In September, The New York Times reported on a study financed by the National Institutes of Health in its article, "Acupuncture Provides True Pain Relief". While this fact in itself isn't news to the many people around the world who have experienced pain relief after using acupuncture, the study is important because it contributes to acupuncture becoming more widely accepted in the western medical community.
This new research is exciting because it is far more extensive than many previously conducted studies. As the Times explains, "Though acupuncture has been studied for decades, the body of medical research on it has been mixed and mired to some extent by small and poor-quality studies. ... the new research was a detailed analysis of earlier research that involved data on nearly 18,000 patients."
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, when there is an interruption in the smooth flow of Qi or Blood to an area of the body, this can lead to pain. Poor posture, trauma, dehydration, repetitive movements, or wear and tear all can be factors in hindering optimal circulation of Qi and Blood and when this stagnation persists, it leads to pain. Acupuncturists will determine where blockages in optimal Qi-flow reside in the body and use acupuncture needles and other modalities such as cupping, moxibustion, massage and electrical stimulation to open up those areas of blockage, thereby relieving pain.
Whether your pain stems from arthritis, injury, over-use, fibromyalgia or degeneration, acupuncture has lots to offer and is a safe method that will provide lots of relief.