Chronic Pain

EMC offers you hope to reduce chronic pain

Chronic Pain can exponentially reduce a person’s quality of life and deeply impact those close to their suffering. Not only does acupuncture, acupressure, Reiki and diet provide stress relief and healing, laser therapy can also be added to your treatments to assist with pain management. At EMC, we tailor our approaches to provide you with the most relief and the hope for a brighter future through assisted healing.

Part 1: The Body Can Change – Despite a Diagnosis

By Dr. Teresa Shen

Sometimes doctors tell their patients difficult or unsettling things during a diagnosis: “I don’t know…We can’t do anything for you…Let’s wait and see…,” and you’re in pain and most likely, can’t bear another moment of it, so hearing this can further your downward spiral. This is especially common with autoimmune diseases, or other lifetime illnesses.

These physicians aren’t intending to be mean or vindictive; they’re just speaking the truth from the Western medical perspective. From the Eastern medical perspective, the picture looks very different.

Part of the issue is, Western diagnoses take a snapshot of your health and project outcomes for the rest of your life based upon how you’re doing in that moment

That would be fine if you were a broken down car in need of new parts: A car isn’t going to improve on it’s own. A car doesn’t have natural healing mechanisms where, if you park it on the lawn for a month with a cover on it, after that month it’ll run like new again. With a car, you fix the parts or you trade it in, or you junk it. Well, people do sometimes “junk” their bodies in terms of the food they put in it, but generally speaking, we are not cars; we are alive.

Our bodies know how to heal themselves. Cut your finger and it will heal … without you focusing on it or trying to make it heal. It just will. Balance the body’s energy systems and it can heal and improve. Just because you’re in one state of health on Tuesday, doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way on Thursday — much less for the rest of your life. That’s why Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on the body’s “engine” rather than just its parts. The engine is what keeps the car going. The engine is what keeps us going.

We can positively affect our health regardless of diagnosis. We can move — step by step — from where we are, and move closer to where we want to be. 

A Patient's Story

Part 2: The Body Can Change – Despite a Diagnosis

I treated a patient who had been diagnosed with Wegner’s granulomatosis (inflammation of the blood vessels affecting the kidneys, lungs and other organs). He was on immunosuppressants, steroids and experienced horrifying joint pain. Everything was inflamed, from his knees to his arms to his wrists to his ankles.

He had been told that he’d be dealing with this forever, and this person who you could tell had once been bursting with energy and zest for life was now a shell of himself. He loved to travel and felt that part of his life was over. He loved an active lifestyle and thought that part of his life was over. All this, based on the idea that he’ll never change. I would argue that there is change from day to day, hour to hour, albeit subtle and small. There is always change.

He ended up in my office because his daughter had been coming for acupuncture and persuaded him to give it a try, when he lost hope. After weekly visits for a month, he began to notice little changes. He was sleeping better and some body functions were normalizing. Within two months, he was riding his bike again (a favorite activity). By the time we finished the critical phase of his treatment, he was flying internationally again. This person thought his life was over. In just a few months of acupuncture and complementary nutrition, he had his life back.

A body is not a car. It will get worse if left untreated and will improve when healing is stimulated. Nothing in the body stays the same forever. Anytime someone tells you that “no change is possible,” and they may honestly believe that, you do not have to!


There’s no such thing as minor surgerySurgery is high stakes.

Drugs are highly toxic, sometime addictive and rife with undesirable side effects. Drugs (and often surgery) also fail to address the underlying problem, instead suppressing or temporarily alleviating symptoms that are likely to return because the core issue hasn’t been adequately dealt with.

Read More - Surgery is high stakes

In a lot of cases, surgery and drug options are all patients ever know. Unless someone close to you has experienced the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine, you may never get another perspective on your situation.

Our goal at Eastern Medical Center is to raise awareness about acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine as a “second opinion” before undergoing costly and traumatic surgery or starting an oftentimes lifelong regimen of taking toxic drugs. There is a totally natural option in many cases that saves money and health.

This could be a chronic illness or a bad knee or a shoulder problem. Whatever the diagnosis, people need to know that their body is intelligent and understands how to heal itself. There’s likely just some sort of block preventing energy and blood flow from reaching the affected area.

Healing happens naturally … and we’re here to give the body the help it needs to heal without radical medical intervention. Because when the body is brought back into balance—when the root of the problem is reached—all those symptoms go away.

Sometimes surgery is necessary. Even then, in the case of surgical procedures to correct degenerated, bulging or ruptured discs of the neck and lower back, acupuncture helps the management of post-operative pain.

So, the next time you hear someone say they need surgery or have been prescribed drugs by their doctor, mention they might want a “second opinion” from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which, by the way, has been in practice 4,000+ more years than Allopathic medicine.

For more information, please see Dr. Sun Pei-Lin’s book, The Management of Post-Operative Pain With Acupuncture.

 CranioSacral therapy
Acupuncture combined with Laser Therapy and CranioSacral Therapy (CST) has proven to be very effective in accelerating your recovery and reducing pain levels.

Before Surgery, Get a TCM ‘Second Opinion’
By Dr. Teresa Shen

Typically with Allopathic (Western) medicine, when you go to the doctor with a significant issue that doctor will recommend pharmaceutical drugs or surgery … or both.

Chronic pain in Chinese medicine, simply put, equates to a lack of energy. When the body is deficient in energy (qi), there’s a lack of oxygen to the cellular structures creating the feeling of weakness, even powerlessness. When the body and mind have been in pain for a long time, a nerve pathway is formed; whereby, the chemicals produced build a new threshold for pain, so neurologically, chemically and emotionally you’re wired for pain. This routine response and pathway has to be broken, likened to a path you have traveled 1,000 times, your body, mind, and spirit will naturally fall into that groove without you even trying.

So, how do you rewire your body, mind, and spirit for health and optimal wellness? It is possible. The one word that comes to mind is “consistency.” Consistent, small, incremental changes in your lifestyle WILL change your current situation!

If you change the way your body moves and the way you think, starting from the time you wake up, you can create the changes necessary to break the pain cycle and foster healing. It has been found that taking time to nurture yourself with deep breaths of gratitude, focusing on what “feeds you” and trusting that there is a light at the end of the tunnel you can find some peace.

  • Journal what you’re feeling and release it by writing or speaking your truth
  • Make time to absorb the beauty of the outdoors
  • Rescue an animal if you can, or volunteer
  • Don’t make excuses, make plans and dare to dream
  • And most importantly, be easy on yourself, laugh really hard everyday – find ways to feed the positives!

No one said this was going to be easy, but remember, it took a long time for your body to get to where it is, now we want to go in reverse. If you want real change you have to decide that, and celebrate every small change you make, that’s Life-giving.

Chinese medicine can be the perfect companion on your journey to optimal wellness and can kick-start your “qi” and unblock “stuck” energy wherever we find it and quicken the process of healing. Stuck energy is also directly related to our habits…which will be discussed in another post. At EMC we combine either acupressure, craniosacral therapy, or cupping to move the circulation and create lymphatic drainage. We can also pair these with acupuncture, to stimulate and awaken the natural energy that is lodged in your body’s “channels.” Stagnation directly affects your health and your life in general.

How do I determine the energy channels I will use to facilitate health?

I will explore your history, down to your personality, and go as deep as you want to to address the root causes of your chronic pain; you will be completely respected. The more I can learn about you, the easier it is to find the channels we want to balance.

So with this type of low energy (chronic pain) body, do invest in yourself and in multiple, consistent treatments. If your kitchen pipes were clogged with accumulation of heavy-duty fat due to regularly treating your pipes with precautions and natural pipe-cleaning remedies, the system stops flowing altogether, or becomes inhibited. The time to dislodge blockages in the body and generate qi will depend on how we address the process. Please do not give up because I will not give up on you. EMC will be your support system and help you keep the right mindset!

Oh, and herbal remedies combined with alkaline water makes for more oxygen and faster healing too!

In terms of postoperative pain control, acupuncture treatment can:

  • Completely relieve or provide relief by reducing pain levels
  • Improve the ability to deal with pain by assisting your emotions
  • Control local tissue swelling
  • Shorten the resolution of hematoma
  • Regulate the appetite
  • Strengthen energy
  • Increase participation in usual functions
  • Enhance your quality of life
  • Minimize side effects of the anesthesia
  • Lower the dosage and reliance of painkillers post-op
  • Minimize use of other medications associated with pain and side effects
  • Stimulate rapid recovery to functional activities after the operation

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I was referred by an acquaintance to Dr. Shen in September of 2015. I have Fibromyalgia and had been having some bad jaw pain for about 6 months. I saw Dr. Shen for about a month and she made a world of difference for me in my jaw. It lasted a while and when it came back, I was stubborn like usual and didn’t go back. I referred to a pain clinic for all of my pain issues and went through a number of classes to deal with it. About a month ago, the pain in my jaw was so bad and was causing such a headache that I took a day off work. I NEVER stay home for pain. When I decided to stay home another day, my husband suggested I go back to see Dr. Shen. I had been in so much pain for almost a week that it caused me to call in sick so I decided to call and see if I could get in. It was a Friday so I wasn’t expecting to get in. Much to my surprise, I got in that afternoon and have not had jaw pain in a month. Almost immediately after the massage and acupuncture she did, I could open my mouth. In the last year and a half, I could not open my mouth all the way nor could I eat a lot of thing because it all hurt. For the last month, I have been able to do both. I am continuing to see her as we work on some other things and I would love to see what she can do for my Fibromyalgia as well. Every week I go in, I can be stressed and feeling crappy but I walk out feeling great. – Staci S.

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