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TCM for Pain Relief

TCM for Pain Relief

Where there's pain, there's no flow. 
Where there's flow, there's no pain.

. . . Dr. Shen

To practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), pain is a sign of hindered flow and is caused by one or more of the following:

  • OBSTRUCTION of Qi or Blood (blocked flow of energy or fluids, due to injury, swelling, or oversupply)
  • CONSTRAINT of Qi or Blood (restrained flow of energy or fluids, often due to neurological, emotional, psychic, or mental constraint)
  • DEFICIENCY of Qi or Blood (poor flow of energy or fluids, caused by an undersupply or mis-direction of qi or blood)

Acupuncture Can Break Stagnations, Move, and Redirect the Flow of Qi and Blood to Relieve Pain.

Countless studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture for all kinds of pain.  Still, the precise mechanism behind this pain relief remains an unproven mystery.  We do know that acupuncture causes our bodies to make endorphins, which are known to relieve pain and promote euphoria.  Some researchers believe that this is the secret of acupuncture's effect, and that endorphins also causes the pleasant feelings that many people experience after an acupuncture treatment.

Traditional Chinese Medicine sees it differently.  TCM theorizes that acupuncture stimulates flow, especially along channels which pass through our internal organs. The flow of Qi (energy) and Blood (fluids) along these pathways is said to nourish the organs and eliminate wastes. When this flow is normal, we are healthy. When the flow is impeded or misdirected, we are ill, or will become ill. 


Herbs Can Encourage Flow, Dissolve Accumulations, Break Stagnations, Build Qi and Blood, and Harmonize Yin and Yang

There are many herbs used for pain relief, and there are many ways that herbs can be used for relieving pain, but since stagnant flow is the cause of pain, two categories contain the majority of herbs used to treat pain, Herbs that Move the Blood and Herbs that Move the Qi.

Some of best known of these herbs are:

YU JIN (turmeric), YAN HU SUO (corydalis), HONG HUA (safflower), RU XIANG (frankincense), MO YAO (myrrh), TAO REN (peach seed kernel)

For pain due to poor flow of food, there is a third category, Herbs that Relieve Food Stagnation. These herbs are usually combined into formulas in order to enhance their effects and reduce any chance of side effects.


Over the Counter Herbal Meds for Pain

There is an entire subset of Chinese medicine devoted entirely to treating pain from injury.  Hit Medicine, as it is called, employs both internal medicines and topical applications. Find out more about Hit Medicine here.



    Shen Clinic TCM Advice

    Information on this site is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your own physician or another medical professional. We make no claim as to efficacy or safety of herbs for pain or herbal medicine appearing on this site. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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