Considering when to use acupuncture can be a difficult and confusing question. One of the questions that people struggle to answer is how do people use acupuncture in their daily lives? There are four ways that people come to use acupuncture and it is helpful for consumers to understand how this can work in their life.
Use Acupuncture as a Treatment of Last Resort:
Many people come in after exhausting other methods for their pain management or anxiety, for example. They’ve tried traditional means of treatment but they have not seen any results. I once had a patient come in complaining of pelvic pain. The doctors that she had seen all seemed to think it was coming from her condition of endometriosis. We examined the area of pain and I treated her for a muscle spasm. She started to see results when she was not getting any with her pain medications and physical therapy. She had come to me because she was in pain and had exhausted her other options. She was using acupuncture as a last resort.
Use Acupuncture as a Treatment Alongside Other Treatments:
Another person came to me because he is struggling with depression and anxiety. He is using medications and psychotherapy but he can’t seem to get ahead of his feelings of doubt, frustration and lack of motivation. In this case, we used acupuncture for boosting serotonin levels and regulating some of the other physical complaints he has to help stabilize him. In this case we were going to use acupuncture concurrently with other treatments.
Use Acupuncture as a Stand-Alone Treatment:
Mary, a 36-year-old, was having trouble conceiving and she didn’t want to avail herself of reproductive therapy treatments because she didn’t like to take medication. We had her do a temperature chart and a saliva test to see where she was “off” in her cycle. We then used acupuncture and Chinese herbs for six months to help regulate her hormones and menstrual cycles to improve her fertility abilities.
Use Acupuncture for General Maintenance:
John, a financial advisor, comes in to see me for insomnia, exhaustion, weight issues and high stress. He is in his mid-50s and he feels overwhelmed, between taking his kids to fencing practice and balancing his demanding work schedule with family life. In addition, his company has combined with another one, forcing him to learn how to sell the newer programs alongside servicing his established client’s needs. We use acupuncture to relax his tight muscles in his neck and shoulders from sitting at a desk all day to calm his mind and improve his energy. He goes to his yearly physical but he uses acupuncture, in addition, to help improve his quality of life by reducing his pain, bettering his energy and sleep.
So using acupuncture, as you can see, is highly individualized according to the needs of the person and also based on where they are in getting help with their primary complaint. Just noticing how to use acupuncture takes a lot of the guesswork out of figuring out when it’s right for you.
By Joshua Goldstein
Joshua Goldstein is a licensed acupuncturist who studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine earning his master’s degree in Oriental Medicine. He has studied with master practitioners in California and New York, has been a past secretary of the New Jersey Acupuncture Society and has taught in the Swedish School of Acupuncture and Eastern Acupuncture School programs. He works in Ridgewood and can be reached at 201-444-7150 or via email at [email protected]