If you have a chronic health problem, whether it’s pain or a digestive issue, you’ve most likely made the rounds from your primary care M.D., specialist physician and physical therapist. You might have tried supplements or stretches. Somewhere along the way a friend suggested acupuncture.
As is often the case, acupuncture may be a modality you’re considering, although you don’t have enough information about how it works for your condition. This is a common scenario. When you seek out that information, keep in mind that an acupuncturist is the best candidate to answer the question of how your condition is likely to respond to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). (TCM includes not only acupuncture, but also related physical modalities such as cupping and Chinese herbalism, a comprehensive internal medicine system).
More often than not, the answer is yes, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by receiving acupuncture treatment. The fact is that many people are suffering unnecessarily from pain conditions that could be relieved substantially and in some cases eliminated with acupuncture treatments.
It’s not unusual for people to assume that their discomfort is due to aging, heredity or the permanent effects of a previous injury. Although it’s always better to treat injuries sooner rather than later, if you haven’t explored acupuncture you haven’t explored your healing potential. Here are several reasons acupuncture can help with pain or other disorders that haven’t responded to other treatment:
▪Acupuncture can soften scar tissue and increase blood flow to an old injury: If you had surgery at an injured site, you may have received no other treatment in your recovery other than a few sessions of physical therapy. Most likely, this therapy involved strengthening surrounding muscles rather than working with scar tissue. Acupuncture has the ability to make scar tissue more pliable, flexible and responsive to surrounding circulation. This, in turn, relieves pain.
▪Aging goes better with acupuncture. People often associate their aches and pains with the aging process. It’s true that many of these feelings didn’t exist at age 25. But whether your discomfort is due to overuse, postural issues, disc problems or previous injury, all of these issues are workable situations with acupuncture. In fact, you may have never received therapeutic treatment for these issues. Aside from increasing blood flow, acupuncture can actually help heal injured tissue such as frayed tendons and strained muscles.
▪If your pain is being “controlled” by medications, it’s possible to reduce pain even more while reducing medications as well. In Chinese medicine terms, pain-relieving medications often create dryness in the body. Constipation or slower bowels is a prime example of this. With acupuncture, contracted muscles can be released, which allows more nutrients to reach tissue and enhance the healing response. This not only relieves pain, but also increases range of motion.
Most licensed acupuncturists offer brief free consultations to allow you to discuss your concerns. Like physical therapy, weight loss or fitness conditioning, changing any physical state in the body takes time.
Your journey with acupuncture may last only a couple of treatments. If it’s a complex, severe or long-term issue, count on more like a dozen treatments with maintenance follow-ups. Chinese medicine is also suitable for health maintenance and prevention; So a monthly visit to the acupuncturist may save you a great deal of discomfort in the long term. You may find that along with pain relief, you’re also experiencing better moods, better sleep, better digestion and less medications. Your health and longevity are well worth the effort of trying another modality.