Pain Management with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
In my later years of medical school, I thought that pain treatment was below me. Even though acupuncture was best known for its effective pain relief, I thought that the Western medical world was simply behind as usual. We were amazed to learned all the other diseases we could treat with acupuncture, like neurological problems, immune system dysfunction, anxiety, and depression, and I thought, “Anyone can treat pain. I’d rather focus on something more interesting.”
As I wrote about Chinese medicine on the Pulse website, I thought, “It would be more beneficial for acupuncture’s image if I focused on something like psychology. And, people really need to understand the complexity and power of our herbal medicine system.”
So talking about the treatment of pain wasn’t really on my list.
Western vs. Eastern Pain Relief
But, I couldn’t help seeing that Western medicine didn’t have great pain relief solutions. They always have the side effects of some drugs, and the addictive potential of the opiates (their most powerful pain killers).
My wonderfully well-read wife subscribes to a journal called The Pain Practitioner (www.aapainmanage.org/literature/PainPrac.php). After reading that for a few months, I suddenly realized that they never mentioned acupuncture. That’s crazy, I thought. After all, it competes with drugs in terms of effectiveness and doesn’t cause side effects. Plus, it’s superior in permanently removing neurogenic pain, and preventing temporary pain from going through the “grooved into the brain” process that leads to chronic pain syndromes.
When you think of acupuncture, the first thing that should come to mind is “Superior for treating pain.”
Higher Standards for Pain Relief with Acupuncture
I’ve found that many acupuncturists do not enjoy treating pain. I think this may be because they haven’t learned a style of acupuncture that treats pain effectively and quickly. In October 2002, I began a mentorship with Robert Chu, who had learned a quick and powerful pain-relieving acupuncture system from a student of the famous Taiwanese acupuncturist, Master Tong.
Dr. Chu has taught me several acupuncture systems that are not currently taught in acupuncture schools. His goal is immediate pain relief, to some degree, and immediate relaxation or a sense of well being in other diseases.
This is a high standard – we can’t always achieve total pain relief with one treatment. It may take ten treatments to make a permanent dent in some situations. But I like having big goals. I think I’m more likely to make progress that way.