When they are produced by the body of course. Wait, the body makes opioids? Absolutely, and acupuncture, especially electro acupuncture, can induce the body to produce these pain-relieving substances. Opioid peptides (endorphins, enkephalins and dynorphin) are made by the body, act on opioid receptors and relieve pain among other effects.
Opioids vs. Opiates
Opiates are drugs (either natural or synthetic) that produce similar effects as the body’s own opioids. The problem with opiates is that they are addictive. There is a time and place for these substances to be used clinically (such as recovery form surgery) but their use should be very short term. The reason we have a crisis in this country with these drugs is that they were prescribed inappropriately. For lack of a better alternative, especially with chronic conditions, these drugs were often prescribed long term, leading to addiction.
Acupuncture & Opioids
Acupuncture has demonstrated an ability to induce the body to release these pain-relieving substances to help patients manage pain. So how does this help patients, don’t you become “addicted” to acupuncture and need continued treatment without end. There are several ways that acupuncture will help not only relieve pain, but help your body heal. Many patients who are in pain have trouble sleeping. The only time your body heals is when you are sleeping. You can refer to our blog post Pain, Sleep, Stress to see how pain, sleep and even stress affect one another. When acupuncture relieves pain, even temporarily, it allows patients to sleep and gives their bodies a chance to heal. Acupuncture stimulates blood flow, reduces inflammation and stimulates the immune system. Using electric stimulation, an acupuncturist can introduce electrons in to the body and electrons help the body heal.
All too often, modern medicine looks to improve on the body’s natural healing abilities. This is where we commonly get in to trouble. The healing capacity of the body evolved over tens or even hundreds of thousands of years if you go back far enough. Encouraging the body to do what it already knows how to do is a much safer and ultimately more effective approach.
Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!