Symptom vs. Root Cause
'Why did you put a needle in my foot? The pain is in my shoulder!' new acupuncture patients often ask us this when we start the treatment process. It comes down to symptom treatment vs. root cause treatment. As Acupuncturists who studied traditional Chinese medicine style acupuncture we are trained to see the body as the whole organism it is, not as just a shoulder or even a single muscle. Treating the body as a whole always gets better, longer lasting results than just treating one small component of the body
Sure, your injury or pain my be affecting that single muscle or joint, but there's usually a vulnerability there caused by an imbalance somewhere else. When we discover what that vulnerability is and treat it you'll get better, longer lasting results than just sticking a few needles where it hurts. That's really distilling acupuncture down to its crudest, simplest form. You'll get some improvement for a period of time (maybe a week, a month or even a few years) but without addressing why your body has that vulnerability the pain will come back.
How do we discover this vulnerability? We do a very detailed health history during the intake, and check your tongue and pulse regularly. Acupuncture works on your central nervous system; the needles tell your brain what needs to be done and your brain does the work. Your brain is like a big computer and the needles are switches- turning on and off things inside your body. Just like a light switch isn't always directly beside the light fixture, acupuncture points aren't always in the area of your pain. So yes, we're putting a needle in your foot to treat your shoulder.