Dr. Ralph Ballard MBBS, FAMAC
Dr. Ballard specialises in medical acupuncture treatment with Laser Acupuncture.
For many years he worked at the Medical Acupuncture Clinic at PANCH (Preston And Northcote Community Hospital) and later was the Consultant In Charge of the Medical Acupuncture Clinic at The Northern Hospital, Epping. Dr. Ballard has also been extensively involved with post-graduate acupuncture training for medical doctors through the Monash University Graduate Certificate in Medical Acupuncture and the Australian Medical Acupuncture College national training course.
Dr. Ballard has trained in a variety of treatment approaches including conventional Western medicine, acupuncture, nutritional medicine, homoeopathy, spinal manipulation, counselling, hypnotherapy, meditation, yoga, healing, reiki and qigong. He brings this range of experience to his consulting work, which now focusses on medical acupuncture.
Dr Ballard provides specific treatment with medical laser acupuncture. Please note that he does not prescribe medications or provide routine GP medical care.
A portion of the consultation fee is claimable through Medicare. Appointments are available on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and once a month on Sunday afternoons.
Medical Laser Acupuncture
Introduction to acupuncture
Acupuncture stimulates specific sensitive points on the body. It can be applied with needles, electrical stimulation, acupressure, or laser. Acupuncture can relieve symptoms for many conditions.
It works best where there is no major tissue damage or structural change, or where there is no aggressive physical disease damaging the body.
How Acupuncture Works
Scientific research has found there are specific nerve endings at acupuncture points (acupoints), and these nerves can be stimulated to send signals to the spinal cord and brain. These signals block transmission of pain impulses. Acupuncture also sends signals to stimulate the brain to produce certain chemicals (neuropeptides) for pain relief, to improve sleep and relieve depression, and to provide anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, immune-boosting and vitality-boosting effects. In addition acupuncture causes signals to travel from the brain down the spinal cord to muscles, to improve muscle function and reduce muscle spasm. This can help in chronic pain and in recovery from stroke or head injury. Acupuncture can stimulate the brain to rebalance the autonomic nervous system, which controls the function of organs, nerves and blood vessels. Acupuncture can also restore distorted pain perceptions in the brain back to normal (neuro-plasticity).
The view of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that illness is due to imbalance of flow of the body’s vital energy “Qi” (pronounced chee). This Qi imbalance occurs in the organs and through special channels of the body (the acupuncture meridians). Pain is due to a build-up of stagnant Qi behind a blockage or “log-jam” in the meridian. The acupoints are special responsive points on the meridian which can unblock or rebalance the flow of Qi energy in that channel.
Proper medical investigation and diagnosis should always be carried out before commencing acupuncture treatment.
Laser acupuncture was developed in the mid 1970’s at the University of Vienna. There has been a lot of scientific research since then to confirm that it works and is safe. The red light laser beam penetrates 1-2mm into the body tissues to stimulate special nerve endings at acupuncture points. These nerve endings then trigger off the acupuncture response in the spinal cord and brain. Scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of laser acupuncture, but further research is still needed on the details of exactly how laser acupuncture works.
Laser acupuncture has the same range of effectiveness as needle acupuncture, when used in skilled hands. Laser acupuncture is painless and is a very subtle yet effective stimulus to acupoints. Laser is preferable to needle acupuncture for children, sensitive people, and where needle acupuncture is too painful or aggravates the person. There is no risk of infection or of damaging organs with the laser – unlike needle acupuncture.
Recent research shows that red light laser also activates stem cells, stimulates tissue healing, and can change gene expression in a positive way.
Risks, Possible Side Effects and Contra-indications to Laser Acupuncture Scientific research has shown that the low power red light lasers (power range 1 to 10mW, wavelength 630 to 660nm, application time 1 to 60 seconds) typically used in acupuncture, do not cause any tissue damage, either in the short or long term. They do not cause burns and are safe for the body.
Much research to confirm the safety and effectiveness of these acupuncture lasers has been carried out at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute For Acupuncture at the University Of Vienna, and at other research centres around the world.
Laser acupuncture should NOT be applied:
- a.. Directly into the open eye
- b.. Over the belly of a pregnant woman
- c.. Over cancer tissue
- d.. Over open cavities in the skull
- e.. Directly over electronic implants, such as pacemakers
- f.. On the head in severe unstable epilepsy
For further information see the websites:
DR. RALPH BALLARD MBBS, FAMAC
Appointments are available Wedensday and Thursday afternoons.