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Use a topical analgesic often

Dr. Brent Garcia, DACM, L.Ac., LMT  •  March 8, 2024


For joint or muscle pain, a pain relief ointment or liniment should be applied to the affected area 2-4 times per day. This is an excellent way to relieve symptoms with very few side effects.

More importantly, topicals signal your brain to bring healing to the area. They remind the body to keep working to heal itself. That’s why you should continue using topicals even after the pain subsides until the area is back to 100% function and mobility.

There are solid over-the-counter topicals available – any of them can help.

The best: Evil Bone Water

That being said, I strongly recommend one particular product: “Evil Bone Water” by Saint Apothecary (

This liniment is based on a classic Chinese herbal formula used to heal fractures and broken bones. It is made with the finest quality herbs in an Everclear base, and it is manufactured in the USA.

Don’t let the name scare you

The actual name of this formula is Zheng Xie Gu Shui. The closer translation is “Rectify [or Heal] Evil Bone Water”…”evil” meaning damaged or broken, not evil per se.

Goes without saying, but I will say it anyway: this is to heal “evil” bones and tissue in the body.

Why it is the best

I love Evil Bone Water because it can be used for anything that is painful and needs to heal: muscle, tendon, ligament, skin, or bone.

It treats all sports injuries, strains, sprains, bruises, and spinal pain. You can even apply it on cuts and insect bites.

Evil Bone Water is currently sold only by licensed acupuncturists and at VA hospitals.

Ask me about it at your next treatment. And remember, this is for external use only.

Acupuncture for smoking cessation

cigarette butts

Ten years ago this month, I quit smoking.

It was February 11, 2008 to be exact. I had been a pack-a-day smoker for close to 15 years. Of course, I smoked the “good for you” cigarettes — American Spirit Lights or “Yellows” as I used to call them at the 7-Eleven counter. But regardless of what I told myself about how relatively healthy they were, a pack’s worth of smoke was still going into my lungs every day.

Unexpectedly, acupuncture was what helped me quit.

Earlier that winter, on a freezing cold day with about a foot of snow on the ground, I was standing outside smoking. It was so cold that my fingers began to hurt, and I had to keep switching which hand held the cigarette and which got the benefit of a glove.

Fed up with the cold, I remember saying aloud, “This is stupid!” and tossing the half-smoked cigarette in the gutter. When I looked up, I saw a sign in a the window of a clinic across the street: “Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation.”

I took that as divine providence and immediately walked across the street. Standing at the receptionist’s desk inside the clinic, I pointed at the sign in the window and blurted out, “I want that.”

Seven acupuncture treatments later, I had stopped smoking for good. I felt better almost immediately, and soon after it dawned on me how cost effective my experience had also been. After 44 days of not buying cigarettes, I had broken even. The savings from not smoking had reached the cost of the acupuncture sessions. On that 45th day, I remember thinking, “I’m now saving anywhere from $6 to $9 a day.” And that was at 2008 prices.

Equally important, this experience put the power of acupuncture on my radar. The treatments that got me to quit smoking were the first acupuncture I had ever received, my first exposure to the art of Chinese medicine, and from there I came to discover many other benefits it could provide. Ten years later, here I am — grateful every day for my decision and for the opportunity to help others improve their health with acupuncture.

If you’d like to discuss the benefit of using acupuncture to quit smoking and you are, like I was, unable to quit on your own, please reach out. From both the patient’s point of view and the practitioner’s, I know exactly what it takes for people to quit smoking with acupuncture and Traditional Asian Medicine.

I have been where you are, and I’m here to help.

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