body’s way of “getting our attention” so we can take corrective action. This is true of emotional and physical pain, whether chronic or acute.
Corrective action can range from reflexes (flinching, limping, crying), to semi-conscious decisions (adjust your posture, rub a sore muscle, change sleep pattern), to conscious decisions (stop what you are doing, take medication, ask for help).
Different medications have side effects. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the largest class of medications used for pain and headache and can cause idiosyncratic liver toxicity. NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, can cause serious upper gastrointestinal disorders. Acupuncture is a very safe method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and improve function that rarely causes serious side effects. Many people feel a brief stinging sensation, like a pinprick, during insertion of the needles. It is also common with the first one or two treatments to have a sensation of deep relaxation or even mild disorientation immediately following the treatment.
Acupuncture can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located. Some studies have shown the pain relief it provides can last for months.Medication can reduce pain and provide some relief but this only masks (or hides) the problem, it does not cure it and, as we saw in the ibuprofen example, can create new problems. Acupuncture treats pain without causing more problems. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before and after acupuncture treatment for pain shows dramatic decreases in activity in the pain centers of the brain - up to 70%.
Acupuncture treats the root (cause), while pain medication only treats the branch (symptom/manifestation)The pain reducing effects of acupuncture can last months because acupuncture hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area. It relieves the bruising, stiffness; puffiness and tenderness from the injury and can help in forming new bones in case of fractures. Acupuncture shortens the healing time of surgeries and sports injuries, putting you back on track faster.
Acupuncture helps correct the underlying cause for the pain. For PMS, acupuncture balances the hormones; for headaches, acupuncture releases stress and increases blood circulation to the head. Other chronic pain-causing conditions, like arthritis or stomach ulcers, involve chronic inflammation and can benefit form acupuncture as well. When the body function is restored to normal or “wellness” - there is no pain.
Wellness is an active commitment to live a balanced and fulfilled life. Acupuncture and TCM are powerful tools, by themselves or as a supportive treatment in conjunction with western medicine. At Point I coach both children and adults on how to create their own Place of Wellness. Most people focus on their immediate pain, failing to see the underlying issues. My main goal is to guide you through clear and simple steps that will improve your physical, mental and spiritual well being.
PMID: 7506183 (PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE)