Often, chronic pain is an illness in its own right, due to a fault or malfunction in the body’s pain system.
TCM defines pain as an imbalance between Qi (energy) and Blood. This can be due to a deficiency of Qi, or Blood, or it can happen when Qi and Blood become stuck in a specific place.
Whenever the free flow of Qi and Blood is obstructed, according to TCM, the organs begin to function improperly and, thus, pain develops.
It is significant to note that TCM is intended to not only treat the pain itself, but also the full range of ailments associated with that pain
Acupuncture is the use of acupuncture after a proper medical diagnosis. It is based on scientific evidence that shows the treatment can stimulate nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue.
This results in the body producing pain-relieving substances, such as endorphins. It is likely these substances are responsible for any beneficial effects seen with this form of acupuncture.
Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or “life force”, flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced “chee“).
Practitioners who adhere to traditional beliefs about acupuncture believe that when Qi does not flow freely through the body, this can cause illness. They also believe acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.
The most common TCM treatment of pain is a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicines. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting very thin needles into the skin for the purpose of stimulating specific points in the body. This therapy is intended to balance the movement of energy in the body, and is often accompanied by local massage and the use of moxibustion – a burning stick of dried herbs that applies heat to a specific area, much like a heating pad or hot water bottle.