The Eastern tradition of acupuncture is centuries old, and luckily has found its way to our Student Health Center.
Allison Scott, the acupuncture provider, with a Masters in Acupuncture from the University of Bridgeport, provided background information on the practice before beginning the acupuncture appointment.
“The practice of acupuncture centers on the opposing forces of Yin and Yang, as well as chi. When Yin and Yang are in harmony, chi flows freely throughout the body. When a person is sick, diseased or injured, acupuncture tries to figure out where a blockage has occurred among one of the meridians,” said Scott.
A meridian is one of the 14 major pathways through the body.
She explained that approximately 500 needles are strategically placed in a full acupuncture treatment. These areas include but are not limited to: the back, the arms, the face and even places like the back of a knee.
Each needle corresponds to a different sensation in the body. Acupuncture has a variety of usages, such as headaches, addictions, pain, painful periods, digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety and depression. Scott spoke about the various ways acupuncture unblocked certain stress pathways in the body, the use of the needles in acupuncture can help relieve shoulder tension, ease backaches, headaches and stomach issues.
Surprisingly, acupuncture can also help with anxiety and insomnia.
“Depending on the underlying root cause of the insomnia, the results may be quick or might take a number of treatments. Treatments are very calming and so stress-related insomnia often responds quickly.”
Acupuncture has been shown to be particularly effective when used to treat pain, even simple stresses resulting from bad posture. It can aid weight loss when used in combination with exercise and a healthy diet, and can even help people break a nicotine addiction.
The needles are only slightly painful, and almost feels good when placed in their correct positions. The effect of the acupuncture is almost immediate, and for many, spreads a feeling of tranquility and wellness throughout the body.
It is interesting how much it differs from the Western notion of medical care through drugs. The only chemicals that are a part of this procedure are those that exist naturally within the body.
While Scott’s detailing of the science behind acupuncture was certainly fascinating, to truly understand what acupuncture is like, one has to experience it.
This writer decided to undergo an acupuncture treatment to see if the results were on par with the historical and scientific hype.
The lighting of the treatment room had faded to all but a few candles, dim and relaxing with faint music, the acupuncturist arrived at 10:00 a.m. Fidgeting on the treatment table, it seemed perfectly reasonable to be nervous about the prospect of someone sticking a multitude of needles throughout one’s body.
She started along the nape of the neck, slowly and carefully placing individual needles along different pressure points of the body, ending at the back of the knee. Her needle placements were measured, each specific pressure point chosen as dictated by Chinese medicine.
After a few needle pricks, the treatment actually felt good; the release of tension palpable, it felt as though the “chi energy” was being unlocked.
While it could have entirely been the ambience and a willingness to be open to acupuncture, the experience can certainly be pleasant when the correct pressure points are hit.
Students who want to experience acupuncture for themselves must make an appointment beforehand, and each session lasts about 45 minutes. The dates that acupuncture is offered this fall are: Sept. 4, Sept. 25, Oct. 2, Oct. 23, as well as Nov. 6 and Nov. 20.
The dates for the spring are as follows: Feb. 5, Feb. 26, March 18, April 8 and April 22. Students pay a $30 fee, and non-students pay a $40 fee.