By SAMANTHA RIG
After seeking relief from migraine pain from traditional Western doctors to no avail, a young woman turned to an alternative treatment where thin, extremely sharp needles were placed on her forehead and the top of her head.
Allyson Shrock, a senior from Ogden majoring in journalism, consulted an acupuncturist when her migraine headaches could not be helped by prescribed medicines. On the contrary, the traditional medicine made Shrock ill and caused her headaches to worsen.
“We were talking one day about my headaches and a friend said that acupuncture might work, and I said OK, I’ll try anything,” Shrock said.
“It kind of pinches because needles are stuck in your head, but there isn’t a lot of pain,” she said.
The treatment consisted of the placement of 15 to 20 needles on Shrock’s head for a 30-minute session. The treatment occurred daily at first, then three times a week and finally once a week, for a total of two months.
The migraine pain began to lessen after the first week. Although the headaches never went away completely, the pain greatly diminished, Shrock said.
Like Shrock, many people in the United States are turning to alternative medicine like acupuncture after becoming dissatisfied with Western medicine. In 1994, 9 to 12 million people visited acupuncturists for ailments like asthma, addiction, depression, obesity, back pain, muscular pain, headaches, arthritis, insomnia, and the list goes on.
“The reason the clinic gets busy is because people have relief of their symptoms and they tell other people about it,” said Dr. Gary Teal, a licensed acupuncturist in Orem.
Simplistically, acupuncture is about an energy force called qi (pronounced chee), which circulates through the body via meridians or channels. The acupuncture points on the skin along these pathways are connected to specific organs, body structures and systems, and the acupuncture points are stimulated to balance the circulation of qi.
Placing needles in one or more of the 800 possible acupuncture points in the body moves energy around. At times, excessive or insufficient qi is the cause of an ailment.
Joe Perry, a Provo martial arts instructor, had acupuncture done by a fellow instructor in New Mexico for an eye infection. After one acupuncture treatment, Perry had no more problems with his eye.
“Needles were put on my face and on my neck and on my hands and in between my toes and on my legs. And then I just laid down and really relaxed for probably 20 minutes and then my eye was fine,” Perry said. “It didn’t hurt. As soon as she put them in, I could feel electricity pulsing and I felt electricity draining from my face.”
“There are certain things that I would go to a (Western) doctor for, but a lot of times he’ll just tell you to take an aspirin and not worry about it so all it does is coat the pain but it doesn’t fix anything,” Perry said.
“Acupuncture will let you heal faster,” he said. “I don’t think acupuncture is a cure-all — I don’t think anything is, but it seems to work a lot for curing pain.