Integrative Health Blog

How Acupuncture Helps With Pain

Posted by admin on Wed, May 08, 2013

The fundamental saying in Chinese Medicine is “Tong Zhi Bu Tong, Bu tong Zhi Tong” which roughly means, "Where there is blockage there is pain, where there is no blockage, there is no pain."

Blocked Meridians = Pain

Chinese Medicine bases the majority of its healing practices on the theory of meridians.  Meridians are like rivers that run through the body but instead of rivers full of water, they are rivers full of the vital substance known as Qi.   

Qi feeds our bodies, and keeps our organs, muscles, tendons, and bones functioning and healthy. Just like any other river, there can be blockages in the meridians leading to Qi obstruction.   We believe that this blockage and the subsequent lack of flow of Qi is what contributes to the presence of pain.

So why is it that the joints are specifically affected by these blockages in the meridians? 

According to Chinese medical philosophies, the joints are considered the “dense” areas of the body.  They are subject to a narrowing of sorts and as all the meridians are “squeezed” through the joints there can be an increased "bottleneck" type of situation.

We believe that not only does the flow of Qi become blocked in these “dense” areas but blood can also be blocked. Blockages in blood are a bit easier to observe, a bruise perhaps, or a lack of color in an extremity are all indications of a blockage in blood.  Tightness and soreness are indications of blockages in Qi. 

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Address the Root Cause of Pain

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine seeks to find the root cause of the blockages associated with the symptom of pain and renew the flow.  Using special points on the meridians we can return a free flow of Qi and Blood to reduce pain.  Acupuncture is a minimally invasive practice which has proven effective in many clinical trials but, of course, will have different results for each individual.

Most patients will feel some reduction in pain after the first acupuncture treatment.  More recent injuries and acute pain take a shorter time to heal depending on the severity of injury.  Patients with more severe or chronic pain often receive some relief after the first visit, but will require more regular treatments to completely alleviate the pain.  Generally, arthritis and other degenerative disc issues will often require ongoing treatments.


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Dr. Peter Jun Wu, LAc brings to his acupuncture practice nearly fifteen years of clinical and research experience in both Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Dr. Wu is a licensed acupuncturist in the District of Columbia, where he has established a reputation for insightful and effective patient care, treating many conditions including Hypertension, Pain alleviation, Smoking cessation, Allergies, Sinusitis, Fatigue, Immune System Deficiency, Menopause syndrome, Depression, Stress, Supportive Cancer Care, Detoxification for Chemical Dependency, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Constipation, Stomach Problems, and Dizziness (Vertigo).

Topics: acupuncture, pain