Picture this: A person goes to see their family physician for a pain syndrome. The physician tells the patient, “There are 3 stages of pain. In the 1st stage, the pain is just enough to catch your attention. In the 2nd stage, the pain begins to take hold of you. In the 3rd stage, the intensity of the pain finally compels you to do something about it.” The patient asks his doctor, “what should I do when the pain gets to stage 3?” With no hesitation, the doctor says, “take some Motrin…” (The worst part is that is is an all-too-common true story and that most people think this is good advice.)
If the same patient were to relay this story to his Acupuncturist, the Acupuncturist would respond something like, “If your car’s check engine light blinked on, the 1st time it would probably catch your attention. The 2nd time, when it stayed on a little longer, it would probably start to take hold of you. When it comes on a 3rd time, and you’re finally compelled to do something- would you have your mechanic just turn off the light so you don’t have to look at it anymore?” Hopefully not!
The moral of the story? Symptoms, such as pain, are not the problem! Just as the check engine light is not the problem, the physical symptoms you experience are merely your body’s attempt to tell you that there‘s a problem. Masking those symptoms (whether they be pain, heartburn, headaches, fatigue, or whatever) with drugs doesn’t fix the problem, and can actually make the situation worse. Basically, by taking meds to numb out symptoms, you’ve essentially stuck your fingers in your ears like, “la la la, I’m not listeniiiiing!” in response to your body’s attempted communication.
As an acupuncturist, I see a lot of people who are desperate to correct the actual problem. They’ve been given Prilosec for their acid reflux, Imitrex for their migraine headaches, NSAIDs for their arthritis, and Stain drugs for their high cholesterol. How many of you need that morning cup of caffeinated coffee?
The problem is that these drugs are all treating the symptoms. Nobody has previously bothered to ask, “well WHY is this person having acid reflux/migraines/fatigue/high cholesterol? What’s causing it? How to we correct THAT problem?”
No matter what you do to mask the symptoms, the problem is never going to change until you actually address the root cause. Hopefully it’s obvious that this should be done as soon as possible, since just as the 1st check engine light could indicate an easy problem to fix, like a minor oil leak, if you wait too long to address the root problem, that “simple oil leak” could progress into something much more serious or worse, irreparable “engine” damage. That damage could be coming from ignoring the root cause of the problem, or it could come from your symptom-masking medications themselves.
For over 2000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has been a root-cause centered therapy. Combine that traditional philosophy with an Acupuncturist who understands the science behind modern diseases, and you have someone who can very realistically help get your whole body system back on track.
The best part is that Acupuncture is a totally natural and relatively painless therapy, with no adverse side effects. Thus, replacing your symptom-masking medications with natural, side-effect-free acupuncture will not only stimulate your body’s natural ability to heal, but it will also serve to reduce the medication-induced stress placed on your body, giving it even more freedom to repair itself.
So how does Acupuncture work? Well, despite much modern research, that’s still a much-debated topic, but it’s clear that Acupuncture works on many different physiological levels simultaneously, restoring the body’s homeostasis and accelerating the healing process. We know that it works by supporting proper blood and lymph flow to the tissues and internal organs, regulating and restoring normal nerve signal transmission, stimulating your brain to release endorphins (your body’s natural pain killers and relaxants), calming the central nervous system, regulating the endocrine (hormones) and immune systems, relaxing tight muscles, and much much more.
In 1997, the National Institute of Health the following statement:
“One of the advantages of Acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions…such as anti-inflammatory medications and steriod injections [for pain], and the evidence supporting these conventional therapies is no better than that for Acupuncture.”
In other words, the evidence showed (and still shows) that Acupuncture is just as effective as drugs for many conditions, but unlike drugs, Acupuncture doesn’t have negative side effects. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
Some people are often surprised to learn that Acupuncture can treat way more than just pain. Even the World Health Organization (WHO), has officially recognized Acupuncture to be effective in treating over 56 different conditions. And those are just the conditions for which acupuncture has actually been researched- technically, upper respiratory infection isn’t on the WHO’s list, but I’ve successfully treated URI’s with Acupuncture more times than I could possibly count, and that’s just one example.
So what is your body trying to tell you that you’ve been ignoring? What drugs are you taking… to counteract the side effects of the other drugs you’re taking… to mask the symptoms of a problem that needs your attention? What if you could correct the root cause of a problem and in doing so, would eliminate the need for symptoms all together?
For more info on the subject, check out these articles:
This information brought to you by your friendly, neighborhood Austin Acupuncturist, Melanie Irvine, L.Ac., MAOM, owner Turning Point Wellness. For more info about how Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, and natural nutrition can help you achieve vibrant health and well-being. Feel free to visit my website, www.TurningPointAcupuncture.net for more details and direct contact information.