Acupuncture – No Pain Equals Better Gain

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The biggest turnoff for people when they are considering acupuncture is the thought of needles and the possibility of pain. In actuality, pain should not be felt when acupuncture is performed correctly. The needles used for acupuncture are very thin and in most cases the recipient feels very little at all. I can remember back to my first time getting acupuncture and like many other people, I was quite worried about that first needle going in. My hands became sweaty, my heart raced, I held my breath and my body tensed up, I felt a quick tap as the needle went in and I awaited the pain I was expecting but what I felt was like no other needle sensation I had experienced before. Initially I didn’t feel anything at all other then a slight warmth, then the warmth began to spread like something had just been opened and allowed to circulate again. I could feel my muscles around the needle begin to relax. Once all of the needles were in it was my whole body that started to relax and I could feel my breathing slow, my sweating had stopped and I could feel that some changes were taking place. My first experience with acupuncture was for the treatment of a sprained ankle and amazingly after only one session I was able to start rehabilitation exercises and the swelling had almost completely subsided.

The sensation I described is what acupuncturists refer to as De-qi, or the arrival of qi. De-qi has been getting increasing attention from researchers and many efforts have been made to try to understand its mechanism. A recent article from researchers at Beijing University outlines the collection of sensations experienced with De-qi and propose some possibilities for the mechanism of what creates this phenomenon and the positive effects of acupuncture. One theory is that acupuncture stimulates a series of cascade reactions to ultimately restore the homeostasis inside the individual’s body by regulating the nerve-endocrine-immune network as a whole after De-qi is well achieved.
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Another recent study, also from China, explored the difference between pain and De-qi. The method was to see which areas of the brain were stimulated when pain was produced and when De-qi was elicited. It will come as no surprise to acupuncturists and those that have tried acupuncture that De-qi does in fact stimulate a different area in the subcortex than pain. The actions and functions of the areas stimulated by De-qi were not examined within this study. However, now that this key difference between pain and De-qi has been illustrated, there is call for further research into the exact mechanism of acupuncture's therapeutic effect.
[To read the full article click here]

Although acupuncture remains somewhat of a mystery from a research standpoint, there are thousands of years of empirical evidence to back it up and in speaking from my own personal experience I can say that without a doubt, it works!

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