Since the 1970s and the opening of China to the West, most Americans have heard of acupuncture to treat pain. Pain relief after an acupuncture treatment can be almost immediate, especially in an acute injury.
Acupuncture is thought to improve pain both at the injury site and and at the brain. Locally, it is thought that an acupuncture needle damages a very small number of tissue cells. This small amount of induced inflammation prevents an “over-reaction” of the inflammatory response that may cause pain (click here for more information). Simultaneously, acupuncture blocks pain signals traveling from the painful area to the brain by releasing brain endorphins and enkephalins—chemicals/hormones that inhibit pain signals to the brain.
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