Editor’s Note: Every day this week, 9NEWS Mornings will take a look at alternative pain relief.
DENVER - Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to alleviate all kinds of pain.
In some countries, it's even used as a replacement to general anesthesia when patients undergo massive procedures such as open heart surgery.
For many, it's a way to find comfort in everyday life.
Fred Gross has severe arthritis through his entire body and life was getting difficult and painful. He has one toe in particular that was extremely debilitating and doctors told him the only remedy would be surgery.
“It would have been an expensive surgery and it would've been six or seven months of recuperation,” he said. “The acupuncture allowed me to live my life with the injury and the arthritis… and it's improved my quality of life.”
Acupuncturists use very small needles and specific acupuncture points to “rebalance the body and try to get the body to heal itself,” said Abby Gehlhausen with Deep Roots Wellness. She is a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist.
The needles increase the blood flow to the area which sends a signal through the nerve pathway to the spine and into the brain.
“The brain will released neurotransmitters or natural painkillers in order to decrease pain and inflammation,” Gehlhausen said.
And during the 4,000 years acupuncture has been around, they've found it can be used for a lot more.
“ [It can be used for the] common cold, and the flu, fevers, ear infection, sore throat, coughing, asthma, any sort of respiratory issues like COPD and gastrointestinal issues,” Gehlhausen said.
Many people have a fear of needles but to give you an idea how small these needles are, Gehlhausen says they’re as thin as a piece of hair and you could put 10 of them inside one syringe you'd find at your doctor's office.
Most people get a treatment once a month, some more, some less depending on what they're trying to treat.