Acupuncture for Pain Management

Acupuncture is a complementary therapy that is increasingly used in the day-to-day management of pain. Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles at acupoints to un-block Qi or stagnated energy. This is to restore balance and Qi flow for the body to heal and thus reduce the pains.

In the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) system, the body is in a delicate balance of two opposing forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, female, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, male, or active principle. TCM works on the premise that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a ‘balanced state’ and that disease occurs when there is internal imbalance. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of Qi (vital energy) along the meridians.

There are up to 356 mapped acupoints on the body surface located along meridians or channels of energy flow. It is believed that there are 12 main meridians and 8 secondary meridians and that there are more than 2000 acupuncture points in the human body that connect with them.

From a western point of view, research has shown that during acupuncture, the brain sends signals and releases endorphins that reduces pain. This is a natural way to stimulate your own body to manage the pain without using medication.


The benefits of using acupuncture for pain management are:

-Natural, no medication

-Positive side effect of your body system balancing itself thus bring health in other areas

-Works on treating the  root cause of the pain, rather than just reducing symptoms


Acupuncture Techniques for Pain Management

Basic needling

Needles are inserted at different acupoints to a depth of 4–25 mm and left in place for a period of time (up to 20 minutes). The sensation is often described as a tingling or dull ache at the entry point. Many people say they feel very relaxed or sleepy, and some report increased energy levels afterwards.

Electro acupuncture (EA)

A tiny focused electric current is applied to the needle itself, and the current is felt. Just a slight sensation is enough to achieve results.


We employ both techniques at Elements TCM Clinic.


Examples of pains that can be effectively managed by acupuncture:

-Sciatica: Sciatic nerve is  very deep nerve, so physical manipulation takes a very long time. Acupuncture can stimulate effectively healing at that depth.

-Common desk bound ailments: stiff neck, carpal tunnel

-Sports injuries.

-Neck pain

-Back pain




-Tennis elbow




-Postoperative pain

The Science of Pulse Reading in TCM

In Chinese medicine pulse taking has been used as one of the most important diagnostic tools for over 2000 years and is considered one of the most valuable of all the devices to which a physician can resort. It provides a clear window into the pulsating waves of the body as the health of the organs can be felt in the different pulses.

The TCM physician uses three fingers to take the patient’s pulse at three positions on each wrist simultaneously, and will judge the pulse. There are 26 basic pulse types, each type of pulse signifies certain health conditions.

The physician will first use only light pressure against the patient’s wrist, then increase it. The light pressure allows the physician to check one specific organ, the increased pressure another one. Every organ’s status can be monitored by the quality of the pulse. The physician can, among other things, feel if the organ lacks energy, or the energy has stagnated, if there is a lack of ‘blood’, or if a pathogenic factor has invaded the organ. TCM focuses on root causes of ailments and treating the body before it becomes ill. Pulse reading allows the physician to identify specific organs or body systems that may not be functioning so well and would require attention or nourishment.

The physician has to take into account various other factors together with pulse reading before arriving at an accurate diagnosis. For example, the age, gender, profession of a patient would influence the pulse. A highly experienced physician looks at the overall picture to derive the condition of the patient.