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  • Writer's pictureKen Haydock

The Magic of Motor Point Acupuncture


Man lying face-down receiving motor point acupuncture

Motor point acupuncture is a highly efficient technique that targets specific areas within muscles to restore their normal function. This approach is particularly effective in addressing issues such as muscle spasms, aiding recovery of muscle function post-paralysis, and activating inhibited muscles. 


The fundamental principle behind motor point acupuncture is the application of electrical stimuli directly to the most responsive areas within muscle tissue, known as motor points. These points serve a dual purpose, being instrumental in both diagnostic procedures and therapeutic interventions.


At Bowen Hills Acupuncture and Remedial Therapies, we deliver motor point acupuncture sessions in Brisbane for patients that can help provide pain relief, restore regular muscle function, and perform other benefits. 


If you’re interested in learning more about motor point acupuncture and how it can be used in a treatment plan for yourself, please book an appointment


Understanding Motor Points

Motor points are identified as either the location where the motor nerve enters the muscle (also known as motor entry points) or the site within the muscle where the motor nerve connects to the motor end plate (or, the intramuscular motor point). 


Some sources define the motor point as the point on the skin above the motor entry point, usually detected through a surface electrode device (cutaneous motor entry point). Cutaneous motor point locations are more useful for the application of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and less suitable for the practice of motor point acupuncture. 


Precise identification and stimulation of motor points by a trained practitioner like the ones at Bowen Hills Acupuncture and Remedial Therapies can have a significant impact on the motor functions of the neuromuscular system. This involves stimulating motor neurons, which in turn influences muscle activity.


Brisbane motor point acupuncture clinic


Differentiating Motor Points and Trigger Points

It’s important that motor points are not confused with trigger points. Although they share similarities in practice, they represent different concepts:


  • Motor points are anatomical features of the neuromuscular system,

  • Trigger points are pathological formations that often develop in muscles in response to stress or overuse


Interestingly, trigger points frequently occur at the motor entry points or the intramuscular motor points.


The Importance of Motor Points in Electro-Acupuncture

Identifying a motor point is crucial for maximising the effectiveness of electro-acupuncture treatments. According to research, the motor nerve is usually broader in diameter at the motor point and contains a higher concentration of motor and sensory fibres, and therefore offers the best conductivity. 


Variability of Motor Points

Though researchers have mapped out the locations of many motor points, the research shows that the exact locations can vary among individuals, and a single muscle may have multiple motor points. This variability underscores the importance of a practitioner’s experience and skill in pinpointing the optimal motor point for electrostimulation. 


The Muscle Twitch Response

A notable phenomenon in motor point and trigger point acupuncture is the muscle twitch response, often observed when an acupuncture needle is inserted into a muscle. This is commonly referred to in the acupuncture and dry needling literature as a local twitch response (LTR). A twitch response by the muscle may be seen and felt by both the practitioner and the patient.


While the exact mechanism of the LTR is not fully understood, it is believed to be a reflexive response from the muscle or a neurological response which can release tension and reset the muscle. The local twitch response is considered to be beneficial for treatment outcomes and is a positive indicator of correct needle placement for effective electrostimulation.


Overlap with Traditional Acupuncture Points

An interesting aspect of motor points is their frequent overlap with traditional acupuncture points. This intersection possibly suggests a deeper historical understanding of muscle function and its influence on overall health in ancient acupuncture practices.


Electro-Acupuncture and Neuromuscular Therapy

Electro-acupuncture, when applied at motor points, is particularly efficient in neuromuscular therapy. It directly influences the motor neurons, leading to improved muscle function and potential relief from various neuromuscular issues. This form of acupuncture is increasingly recognised for its therapeutic benefits, combining traditional needle techniques with modern electrical stimulation.


Research and Continuing Development

The field of motor point acupuncture is continually evolving, with ongoing research aimed at better understanding the intricate relationships between motor points, nerve pathways, and muscle function. As new techniques and insights emerge, the practice becomes increasingly refined, offering more precise and effective treatments for a range of muscular and neurological conditions.


Contact Bowen Hills Acupuncture 

Motor Point Acupuncture represents a significant advancement in acupuncture and neuromuscular therapy. Its focus on accurately identifying and stimulating motor points enables practitioners to effectively treat a variety of muscle-related issues, enhancing both the scope and efficacy of acupuncture treatments. As research continues to uncover the complexities of the neuromuscular system, the potential applications and benefits of motor point acupuncture are likely to expand, further cementing its role in modern therapeutic practices.


To learn more about whether acupuncture is suitable for you, or to book an appointment in our Brisbane acupuncture clinic, send us a message via our Facebook page or contact our office on 0434 411 654 to discuss how it can fit into your treatment plan.

You can also book your appointment on our online bookings page.

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