How does Acupuncture relieve pain?

It’s starting to get warmer. The urge to get outside at every opportunity grows and grows. Bike rides, running, gardening, all great ways to get outdoors and move! But. Something is stopping you. Your old bum knee is acting up, or you can’t bend over to garden like you used to, or your asthma and allergies prevent you from running because it interferes with your breathing.

Have no fear, acupuncture is here!

We know that acupuncture has many benefits; acupuncture decreases inflammation, increases circulation, increases blood flow to the muscles, helps the body to release its own natural opioid pain relievers and stimulate the release of endorphins, to name a few.

Your body, like your car, needs a tune up every now and again. Instead of just running the motor into the ground, why don’t you lube up those joints and make sure this model keeps running smooth for a long time.

Countless research all suggest the same thing- acupuncture has many effects on the functioning of the body, but it is particularly good at relieving pain.

Acupuncture helps to decrease the body’s perception of pain and modulate the nervous system response. Does it ever seem like your pain gets worse day after day? It is, this is how your body tries to correct pain or dysfunction, albeit unsuccessfully. This phenomenon is called a positive feedback loop.

The positive feedback loop is a system your body uses to alert the brain to address pain or dysfunction by increasing the stimulus. After the body has ‘patched the pothole’ the feedback loop ceases. If the body is unable to fix the pain on its own, this continual increasing of the pain signal can become very intense and can create almost a ‘shortage’ in the nervous system; heightening the bodies response to emergency level.

When we are in pain our sympathetic nervous system, the system in charge of keeping us alive while running away from a bear (think increased respiration, pupil dilation) is working overtime. Studies show that acupuncture is effective at helping the body to self regulate and effectively switch from running in emergency mode (sympathetic nervous system) to ‘energy saving mode’ (parasympathtic nervous system). Helping the body to get over this ‘speed bump’ increases its innate ability to heal naturally.

For most people, regular acupuncture treatments can reduce chronic pain dramatically. Like any kind of medical intervention, 100% success is never guaranteed, but it is important to note that acupuncture success rates reported in studies are usually at or above 50% which is considered very high for any study.

If you’re curious how acupuncture can help you, contact us at! We’re happy to answer any questions.