Acupuncture has been used successfully for thousands of years to heal the body of speciﬁc diseases, relieve pain and enhance well-being. During treatment, hair-like needles are placed into the skin on speciﬁc points along a series of lines known as meridians. Exact placements are determined by pulse diagnosis. Needles open up congestion and allow energy to ﬂow freely into these areas so that healing can occur. While not a cure-all, acupuncture is remarkably effective when used in conjunction with other therapies, such as diet, herbs, and homeopathy.Patient Stories:
Cathy on seasonal allergies
I was ﬁrst diagnosed with allergies about seven years ago. It got to the point where I was suffering for over half a rear; I had allergies from March to the ﬁrst frost. . . . It got to the point where I had to sleep with an air puriﬁer on at night and take medication ﬁrst thing in the morning. Despite all this, I was absolutely exhausted. I was sleeping a lot and had trouble getting through the day. Last year, I was so physically drained that I lost about two weeks of work.Last summer I became fed up and decided I could not take it anymore, especially after the allergist said that this would get worse as I got older. The diagnosis was not encouraging. I basically felt that I had two options. One was to get allergy shots. The other was acupuncture. I decided to try the acupuncture.As a journalist, I have written some articles on asthma and acupuncture. The research I did impressed me. I spoke to several acupuncturists in Boulder last summer and learned that I should [IT the acupuncture before the allergy season started, so I waited until February. It’s been remarkable.When I went in to see the acupuncturist at ﬁrst we talked about my main concern, which was allergies. He explained a little bit about the philosophy behind acupuncture and about energy patterns in the body. Regarding allergies, he basically said that most people do not have a reaction to pollen in the air but for some reason my body was reacting to it. There was something out of alignment with the way the energy flows were working in my body. He told me that the ﬁrst treatment would get my body into alignment and that the second one would get rid of negative energy.I was comfortable with his explanation and said I wanted to get started. On the ﬁrst treatment, he placed one needle on the inside of my elbow. I didn’t really feel anything. When he hit the meridian point there was a ﬂare of intensity but it was very brief, maybe IO seconds. I was surprised and asked, “Is that it?” He said a lot more happened than I realized. Leaving the ofﬁce, I felt giddy. I couldn’t decide if it was my excitement at having done something for myself or if something was happening in my system. By the time I got home, I was completely exhausted and decided to take a nap.The next week I went back and he did the treatment to release negative energy. This involved a number of points on my back and was quite intense since the needles remained there for a longer time. I asked him to cut the treatment short since it was painful. He said that it was not pain but an intense sensation. I thought that was funny and said, “You can call it what you want but it hurts.” He cut the treatment short and I had to have it repeated at another time.Since that time, I have had a series of treatments, about I2 in all, and it has never been as intense as the second one. At most. I would feel a ﬂare sensation where the needle would go in and come out. I would never come away from it feeling sick.After the ﬁrst three or four treatments I became really tired afterwards but that shifted. Now, I usually come away feeling very energized.The reduction of my allergies is amazing. Every day I look forward to getting out of bed. I still have a little bit of an allergic reaction where my eyes sometimes are bloodshot in the morning. And sometimes I get a little bit of a headache. But it in no way compares to what I had to put up with over the last ﬁve years.For the ﬁrst time in ﬁve years I have actually enjoyed spring. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t been enjoying it until this spring when I was looking at the grass growing and the trees blooming and saying, “Isn’t this beautiful” instead of wishing for snow.
Joe on allergies
My allergies that I had gotten in my mid-20’s was getting worse and worse. I was gradually losing weight. I was physically cold a lot of the time, even in the summer heat. Different types of foods were increasingly bothering me. I had strange body odors that came and went that were obnoxious to me and other people. I had unreasonable levels of fear that just didn’t seem appropriate to the circumstances. My thinking was foggy and I needed to concentrate to get things done on the job.I went to a number of doctors and chiropractors and found little bits of help here and there.
Finally, I found a physician who said that I had indications of problems but that she did not know what to do for them. She suggested that I try some other types of healing paradigms as some of her other clients found help from alternative form of therapy. I ﬁnally decided to try acupuncture in the fall of I993 and have been receiving treatments now for the past two years.This is the best I have felt in 15 years or more. I am seldom cold. I think better. I have what I believe to be excellent energy levels. I no longer have unreasonable fears. I see great changes. I am absolutely convinced that mi condition was not psychosomatic and that the therapy is not a placebo. I kept journals and logs where I measured and tracked my condition. I can go back and pull stuff out and tell you what I did and ate on certain days. What my responses were, and how bad I felt from my allergies. I have an engineering and computer background and am very analytical. Since then, I have given up tracking because my condition has improved so much. There is no question that I am better.
Joanne on allergies, skin problems, and candida
I had a terrible case of allergies where I would break out in rashes and hives all over my body. This went on for a number of years, and I tried all kinds of treatments. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs were the only treatments that helped me. I was going to mi acupuncturist for less than a year when the skin rash disappeared. It has never renamed.I’m still getting treatments but I don’t need to get them every week anymore. Now, I just go to stay healthy energized and in balance. The cost is very little. The other treatments I tried were much more expensive.
There is no question in my mind as to whether acupuncture works. After using the treatment, my allergies and candida have completely disappeared.
Michelle on Cushing’s disease
Once my pituitary tumor was diagnosed. the doctor recommended surgery. I had the surgery but was also taking herbs. I attribute the lack of any dire side effects to the herbs I was taking. I never got the diabetes that the doctor predicted I would get, and I didn’t have to live on hormones.However, I still had a lot of residual hormonal discomfort. I was tired most of the time, and I had sleep disturbances that kept me awake during the night and made me want to sleep during the day. That was difﬁcult because my daughter was two years old. I was still very overweight and with the adenoma I gained 30 pounds in three weeks. I still had a lot of hair that you get from this illness.After a while, I found a doctor who did acupuncture. The acupuncture seemed to assist me further in balancing. He recommended herbs, homeopathic remedies at times, as well as the acupuncture. Together, these treatments have been very helpful in alleviating my symptoms. I lost some weight and, as a result, my whole body looks and feels better. Also, I have more energy. Whenever I get a flu or cold, I bounce back very quickly and am never out for more than a day.The acupuncture also assists me emotionally. When there are deaths in the family and other upsets, acupuncture helps to calm me down. I also go to my doctor’s wife for private mediation and yoga classes. One thing we have to remember is that a person is not just a body but a mind and spirit as well.When you address all three spheres, the healing, joy, and potential for growth are enhanced.Acupuncture has helped my whole family. My husband was diagnosed as having a hernia and was supposed to have surgery immediately. Instead, he went to the acupuncturist and worked with herbs. As a result, he has not needed surgery. Acupuncture and herbs have also helped my daughter when she tested positive for TB. The doctors wanted to place her on an antibiotic regime. We were very anxious about this. We brought her to the acupuncturist instead and to a doctor who uses homeopathic remedies. She is tested every six months to make sure that her TB does not become active. »I feel that acupuncture has beneﬁted me on two levels. It has had a preventive effect because I never manifested the side effects that I was expected to get from Cushing’s disease—the heart, liver, and kidney problems. I also think it has helped with some chronic issues. For instance, when I had a gallbladder attack, I didn’t need to take any medicine. The acupuncture relieved the discomfort. So, it has alleviated chronic conditions and acute conditions at the same time.
Maxine on skin problems
It started with an itch on my foot. There was nothing there to see, and yet, it was persistent. I was in a Feldenkrais training at the time so I was aware of the depths of changes I was going through. One of my classmates recommended acupuncture. Originally, I began with herbs because I was a little nervous about the needles. At some point, my doctor said that it could go a lot faster if we had acupuncture as well. I lost my fear after the ﬁrst session. The symptoms disappeared within a month.I continued with the sessions in order to deal with chronic, long-term issues. particularly issues around a certain pattern of pain. It had never occurred to me to approach this through acupuncture but once I started to know more about acupuncture as a way of looking at the human being as a system, it made perfect sense that this could be useful. So, it evolved from being about relatively superﬁcial symptoms to becoming about how I could be more of who I really am. It helped me to work through all of the different compensations that I had adopted over the years. In the past, any small change or trauma caused me a lot of anxiety. One of the things that I have been learning through all of this is how to ride wit the waves more comfortably. I may have a reaction of anxiety or a reaction of joy and come back to a kind of more comfortable neutral.I ﬁrmly believe that disease is an outcome of many small decisions that we make, many refusals to take chances and many refusals to look at certain issues. So, for me, the idea of a medical system that deals with the whole person—the spirit, the body and the intellect—and deals with it in a way that can help you through the process makes perfect sense. I always felt that, inWestern medicine, they were all so quick to give you an antibiotic or to make a particular symptom go away without looking at . . . what the role of the symptom is in the whole picture. I feel that acupuncture is. ﬁrst of all truly a preventive medicine. Second, it makes the quality of life much better. I am much more out there in the world and out there in a way that is comfortable for me.
Ruth on yeast
I went to a Western doctor because I was quite tired. I was given an extensive blood test and the results indicated that I was positive for yeast. After that, I went to see an acupuncturist. At the end of three months, I went back to the doctor to be retested and was negative for yeast. Actually, my doctor was surprised to learn that she completely cured the problem with a combination of acupuncture and cooking herbs.I have been going for acupuncture treatments for about a year and a half. Although the yeast cleared up in a three-month period, I ﬁnd that ongoing treatments continue to help me with my whole life. I feel much stronger and calmer and better able to deal with issues. It has returned me to me. I alsoﬁnd that acupuncture works as an immune system booster. I have two small children and tend to get every virus that comes down the pike. Now, when I do get something, it moves through my system faster. My body is deﬁnitely more on the offensive.
Lorraine on hepatitis A
I got very frightened one day after going to the bathroom and discovering that my urine was completely orange. I called the doctor, who said that I had hepatitis. I went to see him and he conﬁrmed this with some blood tests.There was nothing I could do, I was told, but to wait it out. Months later, the worst was over, but my liver enzymes were not dropping back to normal. I was having terrible mood swings and could not pull myself out of them.I decided to give an acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist a call. After the ﬁrst session, my mood swings stopped and my mood stabilized. That was such a relief. She told me that certain things would happen along certain timetables, and they did. She said my liver enzymes would go down in a couple of months and that is exactly what happened.I am positive that this is from the treatment. After the acupuncture, I would feel a release under my right rib cage, which is where the liver is. I also took a lot of herbs in the evening before bedtime to cleanse the liver. Then I would switch to herbs for building it up.Acupuncture, combined with herbs and diet, cured me of hepatitis. Now I am absolutely in the normal range.
Donna on pain
Two years ago, out of the blue, I had excruciating, relentless pain in my left shoulder. I can’t describe how bad it was. I couldn’t do anything I couldn’t sleep or eat or function in any way. I was aware of nothing but the pain.This went on for several days before I sought medical help. I didn’t want to go to a doctor, but I did. I was x-rayed and the doctor told me that I had calcium deposits on my shoulder, which were pressing on a nerve. He said that there was really nothing that could be done other than surgery. The surgery might impair the use of my arm slightly. I consulted a few other doctors to see if there was anything else that could be done. The general consensus was that there was no other way…Fortunately, someone gave me the name of an acupuncturist. I called and he said he thought he could help. When I went to see him, I was literally bent over from all the pain. The treatment consisted of placing a few needles in my shoulder, hand, feet and other areas. I left there with an 80 percent reduction of pain.It wasn’t just an anesthesia to get rid of pain; the treatment got to the cause of the pain. Once a week, I would return for treatment. I went back four or ﬁve times. In between treatments I noticed myself getting slowly but steadily better. It’s more than two years now and I’ve been ﬁne ever since.