Ancient Medicine Goes Mainstream

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Feelings of excitement, nervousness, and curiosity filled Meg Yudaken’s mind as she walked into the office for the first time. All her worries dissipated when she met the woman who would be treating her. She was welcoming and sweet and full of good energy. She got Yudaken some tea and they talked for awhile about her health, diet, and daily activities.

She lay down on a table as the acupuncturist placed a warm bean bag on her eyes and turned on soft music. She put the needles into Yudaken’s feet, legs, hands, wrists, forehead, and ears. The needles didn’t hurt as they went in, in fact something about the process was very relaxing. After laying with the needles in for a while it was time for them to be taken out, Yudaken said that with each needle being removed there was a sense of release all throughout her body.

Acupuncture is a healing therapy that is thousands of years old. According to traditional Chinese medicine, there are 350 acupuncture points in the body. By inserting thin needles into these pressure points it allows the flow of chi energy throughout the body. The theory is that illness is a cause of these passageways being blocked.

Although acupuncture is thousands of years old, it has been ignored and overlooked by modern medicine. We are just now giving it the credit it deserves. Scientists and doctors have concluded that acupuncture is effective in treating up to 28 conditions ranging from low back pain, to arthritis, to depression. Unlike modern medicine, acupuncture has a wide range of health and emotional benefits stemming from one treatment.

National Health Interview Survey found that 8.2 million US citizens have tried acupuncture at least once in their lives, showing how popular this alternative medicine is.

Senior Megan Yudaken began getting non stop migraines after having a seizure in October 2015. Suffering with constant headaches, Yudaken finally found relief in acupuncture.

Yudaken said, “I know (acupuncture) is so healthy while advil and ibuprofen is so bad for you, I hate putting it in my body… After my acupuncture session was the first time since my seizure that I didn’t have a headache.”

According to a study done at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, people with chronic headaches and migraines who tried acupuncture reported a lower number of headaches per day.

Junior Hayes Estrella tried acupuncture after a sports related injury. He went to a local massage therapy and acupuncture clinic called Massage Craft in Biddeford.

Estrella said, “I got acupuncture when I was in 8th grade… I went because of an injury in soccer, there was a lot of pain in my heels. Acupuncture helped and was surprisingly relaxing.”  

Heidi Brewer, a teacher at TA Middle School, suffered from asthma and a skin rash that  doctors told her would take 6 months to clear up. After doing acupuncture for 6 weeks her skin rash was gone and asthma improved. Brewer said,  “I remember how relaxing it was. You could feel the energy moving around your body and it was a strange sensation. You feel very relaxed, almost sleepy. After the acupuncture is done you need to take a minute to get yourself together out of this dreamy state.”

What many people don’t know about acupuncture is that insurance companies offer full or partial coverage for the treatments. Teachers and administration at Thornton Academy receive a full coverage plan for acupuncture.

Alexandra LePauloue teaches language classes at the middle school and high school. She has been going to acupuncture regularly for over 3 years. LePauloue first began acupuncture to treat a neck injury acquired in a car accident, but has found that acupuncture not only improved her pain from the injury, but has addressed a whole array of other issues as well.

LePauloue does a type of acupuncture called electroacupuncture, where the needles are given pulses of electricity to allow stimulation in a larger area, rather than just where the needles are.

“I find the whole process to be incredibly relaxing. Even if I’m not tired there is something about the routine of the sensations that almost always puts me to sleep, literally,” LePauloue said.

Junior Ali Ouellette had a life changing experience from her acupuncture treatments. Until she started treatments, ADD and anxiety were an everyday struggle.

Ouellette said, “My whole life I’ve been shy and schools always been hard for me, but freshman year was probably the hardest, because of ADD and anxiety. I tried medication for a while, but I didn’t like the side effects or relying on something to make it through the day.”

After meeting with an acupuncturist, they advised Ouellette to change her diet to gluten free and dairy free. That change alone helped her ADD, though that was nothing compared to the amazing results she received after having acupuncture treatments.

Ouellette said, “I saw a huge improvement in every part of my life. While playing field hockey I was able to just focus on what I was doing and not what was going on around me, in school it was easier to participate and talk to people I didn’t know, and it even helped with my sleeping.”

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