Acupuncture is very effective at treating both acute and chronic pain. Chinese theory explains pain as an obstruction in the smooth flow of energy and stagnation of blood in the affected tissues. Your body has pathways of energy, blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatic vessels that connect to all parts of your body. You can think of these channels like garden hoses. If a hose is open, water gets to the flowers and they thrive, but if the hose is kinked water backs up swelling the hose in one area and preventing the water from flowing out to the garden. Acupuncture helps increase the flow of the water (energy, nutrition, blood, etc) by accessing the areas of blockage.
After an acute injury such as a car accident or sports injury, you may experience sharp or stabbing pain, inflammation, bruising, muscle strain, torn ligaments, etc. Acupuncture can help speed healing after this kind of injury getting you back on your feet quicker.
Sometimes if the healing process does not complete properly, pain may become chronic. If you have chronic pain, your body may not be properly responding to pain signals which would normally stimulate a healing response. Often times this leads to constant dull achy pain and ongoing inflammation either locally, or systemically (as seen in many auto immune diseases). In either case, acupuncture can regulate healing, stimulate the body to respond properly, and stop pain.
Acupoints (which are areas on the body with decreased electrical resistance and abundant nerve supply) are treated to increase circulation to the injured area and regenerate damaged tissues. In other words, these acupuncture points are like gateways where we can stimulate the nervous system, and that tells the brain to wake up and send out help to repair the garden hose. In our analogy, your body is the garden and the flowers are your good health. The hose symbolizes the injured area or weakness. By making sure the hose can function properly, we ensure that your garden is receiving what it needs to thrive!
In more scientific terms, we know that acupuncture works via nerve stimulation to the brain which: releases endorphins, enkephalins, and other neurotransmitters that block pain; stimulates an immune response that increases white blood cell activity and reduces inflammation; and relaxes constricted muscle fibers to allow blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the injury.
In time, the body receives enough stimulation to resolve the injury completely. Depending on the extent and duration of the injury, a series of treatments may be needed to complete the process.
"Chinese Medicine Demystified (Part I): A Case of Mistaken Identity." Chris Kresser. N.p., 04 Mar. 2010. Web. 04 Sept. 2015. “Effects of acupuncture on immune response related to opioid-like peptides” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2015.
Joy Blais L.Ac. (503) 855-9429 15969 B Reese Rd Lake Oswego, OR 97035
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