Why Symptoms & Causes are Often Confused and How Acupuncture Can Help

Acupuncture takes a holistic view of health and healing. One of the main questions that clients have concerns how acupuncture works and how long its effects can last. To answer that question, we have to look at the science of acupuncture and how it works to treat the root causes of symptoms.

Symptoms vs. Causes in Your Health

For many of the most common ailments people suffer from, distinguishing symptoms and causes is fairly simple. If you experience symptoms of coughing, sneezing, and fatigue, the root cause is often a common cold. 

However, for more complex illnesses, injuries, and conditions, it can be more difficult to distinguish the symptom from the cause. In most cases, clients will come to our acupuncturist in St. Albert with a symptom, but no known root cause.

For example, someone might book an appointment if he or she is suffering from headaches. The headache is the symptom, while an acupuncturist may determine that stress is the cause of that symptom. Or, someone may come in with loose stools or diarrhea, and we can discern that digestive dysfunction is the cause.

This is part of the reason that your appointment with an acupuncturist begins with an assessment. In this assessment, the acupuncturist will ask you questions about your lifestyle, habits, diet, routine, activities, symptoms, and goals. This gives him or her the ability to begin looking beyond the symptoms for potential causes. After this, a treatment plan can be created and adjusted as necessary. 

Symptom Relief vs. Healing the Root Cause

There are two approaches to relieving symptoms like pain, soreness, and dysfunction: First, there is symptom relief. 

Symptom relief happens very quickly. For example, if you have a headache, you could take painkillers to relieve the pain. However, symptom relief is often also short-lived. If you’re experiencing regular headaches, it’s often a sign of a larger underlying problem that isn’t being addressed.

The second approach to relieving symptoms targets the root cause of the symptoms and is known as core healing. Core healing is a result of the body’s innate regenerative abilities, and these abilities can be aided with certain therapies, including acupuncture. As the root cause is treated, the frequency and intensity of symptoms decrease over time. So, someone suffering from regular headaches as a result of stress will find that as they treat the stress, the headaches will be less frequent and may disappear altogether, eventually.

How Acupuncture Treats the Root Causes of Symptoms

In acupuncture, the primary goal is always to heal the root cause of your pain or dysfunction. Acupuncturists are focused on long-term, full-body healing.

Acupuncture stimulates the body’s own healing mechanisms. Tiny needles are inserted into areas of the skin’s surface that are rich with nerves. By targeting specific areas of the body with acupuncture needles, an acupuncturist can cause the body to react with a healing response.


As mentioned above, an assessment gives your acupuncturist an opportunity to understand the potential underlying causes of the symptoms you’re experiencing. Acupuncturists are highly trained in the anatomy of the body and understand how the body’s systems work together to produce healing effects.

In addition to asking you questions, an acupuncturist may use other diagnostic techniques to assess your health, including taking your pulse, examining the parts of your body where you are experiencing pain or dysfunction, or examining your tongue.

Following a Treatment Plan

In many cases, clients need to see an acupuncturist regularly as part of an ongoing treatment plan. Even when symptoms begin to resolve after a few treatments, maintenance can be an essential ongoing activity to continue to fully treat the root cause.

In many cases, your acupuncture treatments will be able to relieve some of your symptoms quickly. However, there are benefits to long-term acupuncture treatments as a part of your full healing process.

Which Types of Conditions Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture has been practised in Chinese medicine for centuries. However, it has also become highly popular in Western medicine, and many studies have been done to determine which conditions are best helped with acupuncture.

Studies have shown that acupuncture can help with:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Dental pain
  • Respiratory disorders

Clients also come acupuncture when they’re experiencing symptoms, but don’t understand the root cause. For example, a client with abdominal cramping and diarrhea may come to an appointment to learn where the root cause of the disorder is located. In many cases, an acupuncturist will work alongside other health professionals to provide a diagnosis and treatment.

There are many issues and conditions which can be improved with regular acupuncture treatments. If you’re uncertain about whether or not acupuncture could be a solution for you, get in touch for a consultation with our accredited acupuncturist at Urban Massage & Wellness. In the meantime, keep track of your symptoms, changes to your diet or lifestyle, and anything else that may be useful for your acupuncturist.   

Learn More About Acupuncture in St. Albert

If you’re looking for acupuncture services in St. Albert, we’d be happy to introduce you to our talented acupuncturist. Call now to book an appointment or learn more about acupuncture services.

We also have other services to help you continue living an active, healthy lifestyle, including massage therapy, manual osteopathy, and infrared treatments. Our team takes a whole-body approach to wellness, which means we can create a treatment plan that combines everything you need to approach healthy, comprehensive healing.

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