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How does acupuncture help with pain and stress-related ailments?

Numerous studies have been conducted to explore the efficacy of using acupuncture in aiding pain and stress relief.

By LLM Reporters  |  January 19, 2022

Acupuncture is a pseudoscience that has successfully gained attention amongst the western populace. Based on ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice, thin needles are inserted into specific body points to help stimulate the nerves. It is used in treating various ailments, and its benefits have expanded to the realm of stress relief and pain alleviation, too.

Numerous studies have been conducted to explore the efficacy of using acupuncture in aiding pain and stress relief. A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that acupuncture helps decrease physiologic stress in human and animal subjects, according to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.

The safety aspect of using acupuncture clubbed with no-side effects has allured many all over the globe to try out this therapy in order to treat a variety of conditions. As per the Journal of Pain, acupuncture effectively treats chronic pain. Also, the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain, headache, and osteoarthritis pain has shown encouraging results in patients.

Stressed? Acupuncture can help

Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe that stress directly relates to the body’s movement of ‘vital energy’ or ‘Qi’. When the flow of Qi is stuck or scattered, one experiences stress. As per the popular Acupuncture NYC practitioners, acupuncture can help relieve symptoms of over 100 health conditions including headaches, irritability, restlessness, muscle tension, and lack of concentration as a result from an imbalance of vital energy.

The treatment of stress using acupuncture focuses on bringing balance or smoothening the Qi flow in the body

The treatment of stress using acupuncture focuses on bringing balance or smoothening the Qi flow in the body. The treating acupuncturist would insert the needles at a specific point of the patient’s skin. The insertion depth ranges from half to a quarter of an inch, and the choice depends on the desired effects. TCM practitioners claim that such a process helps to improve the flow of Qi through the body.

While treating patients suffering from stress, the major focus is on the acupuncture points where energy flow is stagnant or disturbed. From a scientific point of view, it has been observed that acupuncture helps to release endorphins, also known as happy hormones. The release of such chemicals signals the body that it’s safe, allowing it to turn off the stress response. This eventually helps the body to relax and become stress-free.

Pain relief and acupuncture

Research shows that acupuncture is very effective in treating chronic pain. Even patients with back, neck, shoulder pain, and osteoarthritis have found relief after acupuncture treatment.

The treatment methodology of acupuncture remains the same since sterilized needles are a common approach. The treating acupuncturist would target the specific points of the body to treat pain. As per TCM, the needle’s pressure helps to invigorate the joints, which aids in restoring the Qi flow through the body and restoring proper function. As mentioned earlier, the release of endorphins does contribute to pain alleviation.

Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Two subdomains of acupuncture have been found highly effective in pain alleviation: dry needling and electroacupuncture.

Dry needling

As the name suggests, the process of dry needling makes use of fluid-less needles. Unlike the wet or hypodermic needles, these are completely dry.

The prime focus of dry needling is on muscles. Moreover, traditional acupuncture points are not used in this treatment. Anatomical needling incorporating myofascial trigger point release is the main approach to dry needling. It deactivates the trigger points causing pain and also relaxes the tight bands of muscles.

This process is also popularly described as intramuscular stimulation or IMS. Depending on the acupuncturist’s analysis, dry needling can be used as a standalone treatment for pain relief or in combination with other techniques like cupping, gua sha, or electroacupuncture.


You might have already guessed from the name of this treatment that the use of electrical stimulation is applicable in Electroacupuncture. The basic purpose of using this technique in pain relief is to help stimulate the brain’s parts that release pain-relieving chemicals through the nervous system. The frequency of the technique and its process plays an important part in generating the response from the brain through the endogenous opioid system.

It has also been observed that this process also stimulates the muscles resulting in contraction and relaxation. The effects of using electroacupuncture have been very promising In pain reduction, improvement of muscle function, and enhancing the range of motion. This process also helps regulate the brain’s reward centre in sync with the body’s response to stress.

Research shows that acupuncture is very effective in treating chronic pain

Why use acupuncture for pain management or stress relief?

Undoubtedly, medical science has reached incredible heights in dealing with various ailments, however, the fact remains that sometimes dealing with a particular health issue is only possible using invasive methods like surgery.

Choosing acupuncture for pain alleviation or stress relief would be wise since it is non-invasive without side effects. Another factor that one must consider is that acupuncture focuses on using your internal energy during the treatment. Some may even consider this a method to induce body mechanisms to deal with pain or stress more naturally.

Many people opt for acupuncture after trying different types of treatment. Don’t you think its effectiveness is a definitive reason behind its rising popularity?

Concluding thoughts

Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of treatment available today, and it has also been proven to be effective in helping patients with pain and stress-related ailments. Acupuncture is more about bringing balance to your body, with the idea of the entire process being that if your body functions are perfectly balanced, your body would be free from any pain and stress.

While pain and stress have been major concerns for numerous people, it is important to note that nothing is achieved overnight, so is the case while using acupuncture as a therapy. You need to practice patience and make sure that you undergo the required number of sessions to see the benefits that you desire.