The opioid crisis has raised interest in natural pain relief and alternative pain management techniques. Acupuncture, low-level laser therapy and tui na are all excellent methods for alleviating pain that don’t involve pharmaceuticals or surgery.
Used inappropriately, prescription opioids can cause serious risks
The National Institute on Drug Abuse writes that about 20-30% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Since doctors prescribe the opioids, some patients may mistakenly believe these medications are safer than illegal drugs. Unfortunately, these opioids are just as powerful as drugs and have similar tolerance, dependency and addiction pathways. In fact, many powerful pain medications temporarily reduce pain but they don’t address the underlying cause. The pain returns once the medication wears off. The medical community has been raising awareness of risks associated with prescription opioids and encouraging alternative methods.
Juvenate Healing in Tempe offers a range of techniques to alleviate pain that are non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive.
Acupuncture for Natural Pain Relief
Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely fine needles into the skin at specific acupoints. There a few ways that acupuncture can help alleviate pain.
First, stimulation at the acupoints affects the nervous system. The nervous system releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relieving chemicals. The system can also release serotonin, which stabilizes mood including anxiety and happiness.
Second, acupuncture helps reduce inflammation. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that inflammation and pain occur when blood and qi, or life energy, are obstructed and the body is unable to heal. Acupuncture aims to free up the flow of blood and energy, thus allowing the body to heal while reducing pain and inflammation.
Finally, acupoints often correspond with specific areas of the muscle, called trigger points, that can be targeted to calm spasms.
Low-level Laser Therapy for Natural Pain Relief
Low-level laser therapy has the same effects on the body as acupuncture, just through a different medium. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the lasers Juvenate Healing uses for treatment of chronic pain.
In low-level laser therapy, also known as photobiomodulation therapy, our practitioners apply red and/or near infra-red light over the skin. The energy in the laser photons triggers chemical reactions in cellular mitochondria. The mitochondria produce energy for the body cells to improve wound and soft tissue healing and reduce inflammation. These reactions provide relief for acute and chronic pain. The lasers are able to get energy deep into body tissue.
On top of the pain relief laser provides, there is no recovery time and no side effects.
Tui Na for Natural Pain Relief
Tui na feels very similar to Western massage, however it goes beyond the muscles, bones, and joints. It works on a deeper, energetic level. Tui Na practitioners aim to affect the flow and distribution of qi, the body’s healing energy, during the session. During tui na, the practitioner relieves pain by removing energetic blocks that are causing qi obstruction and stagnation.