More people are seeking relief through acupuncture to treat a wide variety of conditions, including chronic pain, allergies, infertility, headaches and migraines, anxiety disorders and even wrinkles.
Patients come from diverse backgrounds with a variety of conditions, said Jill Levine, a licensed acupuncturist, who owns and operates Acupuncture Wellness Center in Hershey. Levine said many of her patients are elderly.
“They are the ones who hear ‘There’s nothing we can do’ more often,’’ Levine said. “So they are willing to try other things.”
So getting poked with needles has got to hurt, right? Not necessarily. Unlike hypodermic needles, the ones used by acupuncturists are solid and thin, around ¼ mm. In more sensitive areas, such as the ears, patients may feel a little discomfort, but it passes quickly. Patients often can’t even feel the needles going in.
“I have patients who hate needles but love acupuncture,” said Dr. Mark Foley, a family physician and licensed acupuncturist at his practice, The Wellness Point in Annville.
Location, location, location
Needles are inserted in more than 360 defined points on the body. Multiple conditions or symptoms can be treated in the same session and the points may change from session to session.
“According to what the symptoms are, and what you want to treat and the function of each point, points are chosen individually each time,” Levine said.
The U.S. military has been a frontrunner in using acupuncture to treat both physical and mental ailments. Acupuncturists Without Borders partners with local clinics around the country in the Military Stress Recovery Project to offer free acupuncture treatments to veterans and active duty military members. Levine’s center offers free treatments for military men and women and their families by appointment.