I get this question a lot. Tons. Also this question:
“Why don’t you needle where it hurts?”
Sometimes I do, most of the time I don’t. Why? In my experience, placing acupuncture needles into areas that hurt can be difficult and uncomfortable for people (due to swelling or tight muscles in that area or possibly there is a cast covering the injured area).
Let me quickly explain that there are two common types of acupuncture:
1. Local needling- needling right into the area that hurts or is injured
2. Distal needling- needling into a different part of the body away from the area that hurts. For example, if you have shoulder pain, I may needle your lower leg, not your shoulder.
I do mostly distal needling in my practice. I find it gets quick response and the acupuncture points are easy to access (the patient doesn’t have to get undressed and can sit comfortably in a chair if they want).
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have a holistic view of the human body-everything is connected. I can needle your ankle for hip pain and it will still help. I also use a lot of homologous images and structures when choosing where to place an acupuncture needle. Example: I can choose acupuncture points on your feet to treat hand problems and vice versa because your hands and feet look similar. I can use points around your knee to treat elbow pain because both your elbow and knee are hinge joints.
I have a longtime patient who admitted to me that she was afraid to come and see me initially for her chronic neck pain because her neck hurt so bad and the thought of me putting acupuncture needles into her neck was too much for her. Luckily she called me first and when I explained to her that I don’t do that for neck pain and that I would needle down around her ankle, she was so relieved she booked her first appointment.
And now you understand why I may not put a needle right into the area that hurts and it will still work because of how everything in your body is connected.
Red Pony Medicine
1930 Tamarack Road
Newark, Ohio 43055