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Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture as healing
It's one of the older healing methods in the world. It's been around for 3,000 years. It's also considered one of the safest. And when used properly, practitioners say the ancient Acupuncture literally has the power to heal.
The traditional Chinese medicine has been popular with thousands of practitioners in the United States.
But will Acupuncture ever become mainstream in Western culture?
News 5's Dara Newson explains in our special report, Alternative Medicine: Where East Meets West.
Well, it isn't unusual for people to cringe when they first hear the word Acupuncture. The thought of having needles poked through one's skin, may not sit well with some people.
But, Chiropractor and Acupuncturist Scott Rief in Grand Island says these days the practice is more accepted than you think.
Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems:
-Addictions like Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
And the list doesn't stop there.
"In 2003 I had cancer, started chemotherapy and then broke my leg, fell off my bike, my body was very impacted with 2 major surgery's and chemo,there were other ways that I looked at healing and one was acupuncture," said Sonya Simpson.
Simpson, 73 years old, has suffered from a number of health issues, curvature of the spine, knee pain and scoliosis. She's used Acupuncture for 12 years and says it's completely changed her life around.
"The right and left side of the body feel more connected, I feel more relaxed, less stressed, and my blood flow seems to be better," Simpson said.
The gateway to healing through Acupuncture is much like a cook book theory. The philosophers of acupuncture come up with a recipe for certain symptoms and therapy begins.
"Twelve different meridians in your body and that consists of what this energy is called, chi this energy flows through these meridians almost like a river and it comes to certain acupuncture points," said Rief.
The concept is to open the flow of energy so the body can heal itself.
This chart identifies the acupuncture points and where the needles should be placed.
Plus it's painless, with no adverse side-affects.
But the way Eastern medicine uses acupuncture slightly varies in the way Western physicians practice it.
"Typically eastern medicine base more of their treatments through the meridian system, a lot of times western medicine may not recognize that meridian system, that's probably not the first they're going to look at potentially," Rief said.
Rief says combining the two, Eastern and Western medicines, is even more effective.
"With chiropractic we make sure structurally you are aligned but we're also stimulating the nervous system, and with acupuncture we're dealing with the meridian system," said Rief.
The blend of medicines is more transparent in Sonya Simpson's life and even Rief's personal life.
"Acupuncture helps me to feel more balanced," Simpson said.
"That was one of the main reasons why I got into acupuncture. My wife was having a lot of problems with her menstrual cramps. We started doing acupuncture on her once I learned some points. Now she hardly has menstrual cramps anymore," said Rief.
Now, of course, Acupuncture may not work for everyone. But according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey an estimated 3.1 million US adults and 150,000 children have used acupuncture.
And if you thought the eastern medicine practice was just for humans think again, Acupuncture for animals is also gaining acceptance.
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