to acupuncture or not to acupuncture…


So, after my last trip to an acupuncture doctor turned into the nightmare I described in my last post, I checked in with my friend, mentor, and all-around rock star, Christina Pirello, to share my frustration and get the lowdown on just what does and doesn’t work about acupuncture.

As usual, she brought some serious knowledge to the subject. Here’s what she said:

Acupuncture is not massage. It’s not recreational and it’s not designed to relax you or serve in the same capacity as massage. It’s a brilliant form of natural, non-invasive medicine that can relieve acute symptoms of illness, injury or disease. Chinese medicine’s approach to illness differs greatly from our western view, hinging on the concept of energy balance, and the life force called chi or ki. In much the same way as western doctors look at blood vessels, the medicine of acupuncture looks at energy pathways that run through the body, called meridians.

The thinking behind acupuncture is that disease is caused by a blockage or a stagnation somewhere along a meridian. The concept of acupuncture holds that inserting fine needles into certain points along meridians will stimulate the flow of energy, unblocking the stagnation that is at the root of the problem.

Acupuncture is used generally for serious chronic or acute symptoms that are causing physical discomfort and, in my view, acupuncture is not to be used lightly. It is strong and while not invasive, quite powerful. What’s great about acupuncture is that it can change a condition quickly if it’s the right treatment for the right condition. The thing is that the body likes habits, even when those habits are not good for us. So, many times, an acupuncturist has to do several treatments to get the body’s energy to stay shifted, so to speak, and prevent it from heading on back into the same imbalance that got you in trouble in the first place.

Acupuncture is great for people who eat animal food because they are more prone to energy blockage and stagnation than people who eat a plant-based diet. Our energy tends to move more freely within the body, although we can see weakened and depleted energy from sugar and then acupuncture can be helpful in strengthening that weak energy.

Often, acupuncture is used for pregnant women whose nausea is taking over their lives. It can really help with that in a few treatments. It is helpful with any kind of acute or chronic body pain in muscles or joints. It can relieve stress and tension, but usually is used in the time of disease. Moving energy can relieve pain, kick start organs to do their jobs and promote vitality. It can’t stop muscle aches from working out, cure anemia, or cure cancer (and in fact can be too strong for some cancers). It’s strong medicine.

Some people, for various reasons, need supplements, vitamins and things like acupuncture to move their energy and support health. But in most cases, food will do the heavy lifting for creating health. With the exception of B-12 and D, I am of the mind that we get what we need by eating well.

Many pregnant women are slightly anemic. That’s no biggie after all there are 2 lives working here. Just eat more greens and other iron rich foods. As a vegan, you will always be what doctors call anemic because their standards are based on a meat eating population. And your blood work is perfect, so that speaks for itself.

In the end, acupuncture is to be used as medicine to treat acute or chronic symptoms. If people just want to feel relaxed and more vibrant, then shiatsu is the way to go. It’s a deep enough massage-like technique that will move energy along meridians but will not be as strong and aggressive as acupuncture.

In the end, it’s all about how we fuel our bodies. The food we choose creates the health we enjoy or don’t.

Thank you Christina! How do all you kind lifers feel about acupuncture?

Photo Credit: Innerlight-Wellness

The health section is proudly sponsored by Kaeng Raeng natural detox. Make sure to check out their 3 or 6 day vegan detox programs here:


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