Acupuncture treatments help with chronic pain & so much more

Here in Indiana, where acupuncture generally is considered to be one step away from voodoo, I often get the question:
“Hey, what is acupuncture good for? ”

The simple answer is that it is good for everything.  The slightly more in depth answer is that by ‘everything,’ I mean ‘everything that is not an emergency.’  When I started out in private practice, I often got calls from people wanting to know “can you treat ______?”  Invariably, I would answer yes, and even when what filled in the blank was something I had never treated before or even something I had never heard of before, more often than not, the individual would get better.  Why?  Two main reasons-

Western “Diagnoses” are Mostly a Description of Symptoms

Like Chinese herbs, acupuncture does not treat based off of a symptom or off of a Western disease diagnosis.   Acupuncture treats based off of a system of differential diagnosis that has been time tested for thousands of years.  So when a new disease state seems to come out of nowhere that Western medicine has no answer for, (such as Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) an acupuncturist can ask a handful of basic questions, look at the body and coat of the tongue and take pulses at a handful of different locations and depths and have an energetic layout of the person standing before them.  The amount of energy and energy flow in an individual is described by similar means whether or not it is the newest condition out there, one of the oldest in the book.  Acupuncture treats the individual by treating the energetic pattern of the individual.

While most of us perceive Life on Earth as a long and winding road full of many decisions and twists and turns and up’s and down’s, ultimately in walking the Path, there are really only 2 directions- towards the Light or towards the Darkness.  These are both energetic qualities as well as descriptions of righteousness and selfishness.  Think of the multiple connotations of the word positive and negative.  They can describe anything from an attitude to a magnetic pull or any energetic force for that matter.  Just as emotions are the energetic elements that drive our physical reality so are Lightness and Darkness the prime forces that determine our spiritual will.

Walking towards the light means living a life of service, in every given moment doing what is best for everyone in the situation.  This is not giving or sacrificing to one’s own detriment, it is merely recognizing your individuality as a small part of a greater whole and serving the collective rather than the individual within the collective.  This is lightness in the sense of divine light.  It is also lightness in the sense of lucidity and levity; living with spiritual knowledge.  Gnosis.  Synergy is a collective dynamic state that acts as a generator, free flowing and cultivating the natural energy.

When people ask how does acupuncture works it is a difficult question to answer.  Because it is functioning both with a tangible physical mechanism (think Newtonian physics) as well as with an inexplicable energetic dynamic (think Quantum physics) it currently cannot be completely explained from top to bottom from a Western perspective and to explain it from an Eastern perspective either sounds like some ancient poem written in a riddle that takes years of medical school and clinical experience to even find the beginning clue of.  Suffice it to say that it does work.  It has been getting people better in China for thousands of years.  Since before the days when there were even needles when they used something called a bian stone to prick the point.


Evidence shows that acupuncture works as well. Critics say that it does not because for years researchers were putting together faulty studies based on the model of clinical pharmaceutical trials. This is the world of randomized controlled double-blinded trials. These trials were constructed for a completely different model of medicine, one with pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics and “active ingredients.” In real living life though, everything is not easily categorized into “active” or “inactive” and there is no such thing as double blinded acupuncture trials because in order to double-blind a trial neither the practitioner nor the patient can know what exactly going on and the act of one individual sticking needles in another throws that whole model of testing that was based on colored sugar and “non-sugar” pills right out the window. The Proof is in the Pudding Again, acupuncture and Chinese herbs do not treat based off of Western disease diagnoses, but in the Western world it is understandable that these are the benchmarks that we are measured by. And so without further ado…

At the end of the day, acupuncture just plain works.

Diseases and Disorders That Can be Treated with Acupuncture

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the following is a list of diseases and/or disorders (a.k.a. energetic imbalances) for which acupuncture therapy has been tested in controlled clinical trials (reported in the recent literature) and shown to be effective:

  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
  • Alcohol dependence and detoxification
  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Biliary colic
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Cancer pain
  • Cardiac neurosis
  • Chloasma
  • Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
  • Cholelithiasis
  • Choroidopathy, central serous
  • Colour blindness
  • Competition stress syndrome
  • Craniocerebral injury, closed
  • Deafness
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary
  • Earache
  • Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
  • Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Facial spasm
  • Female infertility
  • Female urethral syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
  • Gastrokinetic disturbance
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Headache
  • Hepatitis B virus carrier status
  • Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
  • Hyperlipaemia
  • Hypertension, essential
  • Hypo-ovarianism
  • Hypophrenia
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Induction of labour
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable colon syndrome
  • Knee pain
  • Labour pain
  • Lactation, deficiency
  • Leukopenia
  • Low back pain
  • Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
  • Malposition of fetus, correction of
  • Ménière disease
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Neuralgia, post-herpetic
  • Neurodermatitis
  • Neuropathic bladder in spinal cord injury
  • Obesity
  • Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain due to endoscopic examination
  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
  • Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)
  • Postextubation in children
  • Postoperative convalescence
  • Postoperative pain
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Prostatitis, chronic
  • Pruritus
  • Pulmonary heart disease, chronic
  • Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
  • Raynaud syndrome, primary
  • Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Renal colic
  • Retention of urine, traumatic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sciatica
  • Sialism, drug-induced
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Small airway obstruction
  • Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
  • Spine pain, acute
  • Sprain
  • Stiff neck
  • Stroke
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tietze syndrome
  • Tobacco dependence
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis, chronic
  • Urolithiasis
  • Vascular dementia
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Keep in mind, East Asian medicine can and does treat any variety of imbalances in the body. The above list is simply the description or presentation of imbalances (as described by the Western medicine paradigm) that have recorded clinical research supporting relief or symptom resolution following acupuncture treatments. Also keep in mind that the potency of acupuncture treatments greatly increases when combined with Chinese herbs and other modalities of the medicine. These combinations of therapies are rarely studied due to the amount of variables involved. If you are dealing with a condition listed or not listed above and wondering if acupuncture might be a benefit to you, please contact via email or phone for a free consult.

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