Does acupuncture relieve pain? Well, to start, the philosophy behind this several thousand year old system of medicine views the body not simply as a physical sack of organs but rather as a complex formation of energy representing the body, mind, and spirit. What a concept for a Westerner to wrap his or her head around (myself included, initially!). What this boils down to is that pain anywhere in the body is basically considered “stuck energy” and acupuncture is a tool that can move it!
The amazing thing about acupuncture is that even if you are having headaches, per se, you may find that your practitioner doesn’t place needles anywhere near your head and yet you feel better. So how does this happen? Well, it happens because of the way your energy moves in your body and it is up to your practitioner to be able to track and discern this correctly. This discernment is done by listening to pulses, looking at your tongue, and assessing the meridians.
Everyone has what are called “meridians” which is the term used for the specific pathways energy follows. And each organ has a meridian associated with it.
For instance, the gallbladder meridian runs from head to toe, transversing the head several times before sending energy down to the top of the foot and ending at the 4th toe. So if you were to seek treatment for headaches, your practitioner will likely choose some points on this channel to relieve the pain. They may choose a point on the top of the foot and yet your head will feel ten times better than when you came in! Kind of cool, huh?