Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

feeling fine

Examining the finer points of acupuncture

By Jane Glenn Haas

Orange County (Calif.) Register

Acupuncture works for me.

The treatment in which a trained and licensed practitioner sticks needles about my body has been practiced for centuries in Asia. It is used to treat most pain conditions, including lower back pain, shingles and other nerve pain, hand and knee pain, headaches, fibromyalgia and menstrual pain.

Official research on the effectiveness of acupuncture produces mixed results, according to the Harvard Healthbeat newsletter.

But my experience has been positive, although I would caution that results might take as many as 12 treatments.

Traditional Chinese acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely fine needles into the skin at specific "acupoints" along the body's meridians. This action can result in pain relief by releasing endorphins, the body's natural painkilling chemicals, and might affect the part of the brain that governs serotonin levels, the brain transmitter involved with mood, the Harvard newsletter says.

Edward Lamadrid, a doctor of acupuncture and founder of Integrative Health Studio in Chicago, has spent three decades studying alternative and complementary medicine. He is more direct.

The first thing to know about acupuncture is that it is not painful, he says. "The needle is so fine and thin, it parts but does not puncture like a shot needle does," he says. "Acupuncture can actually be very relaxing." Here Lamadrid answers some commonly asked questions.

When I have a treatment, the practitioner attaches electrical stimulation to the needles and leaves me for half an hour. I usually sleep deeply. Why is that?

That indicates the treatment is working. The rationale behind acupuncture is that stagnation creates the pain — through a slowdown of the chi or energy.

First the doctor overlays a meridian system on the body and primarily uses that system as the highway. There's a light out, a traffic jam if you will, and you may be asked to point to where the pain exists.

An acupuncturist typically inserts four to 10 needles and leaves them in place about 30 minutes.

Chinese or Oriental medicine is known for pain relief, but there's actually more to it. We are working on the core energy system. Western medicine just treats the physical system.

What do your patients tell you about their treatment?

Many say it is good for more than pain. A lot of them say they feel like they have had an hour's massage. I want your entire body to feel better. That's the point of holistic medicine.

To me, it is all related — from shoulder pain to digestion, for example. Western medicine is very compartmentalized by comparison.

This is an out-of-pocket treatment for most patients, right?

Some insurance plans cover acupuncture. Medicare does not.

What's the best way to locate a good practitioner?

Same as for any health professional: word of mouth. You can't learn acupuncture in a weekend. It is a four-year study program before state board licensing.

Examining the finer points of acupuncture 05/18/12 [Last modified: Friday, May 18, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  2. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  3. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  4. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.
  5. White House signals acceptance of Russia sanctions bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The White House indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept new legislation imposing sanctions on Russia and curtailing his authority to lift them on his own, a striking turnaround after a broad revolt in Congress by lawmakers of both parties who distrusted his friendly approach to …

    President Donald Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia would be blocked.