Start the new year off pain-free | Heintze

Ellie Heintze is a licensed acupuncturist. - Contributed photo
Ellie Heintze is a licensed acupuncturist.
— image credit: Contributed photo

If you are like me, you know how frustrating it is to deal with pain, especially chronic pain. I am not alone in suffering from pain, it is estimated that 10 to 40 percent of the population experiences chronic pain. There are many treatment options but most commonly pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed. But what do you do if those drugs don’t help? Some effective and safe alternatives for chronic pain are out there, which include acupuncture and Tai Chi.

Acupuncture has been practiced in China for around 2,500 years to help treat a wide variety of conditions. Recently there has been a great deal of evidence that supports acupuncture as a valid treatment for pain. Acupuncture, compared to many pharmaceutical drugs, has very few side effects and if done by a licensed and trained professional, is very safe and effective.

How does acupuncture work? The theory behind acupuncture is there are streams of energy, also called qi, which flow through channels in our body that correspond to different organ systems. Pain or illness results if there is an imbalance or blockage in one of those channels.

Acupuncture reduces pain by needling specific points, which ultimately restores the energy flow to a balance state. This leads to reduced pain and restoration of health. Most people find pain relief in a few sessions.

To complement acupuncture, another therapy recommended for pain management is Tai Chi. It is an exercise consisting of a series of movements performed in a focused, slow manner that incorporates deep breathing. Studies have found that Tai Chi has profound effects on improving balance and stability as well as reducing joint pains. Many senior centers and public programs now offer Tai Chi classes to the public.

If you are considering giving acupuncture a try, look for licensed and trained acupuncturist in your area. In the state of Washington licensed acupuncturists are now referred to as East Asian Medical Practitioners so look for “LAc or EAMP” after their name.

Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, specializes in pain management, stress and has a passion for helping people with food allergies. For more information, visit www.startingptacupuncture.com.

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