How Does Acupuncture Relieve Pain?

How does acupuncture relieve pain? Description of how acupuncture works to relieve pain by relieving pressure on nerves and improving blood circulation in the nervous system. When you put needles in certain...

When you put needles in certain places in the body, you will relieve the pressure oftentimes on a nerve such as a cranial nerve that affects the head. By relieving that pressure on a nerve, the muscles begin to relax, the blood begins to flow into an area, and pain is released partially through that mechanism and partially through the nervous system releasing endorphins and encephalins.

This is the analogy I use as far as how the nervous system if affected. If you have a pebble in your shoe, you would take out that pebble that is aggravating your nervous system. With acupuncture it's the same; you relieve the obstruction. And the same way, you can relieve the stimulus to the nervous system by using needles to relieve that compression on a nerve, or sometimes a nerve that is being pinched.

Here's another analogy. If you want a plant to be healthy you have to water it. If there's a kink in the hose, you have to open that up so that the water flows properly. It's the same way we talked about the proper flow of energy and blood, and blood is a much more understandable concept to the average American. So think of it as opening up that pathway so that the blood circulates properly. You need to have good blood circulation if you're going to be healthy. So there are two primary mechanisms helping the circulatory system and the nervous system that you use with acupuncture.

You can also use what's called Tui Na in Chinese medicine, or Shiatsu in Japanese. These are forms of oriental bodywork. So you can do what to the average person might look like massage, but it's not massage - it's different. There's no precise way of defining these terms, but I like to use the term bodywork. You use you hands to manually relieve pressure in certain muscles or along certain nerves and then the body begins to relax and the blood flows correctly.

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