As Dr. Voll’s measurements require special apparatus and a great deal of time, and can only be used for diagnostic purposes, I was very pleased to discover a system of acupoints in the oral mucous membrane. These points are located in close vicinity to the teeth, namely labiodentally and buccodentally, and are suitable both for diagnosis and for treatment. The therapeutic indiciations of the oral acupopints turned out to be more or less identical to the functional relationships of the respective neighboring teeth.

The oral acupoints are suitable for diagnosis because they only show up during a state of irritation, signalizing functional disorder or stress of the corresponding inner organ. As long as they are not signalizing, the corresponding microsystem points are not detectable. This characteristic of being strictly reactive points is shared by all microsystem points and distinguishes them from the general acupoints of the body.

As the mucous membrane is more sensitive than the skin, the irritation of oral acupoints often affects the surrounding tissue as well. For instance, the adjacent area of the mucous membrane becomes sensitive to pressure, or the point area shows small indurations or a slight oedematous swelling. Strictly localized gingivitis or a gingival ulcer may be caused by an irritation of the oral point area. Thus, if the therapist is familiar with the connections between the respective points, inspection of the gingiva and, in particular, digital palpation of the oral mucosa may give general diagnostic hints as to the inner organs which are imbalanced.

The oral acupoints are particularly suitable for therapy because of the reflect mechanism which links them to the respective inner organs and functions. Systematic treatment of the points, when it neutralizes the previous state of irritation, may trigger off positive and instantaneous effects on the inner functions involved. Thus they act as trigger points.

In this way, the oral acupoints help us in obtaining both diagnostic hints and predictable therapeutic results, provided we follow certain rules. This means that the microsystem of Oral Acupuncture has to be regarded as a reflexology system. As it represents the multitude of inner organs and functions in its respective points, Oral Acupuncture is a cartographic and holistic somatotopy of the body.

A special feature of Oral Acupuncture is that each oral acupoint corresponds not only to one single organ, but invariably to a specific range, or group, of organs. There are five distinct groups of organs represented at the five different point areas of the oral vestibule. These five different point areas can easily be distinguished as they are identical with the five groups of teeth, i.e., the incisors, the canine teeth, the premolars, the molars, and the wisdom teeth, respectively.

The five distinct groups of organs that are formed in this way are not accidental. They are identical with the organ groups which were described in ancient Chinese medicine, the so-called “Five Elements” of traditional acupuncture teaching. In this way, modern Oral Acupuncture is a proof of functional organ correspondences which were claimed to exist in the science of acupuncture thousands of years ago.

The so-called “Five Elements” were considered to be unions, or couples, of one “Yin” and one “Yang” meridian respectively, each meridian representing one of the major inner organs of the body. The science of acupuncture contains the concept of a close affinity of all the organs that are related to a particular meridian couple, or lie on one of the meridians mentioned above. This affinity results in the respective “Five Elements” functioning in a way which, in terms of modern cybernetics, can be compared with regulating or functional circuits.

Although the various organs and functions comprised in a functional circuit do not seem to be related to one another anatomically, they are linked in the sense of a functional and regulating interplay. Whenever acupoints of the meridians or of the various microsystems are included, they obviously act as inputs to their respective functional circuits and share the reflexes and mutual interplay. Therefore, disorders and imbalances of a functional circuit invariably affect the corresponding oral acupoints as well, and this results in an irritation of the point or points already mentioned. That means that an increase of bio-electrical conductivity, as well as a sensitivity to pressure is seen at the corresponding oral acupoint. On the other hand, systematic treatment of an irritated oral acupoint results in a stimulation of the corresponding functional circuit.

In my opinion, the oral acupoints of the mucous membrane have not been recognized yet, nor used to advantage, although dentists all over the world use local anesthetics injections in the immediate neighborhood of these oral acupoints. Dentists, however, usually direct their injection vertically, up or down toward the root apex. The oral acupoints, however, are situated at a distance of about 1-2 centimeters away from the apex, on the inside of the lips and of the cheeks.

The therapeutic indications of oral acupoints adjacent to teeth can be derived from the respective neighboring teeth. I therefore suggest that the oral acupoints be given the same number as the corresponding teeth, with an additional “O” for “oral.” Thus, the oral acupoints of the left hand upper jaw O 21 to O 28, of the left hand lower jaw O 31 to O 38, and of the right hand lower jaw O 41 to O 48.

The area beyond the wisdom teeth is of special importance. This area, known as the retromolar space, is the distal extension of the upper and lower jaws where a set of imaginary “9th teeth” could be located. The retromolar space of both sides seems to influence the general energetic state of the body. The retromolar spaces of the upper jaw are influenced by the temporomandibular joints. These joints, like masticatory muscles, have to tolerate the highest pressure of all joints and muscles of the body. It also has to be remembered that all kinds of emotional stresses and tensions tend to affect the masticatory muscles and the temporomandibular joint. Bruxism, i.e., grinding of teeth during sleep, is actually an unconscious discharge of emotional tensions. This discharge, though very much relaxing for the psyche, at the same time strains the temporomandibular joint and the retromolar space.

There is a system of retromolar acupoints situated in the retromolar space. These very special oral points are located very closely to one another. It is therefore impossible to clearly differentiate their respective connections. Obviously, all five functional circuits of the boyd are represented in close vicinity within the retromolar space. As mentioned above, there are also acupoints in this area which refer to the triple warmer meridian. Because of this accumulation of correspondence points, the retromolar space is of pre-eminent therapeutic importance.

Most probably, disorders and imbalances of inner organs and functions are signalized simultaneously both in the vestibular and in the retromolar points. According to the law of reflexology, neutralization of the corresponding retromolar points, and vice versa. Because of the major importance of the retromolar space, it is best to treat this region first. Palpative control of previously irritated vestibular points serves as proof of whether the treatment of retromolar points has affected the particular functional circuit, or not.

Bio-electrical measurement of skin conductivity is not practicable due to moisture of the mucous membrane of the mouth. Digital palpation, however, is highly practicable and also sufficient for pre-localizing oral acupoints, both for diagnosis and for therapy.

Digital palpation in the oral vestibule and retromolar space aims at identifying irritated points and at comparing the degree of irritation of synonymous points bilaterally and in the upper and lower jaws. The laterality in particular gives hints as to the site of the original functional disorder.

For therapeutic purposes, it is impracticable to apply acupuncture needles within the mouth. Therefore, the oral acupoints should be stimulated by means of superficial injections into the oral mucous membrane. In general, the use of natural saline solution, or of low-percentage local anesthetics (.5 to 1%), or a mixture of both, is recommended. Homeopathic or other physiological dilutions may be added, depending on the basic functional disorder involved. Vasoconstricting agents should be avoided, on the contrary, some drops of choline added to the injection fluid, have a favorable effect. Particularly in the mouth, very fine annulas are suitable, and agreeable for the patient. For nearly painless treatment, I prefer to use 20 millimetres disposable syringe needles. At the very important retromolar points of the upper jaw, injections hardly cause any pain, owing to the looseness of the mucous tissue. This makes injections very easy even with anxious patients and with children. I have found disposable cannulas and syringes to be very practicable for hygienic reasons and for their extraordinary sharpness. As a necessary precaution, one has to make quite sure that the needle is tightly screwed on, or fixed to, the syringe so that it cannot become loose within the oral cavity.

The success of therapy depends on hitting the points exactly. If this can be done, the irritation of the point is neutralized immediately, i.e., the point can no longer be identified when palpated. This effect is not due to the use of the local anesthetic as it is also achieved by other injection fluids. The precise striking of the “very point” is all that matters. Once the specific reactive points are neutralized, it produces a favorable effect on the original internal, or functional disorder. In this sequence, the irritation of the oral points and particularly of those on the retromolar space, is obviously a key symptom. Even if the therapist does not intend to treat the retromolar points, these points should be palpated for diagnosis before and after any kind of acupuncture or other reflex therapy. The retromolar points serve as indicators because their irritation disappears or diminishes if treatment of other trigger points was successful. This proves that the retromolar points are key points of a wider system of reflexology points.

The exact hitting of the points - of the “very points” - is best achieved by first gently dabbing along the suspected areas with the injection needle. The needle should then be inserted tangentially, i.e., as shallow as possible. The free fingers should be rested on the adjacent tissue, serving as a support of the therapist’s hand. When the “very point” is struck, the patient gives a typical mimical or verbal consent. He experiences a slight “electrical” sensation. This “electrical” sensation, although it is only triggered superficially, has the same importance as the “sensation along the channel” as known in classic acupuncture. This superficial sensation indicates that the oral acupoint has been struck precisely. Very often, at this moment, the injection needle seems to be “drawn” into the point as if into a pre-formed channel.

At this moment, a very few drops (.1 to .2 millilitres only) of the injection fluid should be inserted superficially, forming a tiny bubble which can be felt with the fingertip. Now a gentle massage of the bubble will intensify the effect and at the same time includes the palpative check whether the sensitivity of the reactive point has been neutralized. If not, this means that the “very point” has been narrowly missed. Needle insertion, therefore, ought to be repeated close by. This is not painful for the patient as the local anesthetic has already narcotized the surrounding tissue, whilst it fails to affect the “very point” as long as this point is being missed. This proves that acupuncture and trigger points show a specific resistance and response which differs from their surroundings.

Another painless method of stimulating oral acupoints is by means of laser irradiation, which is performed by a special acu-laser gun. I occasionally use such laser beams of very low dose and harmless intensity for not more [than] 4 to 5 seconds per point, treating only 2 or 3 points per session.

During my 12 years period of practical experience with Oral Acupuncture, no undesired side-effects were observed, provided a procaine allergy could be excluded. Any changes for the worse were in all cases only temporary, and always stimulated the bodily self-regulating mechanism.

I have found that it is sufficient to treat patients with Oral Acupuncture only, but it may as well be combined with other forms of acupuncture treatment. Oral Acupuncture fits very well into modern Chinese acupuncture where local and distant points are treated at the same time. In my experience, the selection of oral acupoints can be effective as distant points.

In this respect, Oral Acupuncture is comparable to Ear Acupuncture. Pain conditions as well as blocked movements of all parts of the spine and of the joints improve considerably. For some reason, however, there are patients who respond better to Oral Acupuncture and others to auriculotherapy, and others to traditional acupuncture.

But in the case of shoulder, arm, and elbow disorders Oral Acupuncture is superior. For these disorders, the wisdom teeth and retromolar spaces of the upper jaw are indicated for treatment. Disorders of the cervical spine can also be treated by the same points, but the best results are obtained when retromolar points of the lower jaw are included, both buccally and lingually.

For sinusitis therapy, Oral Acupuncture is certainly the best therapy available to guarantee complete and permanent cures. Acute, chronic, and allergic conditions respond equally well, as does sinubronchitis. I have found that pain sensitivity of the reactive points of the upper jaw retromolar space is a key symptom of any form of sinusitis. The sensitivity usually persists even when the common sinusitis symptoms have been successfully combated by antibiotics or chemotherapy; the persisting sensitivity hints to the fact that the sinusitis has only been reduced to a latent state, and that relapses are to be expected. If, however, by means of Oral Acupuncture, the retromolar points are treated until they are neutralized, this indicates that the sinusitis has been completely cured and relapses are very rare.

It will be found that with the same treatment not only sinusitis but also digestive disorders - especially of the large intestine - can improve.

In this way, Oral Acupuncture offers proof of the functional connections and interplay within the five functional circuits of the body, i.e., the “Five Elements.”

Oral Acupuncture forms a link between modern and traditional understanding of acupuncture. Although Oral Acupuncture is a reflexology, manifesting as a holographic projection of the body, it is an approach to a scientific, i.e., cybernetical interpretation of traditional Chinese knowledge.

Originally published in German

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