Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Acupunture Anyone? Going Under the Needle

I would like to think that I am a very open minded person by nature, but then again desperation tends to open people's minds like a jackhammer through glass. The cold, a strong recommendation from a friend and a skeptical curiosity combined to place me lying down one afternoon in a pleasant saffron colored room waiting calmly to go under the needle. I had been suffering with a sinus cold for over a week by the time I called Kara Szumski (great! 215-262-3103) for my 1st acupunture treatment. I have to keep it brief so I will start with this, whether it works for everything or not it sure is a nice way to spend an hour, at least with Kara it was. And no it doesn't hurt, its soothing... usually, and most of the diagnosis is done by talking and looking so there is nothing to worry about.

So here is the low down.

Acupunture is now finally becoming known to the Western world of science because of all the testimonials and studies that say it works, yet nobody knows exactly how it works. The ancient practice of manipulating the bodies energy (qi) along its channels (meridians) to clear blockages due to illness (imbalance of yin and yang) has an entire system of medicine that people study and become certified to practice, not unlike Western doctors. Qi is a tough concept as it cannot be seen or heard, its not chemical but it helps explain the unexplainable, like how our mental attitudes can effect our health.

I took my interest a bit further and went to a seminar by our very local East/West Dr. Jingduan Yang of Thomas Jefferson, who grew up with chinese medicine and acupuncture and become a Western doctor. As a strong believer in the mind's ability to effect our physical condition, his perspective on health treatment is one of the most grounded yet progressive I've ever heard and gives us all something to thing about. He looks at three dimensions in treating problems:
- Physical/Biological (Western Science)
- Energetic (Chinese Medicine)
- Spiritual (Karmic)

Where it works?
There is research to back acupuncture treatment as viable treatment for most any chronic pain inducing problem especailly the following conditions:
- Fibromyalgia
- Migraines
- Osteoarthritis

People theorize about how it stimulates the immune system and brain chemicals, but much more research is needed and coming down the pike, the Nat'l Institute of Health currently sponsors 50 trials that wil examine acupunctures ability to treat a variety of tough ailments, including:
- Physical/organ disfunction
- Ulcers
- Depression
- and possibly Obesity by supressing hunger

Everyone has to come to things on there own. For me acupuncture and chinese herbs didn't cure a horrible cold, but nothing really cures colds anyway, but believe me I'll be asking Kara for her opinion and help on all sorts of issues in the future as nobody has all the answer, they all have a piece. Plus, why would they treat animals with acupuncture if it didn't work?

For more studies and info on accupuncture, visit:

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