TCM Explanation of Pain

Modern medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) explain the occurrence of pain in different ways. Modern medical research has discovered the pain signals are transmitted by specialized nervous system cells called receptors, which are found throughout the skin and other body tissues.

In 1997, the National Institutes of Health officially recognized acupuncture as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis, headaches, low back pain, fibromyalgia, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, myofascial pain, neck pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

These cells respond to injury, inflammation or tissue damage. The signals travel by electrical and chemical means, from receptors through sensory neurons to the spinal cord and then through interneurons in the spinal cord to the brain, where they are finally interpreted as pain.

Traditional Chinese Medicine takes a different view. This view is one of balance: a balance between the principles of Yin and Yang, and between Qi (pronounced “chee) and Blood. Qi and Blood travel through the body along well-defined pathways called channels or meridians. When there is not enough Qi and Blood or when they are stuck in an area, there is an imbalance between Yin and Yang. As a result of this imbalance, internal organs are not functioning optimally and illness and pain develop.