Alternative Health

My Acupuncture Treatment

Earlier this year I completed a six-week trial of acupuncture to see if it would banish the pain in my butt from Piriformis syndrome, an inflammation of the sciatic nerve. It didn’t fix that, but it did do something else that I hadn’t experienced with massage or chiropractic treatment (and certainly not with ibuprofen). And I did feel better.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that uses needles at specific points on the body to diagnose and treat medical and even emotional       problems. The idea is to unblock your Qi (pronounced chee) or life-force energy, which is why, I believe, many Western medical practitioners don’t “get it.” It’s too woo-woo, plus patients end up looking like porcupines while they’re on the practitioner’s table. Nevertheless, the acupuncture needle was approved as a medical device by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996.

Practiced widely in the East for 2,500 years, and in the West for 200 years as alternative medicine, it is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and World Health Organization (WHO) to be an effective treatment for a wide range of issues:

• Stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and addictions

• Chronic pain, painful joints and arthritis, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, sciatic pain, and nerve pain

• Weight loss, digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, IBS, and colitis

• Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia

• Gynecological issues such as PMS and menopause and reproductive issues such as infertility

• Allergy, rhinitis and sinusitis as well as asthma, headache and migraines

•  Cancer and side effects of chemotherapy

I am no stranger to acupuncture. In the 1980s I considered having acupuncture for infertility, but my then-husband, a physician, was strongly against it. Later in the 1980s I did have acupuncture to curb my migraine headaches at a time when effective medications were not yet available. It didn’t eliminate my headaches, but the severity of the pain was lightened.

In the meantime, I have friends who have used acupuncture for chronic back pain, for hip pain prior to and after hip replacement, for depression and for craving for drugs.

I met my aptly named acupuncturist, Harmony, at a yoga festival in West Palm Beach. She and her partner Kim own Integrative Acupuncture in Delray Beach, Florida, which offers a range of alternative medicine options including Chinese herbs and hypnotherapy.

At our first meeting, Harmony explained the philosophy of Qi, which circulates through the body on pathways called meridians. There are 14 main meridian pathways and each is connected to specific organs and glands.