There is one thing that almost everyone has experienced at least once in their life. No. I am not talking about taxes. I am talking about pain. Whether it was chronic pain or acute pain, chances are you have experienced at least one. 

Alternative medicine for pain relief

Once you have pain, how do you get rid of it? Western medicine offers many pain-relieving medications. But perhaps you want to know about the options found in Complementary or Alternative medical systems. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – and specifically acupuncture – is one such alternative medicine for helping alleviate pain.

How does acupuncture for pain work? 

There are two kinds of body pains

Chronic pain 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chronic pain is often related to cold damp congestion, or hot damp congestion. Essentially, these are the Chinese Medicine diagnoses for the stiff, heavy aching feeling you have when it is cold and damp outside, and for arthritis-type pain. Western medical diseases that fall into this category are neuropathy, fibromyalgia, arthritis/ Rheumatoid Arthritis, and certain autoimmune diseases.  If your low back pain has lasted for longer than 12 weeks then it is considered to be chronic pain.

Acute pain

TCM relates acute pain to congested blood and qi which can lead to muscle spasms, knots, tension, and other types of pain. This is most commonly seen in injuries due to excessive use, accidents, or sports injury type traumas.

If left untreated, acute pain can sometimes turn into chronic pain

That is the reason why the ankle that you sprained multiple times as a child can feel tight or stiff and probably crack more than it used to, especially during certain times of year. 

How does TCM help you to manage your aches or discomfort?

TCM has many different modalities that can be used to treat both chronic and acute pain. Some of the tools of our trade include: Cupping, moxibustion, gua sha, Tui Na (Chinese Medical Massage), liniments and ointments, herbal formulas, and the use of acupuncture. Here’s how these tools work.

  • Cupping – Uses suction to release adhesions deep within the muscle and fascial tissues. It is commonly used as a fascial release. It feels like a deep massage.
  • Moxibustion – A technique for bringing warmth into a specific point or area of the body to nourish and decrease pain in the affected area. Great for chronic conditions.
  • Gua Sha – A scraping technique similar in its effects to cupping. Gua Sha affects the superficial muscle layers.
  • Acupuncture – Can increase energy and fresh blood flow to the affected area. It can also decrease muscle spasms and speed up the recovery time for injuries.
  • Herbal Medicine – Can be taken internally or applied topically (as liniments or ointments) to help speed up recovery time and address underlying conditions that might be contributing to chronic pain. One example: Low back pain and knee pain are frequently associated with Kidney deficiency

Whether you are suffering from low back pain, autoimmune diseases, a recent sprained ankle, or neck pain – acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine might be able to help.

Teri Calandra

Teri began her studies in energy medicine as part of her own personal development journey, and continues to to learn and integrate that knowledge into her practice. Teri is the founding practitioner of Calandra Center for Health & Wellness in Schaumburg, Illinois. She is licensed by the State of Illinois in acupuncture (L.Ac.), and board certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).