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Acupuncture for Pain


Western allopathic medicine has recognized the efficacy of acupuncture for treating pain for more than 100 years, and in recent decades much research has been conducted showing its positive effect on diverse pain conditions from migraines to sciatica.  

We at Lokahi Acupuncture maintain a clear understanding that acupuncture works most effectively when used in the context of the ancient medical theorem from which it sprung. 

Angel King, L. Ac. is your pain specialist at Lokahi Acupuncture. Angel is highly qualified and unique in her approach, and we recommend checking out her biography to get an idea of her background and philosophy. 

Acupuncture is effective in helping the following:

  • migraines and headaches
  • neck and back pain
  • fractures, strains, sprains, bruises and other traumatic injuries
  • tendonitis
  • broken bones
  • post-operative pain
  • joint pain and arthritis
  • sore muscles, fibromyalgia
  • acute and chronic pain
  • nerve pain such as sciatica, carpal tunnel, and neuropathy

How it works

How Chinese Medicine Treats Pain

“Bu Tong Zi Tong, Tong Zi Bu Tong”

Sharon Feng - Longtime Chair of Five Branches Institute’s Department of Herbology -  often quoted this traditional Chinese medical saying about pain.

Translating directly as “Not passing through is pain, passing through is not pain,” this saying gets to the heart of traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) approach to treating pain.  In the terms used by acupuncturists today, we can elaborate a bit on this idea to explore its meaning physiologically. 

Stagnation is a common theme in the treatment of pain in TCM, and this is what is meant by “not passing thru.”  Most commonly, pain in the body is caused by the stagnation of qi (the body’s vital energy) or both qi and blood.   A third type, caused by an actual deficiency of vital energy, if left untreated can progress to qi and/or blood stagnation due to a “piling up” of qi and blood in the channels and vessels precisely because of this lack of circulatory energy.

Type of Pain Symptoms How its Treated
Qi Deficiency Dull achy pain that feels better with pressure Tonify qi with qigong, acupuncture/moxa and herbs
Qi Stagnation Distending pain that moves about the body, movable abdominal masses may be present, wiry pulse and a dusky tongue Moving or augmenting qi with qigong, massage, acupuncture and herbs.
Blood Stagnation Fixed stabbing or boring pain, fixed abdominal masses, bruising, a choppy pulse and a purple tongue Circulating qi and blood with tuina massage, bleeding & cupping, acupuncture techniques, external and internal herbs.

Using acupuncture, moxabustion (the burning of Chinese mugwort), tuina massage and herbal therapy Angel King, L. Ac. works to balance the both the amount and flow of qi and blood in the points, channels and vital organs of the body.  This speaks to the feeling of openness or “passing through” referred to in the saying above.  A pain free state, then, implies that the circulation of qi and blood in the body is flowing freely.


Your Specialist


Angel King, L. Ac.

Angel specializes in the treatment of pain and injuries.  Her goals for each patient are to provide pain relief, in addition to healing the root cause of the pain.  Physiological changes that may occur from treatment include, increased blood circulation, decreased inflammation and swelling, better range of motion, reduction in pain, faster healing, and a greater sense of well-being.

Angel takes a holistic approach and will make suggestions for dietary changes, herbs, and supplements when applicable.  She chooses from and combines several modalities in order to bring about the most rapid and effective results for each individual patient. 

Modalities that may be used are:

  • acupuncture
  • cupping
  • gua sha
  • electrical stimulation
  • essential oils
  • massage


Science and Research supporting Acupuncture

Ann Intern Med. 2004 Dec 21;141(12):901-10.

Effectiveness of acupuncture as adjunctive therapy in osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized, controlled trial.

Berman BM, Lao L, Langenberg P, Lee WL, Gilpin AM, Hochberg MC.


University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21207, USA.


Rheumatology (Oxford). 2004 Sep;43(9):1085-90. Epub 2004 Jun 22.

Acupuncture for the alleviation of lateral epicondyle pain: a systematic review.

Trinh KV, Phillips SD, Ho E, Damsma K.


School of Medicine, McMaster University, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5.


Ann Intern Med. 2006 Jul 4;145(1):12-20.

Acupuncture and knee osteoarthritis: a three-armed randomized trial.

Scharf HP, Mansmann U, Streitberger K, Witte S, Krämer J, Maier C, Trampisch HJ, Victor N.


University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Feb;198(2):166.e1-8.

Acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea: a randomized study on clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in usual care.

Witt CM, Reinhold T, Brinkhaus B, Roll S, Jena S, Willich SN.


Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany.


Ann Intern Med. 2005 Apr 19;142(8):651-63.

Meta-analysis: acupuncture for low back pain.

Manheimer E, White A, Berman B, Forys K, Ernst E.


University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for Integrative Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21207, USA.