Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine and Pain Relief for Seniors

Acupuncture is the most popular component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) because of it's rise to popularity and acceptance in the last 20 to 30 years. It is, however, only one aspect of TCM. Herbal medicine, massage, exercise, diet and lifestyle changes and meditation play equal roles in Chinese medicine's approach to total wellness. There are potential benefits here for senior wellness especially in the are of pain relief.

Chinese medicine has a successful history of thousands of years compared to 'modern' or scientific medicine which is less than two hundred years old. While TCM practices and philosophy have changed little throughout it's history, modern medicine's "facts" evolve and often become obsolete or totally inaccurate within a generation or less.

There is a glaring difference between modern western medicine and all the ancient oriental medicines from Japan, China and India. Eastern medicines are based on beliefs that all things are interconnected with each other and the universe. The mind, body, and universal energy are indelibly connected. The mind is connected to every part of the body and they both have their being through universal energy. No illness or pain can be treated simply in the physical. Whether acupuncture or some other method is used, the practitioner considers the ailment from all aspects of the patients being; body, mind, spirit and energy or qi (chi).

Western medicine, on the other hand, generally treats each pain or illness as an isolated entity to be dealt with on a physical level with medication or surgery. Eliminating the problem has priority over total wellness of the individual. Thus the side effects of the treatment, whether it is surgery or pharmaceuticals , is downplayed if the symptoms are removed.

There seems to be, however, a growing trend toward treating the whole person as the popularity of alternative medicine increases. This attitude is a plus for total senior wellness.

Pain Relief With Acupuncture

Senior wellness for most older people means pain management in the bones and joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis and chronic back pain are common afflictions of the elderly. Acupuncture has been proven effective in pain relief for all of these conditions.

How it works

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the emphasis is on Qi (chi) or energy flow, often referred to as Vital Energy. When the body experiences pain it is an indication of interruption or blockage of energy flow. When there is no blockage, there is no pain. The body is made up of meridians each having dozens of acupoints, or points where the needles are inserted. Each meridian relates to specific organs or parts of the body. The practitioner determines which meridians and acupoints to concentrate on.

The treatment consist of having tiny needles placed along arms, legs, shoulders, toes, ears or any part of the body. There is little discomfort as the needles are very tiny; small enough to fit inside a hypodermic needle. Many people become completely relaxed and fall asleep during treatment. The number of needles and the number of treatments will vary according to the condition.

If you are considering acupuncture looking for pain relief you don't have to be concerned about side effects as there are none.

  • Arthritis...For thousands of people with arthritis pain, this treatment has been very successful. Although some patients acknowledge little benefit, the majority seem to receive some relief. Apparently more is better. While pain may be reduced after a session or two, five or six weekly sessions seems to acclimate the body to a no pain condition which can eventually be maintained by monthly sessions.
  • Fibromyalgia...In a controlled study by the Mayo Clinic, fibromyalgia patients receiving the treatment reported significant improvement especially in the symptoms of fatigue and anxiety. It is most effective when used in connection with exercise, massage therapy, meditation, diet and cognitive behavior therapy. Because the causes of fibromyalgia are varied and vague, the treatment will rarely be the same from patient to patient. This is why a good practitioner is important in determining the energy blockage.
  • Osteoporosis...Although this treatment has been found effective for osteoporosis it seems to take several treatments for noticeable relief. An interesting point about Traditional Chinese Medicine and osteoporosis is that it may be possible to actually improve bone density by using all the TCM methods like diet, herbal treatment, exercise, etc.
  • Chronic Back Pain...Back pain from causes other than osteoporosis can also be relieved considerably with this treatment. One study showed that acupuncture relieves chronic back pain better than standard practices such as medication and physical therapy. Tested against placebos in a Swedish study the treatment scored positive against all other treatments for chronic back pain in a variety of areas.

Nothing is more important than feeling good and chronic pain is something many older people think they have to live with. This simply is not the case. TCM, like many other alternative, non-prescription methods hold great promise for pain relief and total senior wellness. Give it a try. Here is a source for finding a

practitioner near you.

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