It’s one of the oldest medical procedures in the world; acupuncture originates from ancient Chinese philosophy.
“The Chinese believed there are pathways that have to do with your health and well being and if they’re blocked you’ll have disease or illness,” says Leigh Reynolds, an acupuncturist on staff with Lee Memorial Health System.
Acupuncturists insert thin, sterile needles into very specific parts of the body to relieve symptoms of various diseases and conditions.
“It changes the neuro pathways in the brain, it increases endorphins which are mood elevators, it makes you feel better, it can relax you, it does a lot of different things,” says Reynolds.
Since arriving in the U.S. in the 1970s, acupuncture has been gaining acceptance. The National Institute of Health considers it a resource for treating conditions including fibromyalgia, headaches and back pain.
Now Lee Memorial Health System has pinpointed another health condition and is providing acupuncture services to people dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy.
“I’ve had neuropathy in my feet since the first treatment so I’ve kind of adjusted to that over the twelve years but my recent treatment I developed it in my fingers,” says Barbara McQuade.
Ovarian cancer patient Barbara McQuade was a skeptic, until she tried it and saw the sharp contrast in her symptoms.
“I’m thrilled that I don’t have that tingling. I’m thrilled that I don’t get up at night because my feet hurt, and you know I’m not accidentally tripping into things which when you don’t feel your toes I would a lot of times hit my toes on things.”
“Most people are very happy especially if you fix a problem that they haven’t gotten results any other way and acupuncture doesn’t have any side effects,” says Reynolds.It’s an all-natural, alternative therapy, one that’s stood the test of time.