For more than 3,500 years, acupuncture has been providing relief to people around the world. Originally developed and practiced in China, this soothing therapy is today embraced by all patients who seek to alleviate symptoms caused by ailments that range from arthritis to migraines to the aftereffects of chemotherapy. It has even been proven effective in helping people stop smoking! Take this opportunity to join us as our acupuncture expert discusses the treatment, what to expect and its benefits.
Acupuncture draws on the belief that an energy called Qi (pronounced “chee”) circulates throughout our body, from the top of our head to the soles of our feet. When we experience good health, this energy flows unobstructed along pathways in the body called meridians. Each meridian is believed to be connected to a specific organ system, and when an energy flow is disrupted by a disease or an injury, illness or pain occurs. Acupuncture is then used to balance the flow of Qi and stimulate our body’s natural ability to heal.
Acupuncture treatments involve placing hair-thin needles of varying lengths into certain areas of the skin. The number of slender needles – as few as three, as many as 20 – and the length of time they are kept in place depends on the ailment being treated. During the treatment, the needles may be twirled, warmed or electrically energized to intensify healing effects.
Many acupuncture points are near nerves. When stimulated, the point sends a message along the nerve to the brain and spinal cord. This then causes the release of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins – chemicals our own body produces that alter or eliminate the message of pain being delivered to the brain. The release of these “feel-good” mood-regulating chemicals makes people feel better physically and emotionally. And when someone’s emotional outlook improves, their quality of life improves.
Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture bolsters the body’s nervous and endocrine (glandular) systems, and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Acupuncture decreases the inflammation associated with different diseases and relieves muscle spasms and strain.
The World Health Organization endorses acupuncture, and clinical studies have shown it to be a beneficial treatment for many conditions, including:
• Chronic pain: migraines, neck and back pain, tendonitis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis
• Digestive disorders: irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, gastritis and constipation
• Urinary and reproductive disorders: menstrual cramps, irregular or heavy periods, infertility and menopausal symptoms
• Psychological and emotional disorders: depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia
• Symptom management for adverse reactions to chemotherapy and radiation, including fatigue, generalized pain, dry mouth, peripheral neuropathy, nausea and vomiting
• Seasonal allergies
• High blood pressure
• Addictions to nicotine, alcohol and drugs
• Overweight or obesity, when coupled with diet and exercise. Acupuncture is not a magic bullet for weight loss, but can help curb appetite.
About the Speaker
Jamie Starkey, LAc is the lead acupuncturist at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine. She earned a Bachelors degree in Biology, University of Toledo, and a Masters level degree in Acupuncture, American Institute of Alternative Medicine. She further enhanced her clinical training by completing a Clinical Internship at Guang AnMen Hospital in Beijing China, Acupuncture and Moxibustion Outpatient Department, an affiliate of the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is a Diplomate of Acupuncture, National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), and holds her acupuncture license from the Ohio State Medical Board. Additionally, she is a Level II Reiki Practitioner. Jamie has served as the Secretary of Ohio Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (OAAOM) 12/06-12/08 and a member Ohio Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (OAAOM) 12/05-Present.
Jamie offers Acupuncture here at Cleveland Clinic with a focus on women’s health, oncology, acute/chronic pain management, stress-related disorders and acupuncture clinical research. “I take great pride in being a clinician of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I strive to help patients discover the ability their body has to heal itself when properly supported and brought back into a balanced state of health and wellness.”
To make an appointment with Ms. Starkey or any of the other specialists in our Center for Integrative Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, please call 216.986.HEAL (4325). You can also visit us online at clevelandclinic.org/integrativemedicine