We tend to perform the same motions day in and day out. The majority of the time this isn't an issue as long as we have the right posture, and are using the right technique. It's when we aren't being mindful of these things that we tend to develop imbalances, which leads to pain, and tension. 


The imbalances poor posture creates is endless, from pain in your shoulders, to pain between your scapulas (upper back), to lower back pain. All of these areas become obstructed, and can even lead to tingling sensations running down your leg, or through your arm. Acupuncture can actually help to alleviate pain by improving circulation, and re-activating energy channels that run through the areas of pain. So how does it work? From a western medicine perspective, when your body detects an acupuncture needle, or a foreign object in the body, your immune system naturally sends its immune cells to scope out the area[1]. Indirectly what this does is increase blood flow to the area, and improve circulation[1]. In Chinese Medicine, pain is a sign of stagnation, or a blockage. By examining what area you experience pain, this tells the acupuncturist what energy channels to open using the acupuncture points along the channel. Other signs of stagnation are a tendency to sigh, feeling depressed at times, or pain along the ribs. 


In the event that you over-do-it at the gym, or when you were helping your cousin Bob move furniture to his new house, the problem is similar to poor-posture, but likely due to poor technique. Usually this happens when we're tired, or towards the end of a workout when our bodies can't handle anymore, yet we choose to push ourselves the extra mile. All of a sudden your technique changes to rely on other muscles to help lift that weight, or move that couch. The pain is usually felt the following day, and at times can be quite sharp instead of a dull ache. The sharpness indicates blood circulation has come to a halt in this area, due to injury. Luckily, there is an acupuncture point on each meridian that is indicated specifically for this type of acute-sharp pain. They are known as Xi-Cleft (pronounced Shee-Cleft) points, and according to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory are used to unblock stagnant blood, to relieve acute pain. 


For some of us, the areas we get pain, also feel hot, and appear red at times. These are signs of "Heat" in Chinese Medicine, or "Inflammation" in western medicine. In Chinese Medicine, some points have the function of "Clearing Heat". This may seem like a foreign concept, but actually western medical studies have been performed to prove acupuncture's effectiveness in reducing inflammation [2]. Other signs of heat in the body are a red face or rosacea, unquenchable thirst, constipation, or dark urine. 

By paying attention to your body, you can become more mindful of what is causing the pain. If you haven't already done so, book an acupuncture appointment today, not only can we detect what kind of imbalances you have, but also treat them and provide preventative measures to keep you free from pain.


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1. http://www.elotus.org/article/mechanisms-acupuncture

2. http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1352-acupuncture-anti-inflammatory-effect-revealed