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Acupuncture for Pain

Pain can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. It has both physical and emotional components. It may be contained to a discrete area, as in an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain. Pain is present in various conditions such back and neck pain, osteoarthritis/knee pain, menstrual pain, and headaches, including migraines. Acupuncture therapy is always a first line treatment for the treatment of pain and/or the underlying condition when appropriate.

How does acupuncture work for pain relief?

Acupuncture treatments work on two fronts: treating the root causes of the pain and alleviating the pain itself. Pain relief with acupuncture comes from inactivating the source of pain by modulating endorphin levels. Needling affects the cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of the naturally-occurring opiate substances acting at the spinal level or within the brain.

  • Natural Opioid Substances Activation – needling increases circulation and relaxes tense muscles.
  • Local Blood Flow – acupuncture increases local blood flow to the painful area.
  • Corticosteroid Release – needling stimulates vascular and immuno-modulatory factors, including those of local inflammation.

Acupuncture also shows promise as a complementary therapy to control symptoms in the treatment of cancer. In fact, Western doctors have used acupuncture to treat the pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

Herbs & Pain

Chinese herbology addresses pain by first diagnosing and treating the root of the pain. In addition, herbal products can support pain relief whether it is due to trauma, acute or chronic disease. Several product types are used:

  • Patent formulas – used to treat common pain types such as headaches, sore throat, knee pain.
  • Custom formulas – no two patients and pain manifestation and type are alike; this is why our dispensary can prepare custom formulas tailored to each presentation.
  • Patches & Ointments – various products are available to treat pain externally for joint, muscular or tendon pain

Please make sure you inform us about all medications you are currently taking as some herbs are contra-indicated with certain pharmaceuticals.

Did You Know That…

The Joint Commission issued a mandate in relation to opioids requesting that proactive steps be taken to encourage health care providers to prioritize non-opioid pain management options, including acupuncture.

What About Ear Acupuncture for Pain?

Ear acupuncture is a viable alternative to existing fast-acting pain relief methods. It can be an easier treatment to adjust to. Ask us if it is suitable for you!

NFEC 50 + 2013 in Review

2013 ended pretty nicely with The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile run in Marin, north of San Francisco. With the UTMB in particular (and 100s of miles of mountain running) 2013 has been a great running year for me. The TNF50 was a good cherry on the cake since it was a beautiful cold day in the Marin Headlands and I also got a PR on that course (by 1 hour and 25 minutes no less!)

I first ran the course in 2011 and it was my first ultramarathon. It was fantastic and although I was a little slow (and I was hurting at the end quite a bit!) I pledged to come back. I went back in 2012 and the weather was so awful that they shortened the course to 46 miles (I did 9 hours and 58 minutes and I was very happy with that). I got so wet that sometimes by the ocean it seemed someone was throwing buckets of water at me! This year the weather was very cold but dry and sunny and, with the right equipment it was a great pleasure!

Outdoor Emergency Care Course

This summer I decided to plan for my next level of outdoor emergency care and I was faced with the choice of taking a WFR (Wilderness First Responder) course or OEC course (Outdoor Emergency Care). Because I have always been interested in volunteering in a ski patrol I opted for OEC – it also seemed that the training was similar in nature to WFR. OEC is the National Ski Patrol mandated course, meaning that all NSP ski patrollers need to be OEC certified (some are EMTs which is kind of the same).

After looking for a class on the NSP site I found that the patrol I wanted to join in Mammoth did offer a class in Burbank and it seemed very convenient except that I was going to be out of town for too many classes (running UTMB for instance) and I wasn’t sure I could commit to two nights a week (and teaching also two nights a week). So I settled on two weeks intensive in Squaw Valley in November – I found the class through the NSP web site. I got in touch with the instructor and he had a web site set up and directed us, students, to read the OEC book on our own, some 1300 pages of emergency medicine instruction. I read the book twice over the summer until I became confident taking the exams and scoring about 94% on my own (we had access to a number of past exams). It was a lot of medical information to digest but I loved it, there’s so much to know about the human body and trauma.

in the news

Hospital Emergency Room Using Acupuncture To Treat Pain, Nausea


Minnesota hospitals are blazing a trail when it comes to integrative medicine. Only two hospitals in the nation offer acupuncture in the emergency room. KARE 11's Ivory Hecker takes us inside one of them in Shakopee.

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herb of the day

Dà Huáng / Rheum_palmatum


Purgative - Drains heat and purges accumulations and fire, dries damp, promotes urination, cools the blood, invigorates blood circulation and removes blood stasis, reduces fire toxins

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upcoming events

  • 03/08/2020LA Marathon
  • 05/02/2020Miwok 100
AEC v1.0.4

quote of the day

"You can never awaken using the same system that put you to sleep in the first place" -- Gurdjieff

clinic location

Lotus Integrative Medicine
2222 Santa Monica Blvd
Suite 105
Santa Monica CA 90404
310-464-2851

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