Reducing chronic pain with acupuncture: what all over 60 sufferers need to know

How can acupuncture help?

Whatever your ills, western medicine seems to have a prescription drug to ‘fix’ it, but do they really get to the root of the problem? Unfortunately the reality is, every individual presents with their own set of symptoms whether they complain of headaches, low energy or mental illness for example, no one treatment fits all.

Chronic pain sufferers, for instance, may experience any multitude of ailments such as sleep disturbance, poor concentration, depression, anxiety, digestive issues, constipation, difficulty losing weight, dry skin, rashes, or sinus congestion, to name a few. The challenge is to put the pieces of the puzzle together to get a whole health picture and resolution of symptoms rather than mask them with medications that just put a lid on the fire.

Comparing the patterns of pain in the body with the ancient acupuncture channels can unearth undiagnosed health disturbance within. It’s not uncommon to have symptoms concurrently in multiple areas that have a deeper connection, and understanding these connections can provide clues to why pain or illness has not resolved. Do the symptoms follow a particular pattern or are they global suggesting a whole body disease or an inflammatory process?

The oriental medicine practitioner connects patterns of symptoms throughout the whole body that direct them to disturbance in the flow of energy along the acupuncture meridians (channels), the body’s biorhythm or body clock, and their yin/yang balance.

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We are a biomechanical factory at a cellular level with positive and negative ions constantly on the move. If they weren’t we’d be dead!

Energy flows throughout the body and from cell to cell along lines of least resistance called meridians. Some follow blood vessels or nerves as they traverse the body.

When injury or illness exists, the normal flow of energy becomes sluggish or stagnates, bodily fluids don’t flow to areas that desperately need it for repair. When we place a metallic acupuncture needle along strategic points on the acupuncture meridians it’s like turning on the electrical circuits and energy starts to flow again. Tissues receive the essential nutrients for repair (assuming a healthy diet), and recovery time can be significantly reduced.

In a nut shell, acupuncture sets up an environment where the body can heal itself. It restores balance.

A skilled acupuncturist can identify the telltale signs on the body that give the clues to underlying imbalance. The pulses are compared at the wrist in six positions from left to right reflecting yin and yang balance in the meridians. Patterns of tension or weakness along the meridians in the arms and legs or on the abdomen provide clues. Skin colour and texture may change, or the quality of the voice may be affected.

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It never fails to amaze how these patterns found on the body correlate so well to internal disease or injury.

The gall bladder channel, for instance, is the yang partner of the liver. Symptoms anywhere along the gall bladder meridian that runs down the side of the body from head to foot can reflect disturbance or weakness in its yin partner, the liver. A headache in the temple can relate to a right sided low back ache or leg pain, both being in the gall bladder channel, but in turn, be can be fired up by disturbance in the liver.

Constipation may coincide with painful knots in the forearm along the large intestine channel and mimic a tennis elbow. The master point of the large intestine channel in the web space between thumb and index finger is often tender and can be massaged to ease pain from the forearm to the head or help move the bowel.

The body has the ability to throw out clues to disturbance within but at the same time, have the ability to repair and heal given the opportunity.

An acupuncture treatment should be painless and very relaxing. The healing effect of the needles often induces restorative sleep. Home self-massage of the acupuncture channels and points can support the effects between treatments, invigorate energy, release stress, improve sleep and promote healing. You are never too old to benefit.

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What can acupuncture effectively treat?

The possibilities are endless. The ancients successfully treated many ailments before the intervention of pharmaceutical drugs but here are some conditions I treat on a regular basis:

  • Headache
  • Chronic pain or arthritis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Low energy
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Asthma or shortness of breath
  • Sinus congestion
  • Digestive issues
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia


Have you tried acupuncture? What results did you see? What did you use it for? Tell us below.