3 alternatives to a chill pill

Denise Wright

Taking away the pain one needle at a time

Most people would probably assume getting pierced by needles isn’t very relaxing.

But that may be a different story for people who have undergone acupuncture, a practice in which very fine needles are inserted through specific points in the body to cure disease or relieve pain.

Dr. Jeff Morris, a certified orthopedic surgeon at Holistic Points in Hudson, said most of his patients do not experience discomfort during their treatments, adding that some even fall asleep during the procedure.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Web site, acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world. Medical acupuncture, which Morris practices, stems from traditional Chinese acupuncture that has been used for thousands of years.

While medical acupuncture is different in that it is performed by a licensed physician who has been trained in both Western medicine and acupuncture, Morris explained that the main differences between the two come from the beliefs.

He said the Chinese identified meridians (energy channels in the body). They believed these meridians caused various negative symptoms when blocked.

“They used needles to re-establish the flow of these energy channels,” Morris said. “We know today that putting needles in these points release chemicals. These chemicals that are released affect the body’s own regulating system.”

As a result, Morris said,

acupuncture can lead to an improved immune system as well as a better mood, among other things.

“Generally, patients come in with one main complaint,” Morris said. “But, I’ll often end up treating many things at one time.”

Dr. Randy Dunn, who is licensed in acupuncture and practices at the Natural Health Center of Akron, said he finds acupuncture to be especially helpful for problem areas such as smoking, weight loss and infertility, adding that acupuncture has been found to help more than 2,000 conditions.

Morris said most treatments involve anywhere from five to 25 needles and last about 30 to 60 minutes. A low voltage of electric current is often added to enhance treatments.

Morris and Dunn said although the needles are about the size of a human hair, patients who are afraid of working with needles can choose to use a laser treatment instead.

To add to the benefits of the treatment, Morris provides patients with information on acupressure, which is similar to acupuncture but doesn’t require needles – only targeted pressure.

“(Acupuncture) is good for your body to promote well-being and fight disease,” Morris said. “It’s preventative as well as therapeutic. In this age, with everything being so hectic, it’s important to have that holistic approach to treatment.”

Contact features reporter Denise Wright at [email protected].