Acupuncture- The Great Pain Reliever

 

Acupuncture-The Great Pain Reliever

Chronic pain in the muscles and joints can make life miserable. Standard treatments like ice and heat, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and appropriate exercises can often ease the pain. But when they don’t, acupuncture is an excellent option for treating pain with a great track record that is worth considering.

Over the years there has been substantial debate about whether acupuncture really works for pain. Research from an international team of experts adds to the evidence that it does provide real relief from common forms of pain. The team pooled the results of 29 studies involving nearly 18,000 participants. Some had acupuncture, some had “sham” acupuncture, and some didn’t have acupuncture at all. Overall, acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%. The results were published in Archives of Internal Medicine.1 The study isn’t the last word on the issue, but it is one of the best quality studies to date and has made an impression on the medical community.

Acupuncture has been a go-to treatment for pain relief around the world for centuries. But how does it work from a western medical perspective? Multiple studies on acupuncture and pain clearly indicate the following physiologic responses:

Release of opioid peptides.Opioids are naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that have an analgesic effect. The release of these opioids plays a significant role in the reduction of pain. There has been considerable evidence to support that acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system, releasing these chemicals.

Alteration in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones.
Acupuncture is said to activate the hypothalamus and pituitary gland and thereby alter secretion of these chemicals. These particular chemicals play a direct role in the sensation of pain as well as the activity of an organ or organs. Evidence has shown that acupuncture alters this secretion in a manner that reduces pain. Documentation has also shown that acupuncture positively affects immune functions in the body.

Stimulation of points on the body.
The 2,000+ points of the body that acupuncture focuses on are theorized to be strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. Stimulation of these areas releases endorphins—the body’s natural painkillers.

Stem cell signaling.
Acupuncture stimulates a release of stem cells to the parts of the body crying out for help. In the case of back pain, acupuncture helps release stem cells to attend to areas of pain and atrophy to stimulate regeneration at the damaged site.

As you can see, acupuncture stimulates a complex network of healing responses. Whether for back pain, ankle sprain or migraines , acupuncture treats not only the pain component, it also signals to the body’s reserves to initiate the regenerative healing process. As compared to medications which mask the pain, acupuncture outperforms pharmaceuticals by treating the underlying cause of discomfort in addition to the symptomatic pain.

Pain in all its forms can impact sleep, energy levels, mental health and the ability to recover from illness. By alleviating pain and stimulating the body to heal itself, the rest of your being benefits by having better sleep, more energy and greater mobility. So, come in and see for yourself how we can help you resolve your pain and improve your quality of life!

Call us at 503-287-4970 to make an appointment.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1357513

Becoming Fully Integrated

By Dr. Andy Swanson
Nature Cures Clinic Physician
Every day I go to work, I see patients suffering from health conditions.  My work is to stay intently focused on their story, their symptoms, what my stethoscope and palpation is telling me on physical exams.  The clearer my mind, the more thorough my evaluation, the easier it is to fully understand the crux of the matter at hand.  In my practice this means getting the right diagnosis and treatment in order that the patient’s health improves as soon as possible.  This kind of clarity involves homework, and not always of the academic kind.  I spend much of my free time exploring my own obstacles, to bring resolve to those things in my life that cause conflict, in order that I can become less and less distracted and thus more and more available to my patients.  When I enter the room with a patient, I often go through a visual practice of emptying my mind, leaving all that is a conscious distraction outside the room so that I can be one hundred percent available to the patient.
This is a tool that I believe we can all benefit from in many aspects of our life.  It is about becoming fully integrated in the moment, wherever you are, focused completely on what you are doing.  Could you imagine trying to hit a baseball moving 95 mph with one eye looking in the other direction?  Or trying to hit a golf ball straight without keeping your eye on the ball?  It strikes me that the number one thing any of us could do in our personal and professional lives is to become fully invested in what we are doing.  What could be more fulfilling?  Conversely, when we become distracted, or when we feel conflicted, we lose our focus and this creates disharmony.
By staying with the heart of the matter, keeping both eyes on the ball, we are better able to fully feel and experience whatever we are doing.  In this way, we also keep a hand on the pulse of our life, getting immediate feedback from the body about situations in which we are involved.  Becoming familiar with this feedback system allows one to refine the choices they make on a daily basis.  For example, people often complain of awaking at three or four in the morning due to a restless mind.  People want a pill to get them back to sleep.  Do you see the metaphor here?  People are less inclined to ask the question, “What is my body telling me?”  By taking a medication that hides the discomfort they essentially sleep their way through conflict.
As a naturopathic physician, I share a philosophy with my fellow colleagues; one which believes in the innate intelligence of the human body.  It is a truly remarkable feat to maintain homeostasis to the degree that the human body does most of the time.  Health is a daily gift that many of us take for granted.  In the above example, one has a restless mind that keeps them awake at night, and wants a pill to go back to sleep.  Clinically, I see the intelligence of the human body activated, providing energy to fuel one’s need to make change, to find a solution to conflict.  Insomnia rarely presents without context, and sleeping pills ignore the messenger.
What changes is life calling you to make?  Where is your deepest source of happiness?  Your deepest frustration?  What keeps you awake at night?  I’m not suggesting that making change is easy, but I do believe that our lives become enriched the more that we focus on what we are doing in the moment.  That means that any personal grievance, conflict, or dissatisfaction that is hanging over us gets in the way of hitting the home run, or keeping your eyes on the ball.  These issues never completely resolve, but the more distractions we remove the more we become invested in our present action.  This enables us to call on more resources for power, stamina, and vision.

Every day I go to work, I see patients suffering from health conditions.  My work is to stay intently focused on their story, their symptoms, what my stethoscope and palpation is telling me on physical exams.

The clearer my mind, the more thorough my evaluation, the easier it is to fully understand the crux of the matter at hand.  In my practice this means getting the right diagnosis and treatment in order that the patient’s health improves as soon as possible.

This kind of clarity involves homework, and not always of the academic kind.  I spend much of my free time exploring my own obstacles, to bring resolve to those things in my life that cause conflict, in order that I can become less and less distracted and thus more and more available to my patients.  When I enter the room with a patient, I often go through a visual practice of emptying my mind, leaving all that is a conscious distraction outside the room so that I can be one hundred percent available to the patient.

This is a tool that I believe we can all benefit from in many aspects of our life.  It is about becoming fully integrated in the moment, wherever you are, focused completely on what you are doing.

Could you imagine trying to hit a baseball moving 95 mph with one eye looking in the other direction?  Or trying to hit a golf ball straight without keeping your eye on the ball?  It strikes me that the number one thing any of us could do in our personal and professional lives is to become fully invested in what we are doing.  What could be more fulfilling?  Conversely, when we become distracted, or when we feel conflicted, we lose our focus and this creates disharmony.

By staying with the heart of the matter, keeping both eyes on the ball, we are better able to fully feel and experience whatever we are doing.  In this way, we also keep a hand on the pulse of our life, getting immediate feedback from the body about situations in which we are involved.  Becoming familiar with this feedback system allows one to refine the choices they make on a daily basis.  For example, people often complain of awaking at three or four in the morning due to a restless mind.  People want a pill to get them back to sleep.  Do you see the metaphor here?  People are less inclined to ask the question, “What is my body telling me?”  By taking a medication that hides the discomfort they essentially sleep their way through conflict.

As a naturopathic physician, I share a philosophy with my fellow colleagues; one which believes in the innate intelligence of the human body.  It is a truly remarkable feat to maintain homeostasis to the degree that the human body does most of the time.  Health is a daily gift that many of us take for granted.  In the above example, one has a restless mind that keeps them awake at night, and wants a pill to go back to sleep.  Clinically, I see the intelligence of the human body activated, providing energy to fuel one’s need to make change, to find a solution to conflict.  Insomnia rarely presents without context, and sleeping pills ignore the messenger.

What changes is life calling you to make?  Where is your deepest source of happiness?  Your deepest frustration?  What keeps you awake at night?  I’m not suggesting that making change is easy, but I do believe that our lives become enriched the more that we focus on what we are doing in the moment.  That means that any personal grievance, conflict, or dissatisfaction that is hanging over us gets in the way of hitting the home run, or keeping your eyes on the ball.  These issues never completely resolve, but the more distractions we remove the more we become invested in our present action.  This enables us to call on more resources for power, stamina, and vision.