The practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, also known as TCM, dates back over 3,000 years. It is a time tested system of medicine in Asia and is now rapidly being recognized in the United States . Acupuncture is a complex branch of ancient Chinese medicine but its practical principles and methods are easily understood.

Fourteen major energy channels called meridians course throughout the human body. Chi, a subtle energy, circulates thru the meridians to allAcupuncture meridian parts of the body, even to the most remote cells. Chi must flow readily and unobstructed to insure optimum health. When there is a blockage of chi, there is pain, dysfunction and disease. Acupuncture stimulates certain points along the meridians to help restore the balance and flow of chi. This enables the body to repair itself and maintain good health. Over the centuries, thru trial and error and meticulous observation, the Chinese have accurately mapped the specific meridians and identified hundreds of acupuncture points.

Conditions which affect the chi are excessive dampness, wind, cold, heat, even worry, anxiety and stress can change the flow thru the meridians. The actual treatment of acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine, sterile and disposable needles into specific points on the body along energy pathways (meridians) to balance the flow of energy (chi). Acupuncture needles are NOT like hypodermic needles and feel nothing like a shot or injection. Virtually painless, upon needle insertion, there may be a sensation or slight tingling in different areas of the body. This means the chi has been activated, and is a positive sign of chi movement thru the meridians.

While the effect of acupuncture is symptom relief, it is far more than this. Acupuncture works with the body, strengthening and balancing energy. It Acupunctureimproves circulation and allows the body to heal itself more quickly and more completely. Those who receive acupuncture often not only heal physically but experience new and profound states of peace, clarity and harmony through treatment which often has a lasting impact. Most people are surprised at the depth of relaxation, the intensity and the sense of well being and healing which results from the rebalancing of energy. You will find you look forward to treatment for the many benefits that are received from acupuncture. Traditional Chinese Medicine treats the root cause as well as the symptoms of disease so that no matter how complex the conditions, the patient is supported and moves to a healthier state of wellbeing.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture is very different from receiving an injection, since the main source of pain from an injection is the larger diameter, hollow needle and a liquid medication being forced into the tissue by pressure. Acupuncture needles, however, are almost as thin as a human hair, are solid and quite flexible. Usually the insertion of acupuncture needles is painless if performed by a skilled practitioner. Some patients report a sense of heaviness or tingling at or around the area where an acupuncture needle is inserted, but most patients find that the session is quite relaxing and often fall asleep during the treatment.

What can I expect at my first visit?

Usually a session runs between a half hour to an hour, although the first visit is often longer. Linda will discuss your concerns with you, make a diagnosis and discuss treatment. After options have been explored, acupuncture is performed. At the end of the session, Chinese herbal therapies may be prescribed for the patient to use at home. Typically, the majority of the time during a session is spent on the actual performance of acupuncture and related therapies such as cupping or moxibustion.

What is Cupping?

This technique is said by the ancients to suck out the “evil chi”. A vacuum is created within the cup by a fire source and placed on theCupping body (usually the back). Round glass cups created especially for this purpose are used. This technique can sometimes leave marks on the body as the capillaries near the surface of the skin are affected. These marks generally disappear within 2 or 3 days. This procedure is useful for moving the chi and blood in the body, and is used in many conditions where the chi and blood are stagnant (pain) or if the body is under exterior attack (viral cold).

What training do acupuncturists receive?

Acupuncturists receive 3-4 years of at least 2,200 hours for Oriental Medicine which includes acupuncture and Chinese herbology, or 1,700 hours for acupuncture only programs. Acupuncturists will study biology, organic biochemistry, physics, psychology, anatomy and physiology, and other medical subjects, in addition to oriental medical theory and diagnosis. State laws vary regarding the length of study and types of programs required before being eligible for a state exam. In Arizona, passing the NCCAOM examination is required for licensure.

Acupuncture and Pain Management.

The effectiveness of acupuncture as a method of pain relief is well-established. It provides a natural treatment option that can be useful for recent injuries as well as chronic conditions. At Dc-Canyon, we specialize in acupuncture for pain management and relief, and our licensed acupuncturist, Linda Kelley, L.Ac., provides experienced, professional, and personalized care.
Treating the Symptoms, and the Cause

Pain Management Overview

According to traditional acupuncture theory, pain is caused by a blockage of energy (Qi) flow through the body. Injuries can cause many types of blockage, such as spasms, swelling, inflammation, and bruising. While many conventional treatments simply mask the pain, acupuncture can effectively eliminate the blockage to speed healing. This approach addresses not only the symptoms, but also the underlying cause of the pain.

Acupuncture produces pain management and relief by:

  • Relaxing muscle spasms
  • Reducing local inflammation and swelling
  • Calming nerve irritation
  • Releasing natural, pain killing opiates
  • Improving blood flow, and speeding healing

Lower Back Pain/Sciatica

Typically, low back pain results from strains (muscle tears), sprains (overstretched ligaments), herniated disks, and sciatica (term for the pain that results from irritation of the sciatic nerve. This type of pain normally extends from the low back through the buttocks and down into the leg). At Dc-Canyon, lower back pain and sciatica are the most common pain complaints. Acupuncturist Linda Kelly, has extensive experience identifying and treating pain of the lower back and sciatica.

Shoulder/Upper Back Pain

A variety of factors can lead to upper back or shoulder pain, including stress, poor posture, whiplash injury, and tendonitis of the shoulder joint. At Dc-canyon, pain management therapy for individuals with upper back or shoulder pain may include a combination of acupuncture and other types of traditional Chinese medicine, such as Chinese medical herbology. Linda Kelly will develop a safe, effective, and natural treatment plan to address your specific needs.


Acupuncture is most commonly sought by individuals suffering from headaches that do not respond well to traditional pain medication, such as migraines, tension headaches, and sinus headaches. Tension headaches are usually associated with stress, poor posture, vision problems, structural problems, or injury. They have a high response rate to acupuncture after a few weeks of treatment. Sinus related headaches require treatment of the underlying infection, and draining of the sinuses cavities. This can be accomplished well with acupuncture pain relief therapy and herbs.
Migraine headaches, on the other hand, indicate an enduring imbalance in the body that can require patience and consistency to treat successfully. After meeting with a medical doctor to rule out other health conditions that may be causing the headaches, acupuncture pain relief therapy can begin. Treatment typically includes acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicine.  

Knee Pain/Arthritis

With traditional Chinese medicine, arthritis pain management is accomplished through a combination of acupuncture and herbs, and many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach. The goal of treatment is to help the body heal by restoring normal circulation and energy (Qi) flow. Although arthritis can cause joint pain in any area of the body, knee pain is one of the most commonly treated arthritis-related conditions at Dc-Canyon.

Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive strain injuries, or injuries which result from repeated motion, typically respond very well to acupuncture, especially when pain management therapy is started early. The goal in treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, and other common repetitive strain injuries is to stop the inflammatory process occurring in and around the overused tendons. In addition to acupuncture and herbs, allowing the area to rest is mandatory to produce maximum pain relief. Patients may also need to wear a support to protect the area from aggravation during recovery.

General Pain

Pain relief is one of the most common applications of acupuncture, and treatment can be effective for many types of pain. If you are suffering pain from a condition not described above, please feel free to contact our acupuncture clinic to discuss our pain management therapies. Many patients find that acupuncture can effectively relieve pain even when nothing else has been successful.