Experience From - Rich Schick , Mr.Bill , Peter , Rick ,
A lot of the skepticism about acupuncture is because of the classic eastern explanation of how it works. One must understand that acupuncture is an ancient medical practice and thusly the mechanism of how it works is equally old, and undoubtedly of historical interest however. The ancients shouldn't feel that bad though, because modern science has yet to provide an adequate explanation either. This however should not be construed to mean it doesn't work.
Many pharmaceuticals used in convention medicine work by mechanisms that are not understood. I often chuckle when I ask how a medicine works and am told it works by affecting this or that which exists in the brain according to this or that theory. I guess that sure beats saying "I don't know". Likewise that doesn't keep me from using the product if there is good studies showing that it works and is safe - Acupuncture meets both these criteria and is definitely safer than the vast majority of conventional medicines.
I had a muscle spasm-lower back/groin 2 weeks before Vermont 100 in July 1993. Chiropractic treatment on Tuesday, Acupuncture on Thursday, same routine the next week, then ran Vermont pain free.
I still use acupuncture and it does work. My practitioner even did it on our dog when we were having MAJOR flea and hot spot problem and it worked on the dog too (carin terrier).
I don't NEED any more proof
I've had some interesting experiences with aspects of acupuncture and running. I've studied acupuncture but use "Touch for Health" which is a real easy to use system based on acupuncture theory and other western techniques.
"Touch for Health" allows you to test the flow of energy in an acupncture meridian very easily.
My wife used to have shortness of breath when running. Whenever this happened her lung meridian tested weak. The moment I strengthened the flow she could rn on without further difficulty.
The most suprising thing with this though was related to knee pains. She started to get excrutiating pain just below and to the side of her knees. It stopped her from running longer distances or spoilt the fun of it by forcing her to take huge quantities of advil. One day after returning from a run she noticed that her gut area was very bloated. I tested her and discovered that there was an excess of energy in her "Small Intestine Meridian". I checked to find the best acupressure point to drain energy from that meridian. The point turned out to be EXACTLY THE POINT NEAR THE KNEE which was causing her pain. This point turned out to be on the "Stomach Meridian". with this in mind - next time we went running, the moment she started to get knee pain I tested her "Stomach Meridian" - it tested weak. I strenghtened it and the knee pain went away.
I obviously believe in this stuff, and use it a lot, but this amazed me. It makes you realize that a lot of pains which you may think are muscular and spend lots of money and time trying to treat may, in fact, be simple energy blockages which can be easily cured.
Several folks have written me asking for specific help in selecting an acupuncturist. I spoke with mine a few days ago and here's what he gave me (my comments in parenthesis):
You know when you've visisted a doctor or accountant or other professional for which you are paying for their services and "it didn't click", right?
Well, my approach is to first chat a moment on the phone, perhaps asking some or all of the above questions, then schedule an appointment if the phone call goes to my satisfaction.
The first eye contact is my guide. Followed quite closely by an intuitive reaction - is this person what they say they are?
If you get the willies, get out. Apologize profusely and leave. However, if your reaction is positive or neutral, then I'd recommend a session.
These average about $50 and can run for as short as 45 minutes to mine the other night: 2 hours.
Frankly I'm surprised mine doesn't charge by the hour the way my massage therapist does, even though her "hours" are generous, but he doesn't, he just works on me until he's satisfied. This is another mark of a true oriental physician. They are and should be committed to a holistic solution to your problem(s) - not a localized one.
Some good news is emerging which I saw when I lived in California and had Blue Cross insurance: insurance companies are finding that acupuncture is more effective and lest costly than western medicine, in some cases, and are becoming more willing to reimburse at least part of the session costs.
What we've found is that the acupuncturist (or preferably, DOM = Doctor of Oriental Medicine) should fill out your receipt as a treatment code not an office visit except of course the first one. This tends to get paid better.
One final note: a good DOM will utilize herbal medicine. I balked at this, more supplements? C'mon I'm swallowing enuf stuff as it is. However, I've become a FIRM BELIEVER of the combination of acupuncture/acupressure and herbal therapy so don't buy the herbs then not take them.
OK. Last final note: PLEASE try to find a DOM that is an athelete or at least exercises. It really does make a difference. Holly had a stress fracture early in our 6-month marathon training program and we are completely convinced that if our DOM had not FULLY understood the biomechanics of running she would never have finished, much less sprinted the last .7 miles with a smile on her face. We owe him a great debt of gratitude for his knowledge and attention to EVERY detail of our treatments.
Well, I'm sold on this and I hope it helps those who've written for guidelines.