How does acupuncture work to address pain?
From a scientific point of view there are many studies that show the efficacy of acupuncture for pain, as well as for other symptoms. New theories and observations are frequently coming to light, backing up acupuncture’s time-tested, 2,500-year-old reputation. For example, acupuncture has the ability to reduce inflammatory chemical messengers like TNF-α and increase levels of natural painkillers called endorphins.
Although it’s exciting to learn about the physiological reactions that acupuncture produces on a cellular level, as acupuncturists we find the traditional theories and diagnostics are what make acupuncture so effective.
The only course of treatment offered to many chronic pain patients is pain killers. In contrast, in Eastern Medicine theory the body is always trying to heal; we sometimes just need to give it a nudge in the right direction. All symptoms are considered closely by the acupuncturist in order to properly treat a condition, even something as simple as lower back pain. For some patients treating the syndrome may require supporting their immune system; for others, a pelvic imbalance; for still others, the issue might simply come down to too much stress!
A correct diagnosis and course of acupuncture treatment will often help immensely with the reduction of pain. At its best, acupuncture will help eradicate the root cause of the pain entirely—something painkillers sure can’t do.
Paolo Propato is a licensed acupuncturist, certified under the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He practices at Bridge Acupuncture, 30 Garden Alley, Doylestown. For more information, call 215-348-8058 or visit BridgeAcupuncture.com.