​Donald K. Liebell, DC, BCAO

477 Viking Drive Suite 170

Virginia Beach VA 23452 
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F 

(By Appointment Tu, Sat) 


The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions

Natural & holistic, whole-person, wellness-based Healthcare - Drug-Free & Non-Surgical Pain Relief


Distal Acupuncture:

Why are the Needles Placed Far Away

from Where it Hurts?
   By Dr. Donald Liebell

   It is clear that throughout my career, I have been oddly attracted to methods that are little-known, strange, hard-to-believe, but safe, affordable, and easy to have done... with astonishing results.  Distal acupuncture is such a method.  I began studying it recently (2016) to add to my "tool kit" of treatments to further help people with chronic pain.  Pain is the leading reason that Americans seek acupuncture.  Neck pain, upper and lower back pain are the primary conditions.  It is quite unfortunate that most doctors are unaware of how effective acupuncture can be.

   Upper back and neck pain is an epidemic.  It is largely the result of forward head postures from sitting at desks in school and at work, now magnified by non-stop usage of cell phones for texting and Internet usage.  
Most people’s neck pain comes from the spine, not from tight muscles.  Muscles get way too much attention and blame for chronic pain.

  In medicine, the term, distal means situated away from a central point.  With distal acupuncture, the area of pain is not needled.  In fact, it is typically quite far away (distal).  For example, I may likely needle your ankle and lower leg to help you with neck pain.  ​If you have right lower back pain, I will likely insert acupuncture needles in your left hand and right foot.  

  Distal acupuncture is also known as Tan or Tung Style Acupuncture, or Balance Method acupuncture.  It works by accessing energy channels that correlate with the affected area of the body, and needling them to improve nerve and circulatory function.  The remote areas seem to "talk" to one another.  With distal acupuncture I insert needles on the opposite side of the body from where the pain is… quite some distance away.    

  Distal point acupuncture offers many advantages.  Symptom relief can be dramatic and rapid.  It also requires far fewer acupuncture needles than other methods.  Plus, the patient can usually remain fully clothed.

   Because of this ability to tap into the body’s natural healing system, acupuncture can do more than just treat pain. Acupuncture has a rich history of supporting the body’s organ systems back into balance, and reducing stress.  

- Dr. Donald Liebell 

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