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Acupuncture Magic – Why is it so good at treating pain?

Have you ever wondered why acupuncture is so effective?  Especially at treating pain?

If you have ever experienced long term chronic pain, you know how debilitating it can be, both emotionally and physically. It can take its toll on your day to day life, robbing joy from ordinary activities and impacting sleep. With all the media attention surrounding the opioid epidemic, multiple articles have touted the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese medicine for pain. There have been thousands of medical trials comparing opioid use to acupuncture and Chinese medicine always ranks as one of the most effective ways to relieve pain without the use of pharmaceuticals. Studies have shown acupuncture reduces pain by at least 50% compared to other interventions. Not only does acupuncture get to the source of the problem, it also helps to calm the parasympathetic nervous system and calm the mind to address the emotional aspect of the condition.

Acupuncture works by inserting hair thin needles into specific areas of the body to change the flow of qi or energy, encourage blood flow, reduce inflammation, and unblock stagnation below the surface.  It will ease pain by affecting neurotransmitters, hormone levels, and the immune system.  Needle insertion also triggers a change in brain physiology, this change will increase the release of endorphins and will lessen the sensation of pain the body experiences.

It’s also important to remember that acupuncture is cumulative and that the conditions being treated didn’t develop overnight. Consequently, weekly treatments are important for chronic pain conditions to see the greatest benefit.

We have been conditioned to think that the use of ice will alleviate pain. In Chinese medicine we believe ice is harmful unless used in the most acute situations within the first three hours.  The use of heat will encourage blood flow to the area, whereas cold will constrict, contract, and reduce the flow of blood.  Introduction of cold into the body creates an imbalance internally which leads to other problems in the long term.  

In my practice I have treated many patients for pain and regardless of where the injury is – acupuncture always helps.  I encourage the use of other modalities as well such as physical therapy if needed, dietary therapy, exercise, and herbal remedies.  Are you living with chronic pain and looking for support?  Make an appointment; see what acupuncture has to offer!  You will not only be surprised by the pain relief you experience, you also will experience the added benefits of relaxation, stress reduction, regulating digestion, better sleep, and uplifted mood!

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