Many Big Islanders complain of the lack of adequate medical care here. But perhaps they haven’t looked into alternative medicine. Our island is blessed not only with our own Hawaii College of Oriental Medicine, but a large number of acupuncturists, who can offer healing assistance both for chronic and acute ailments.
NEEDLING ACHES AND PAINS
Clinical trials over the last 30 years have shown acupuncture to be effective in relieving pain, whether chronic lower back or knee pain, or acute pain from an injury. Having broken my foot, I used the current Western medical remedies including pain killers, the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) protocol, and physical therapy. While these were all helpful, I found Chinese medicine (which includes acupuncture, herbal medicine and Tui Na massage), had even more to offer in terms of pain relief.
Acupuncture has the unique ability to relax muscles, increase circulation, reduce pain and promote healing. During a treatment, needles are inserted into different key points along meridians that regulate bodily functions. An acupuncture treatment can move blocked Qi (energy) and restore its natural flow, reducing inflammation and eliminating stagnant fluid within the muscles and joints that lead to aches and pains. Acupuncture also works by increasing endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers.
According to Robby Wade, L.Ac., of Heaven and Earth Acupuncture & Massage in Hilo, “Because of its effectiveness in dealing with orthopedic problems, my practice is primarily focused on using acupuncture, massage and manipulation for pain relief. I use Japanese acupuncture needles which are the size of a hair, very sharp, very thin and virtually painless.”
According to a recent National Institutes of Health report, acupuncture has proven to be helpful in treating addiction, headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, lower back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. For relief of chronic pain, acupuncture has been shown to be effective in treating 55 percent to 85 percent of cases.
GETTING TO THE ROOT OF CHRONIC DISEASE
Traditional Chinese Medicine attempts to treat the cause of pain or disease and help to bring patients into a mind/body balance that aids in the restoration of health, not just a suppression of symptoms through the use of drugs.
In addition to acupuncture treatments, Doctors of Chinese Medicine may prescribe herbs to balance the system, eliminate the cause of illness, and increase vitality and longevity.
While many people use alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, only after allopathic medicine has not solved their health problem, it’s best to try Chinese Medicine first, advises Aaron Ishigo, L.Ac., of Big Island Acupuncture in Hilo. “We look for the root cause of your health problem, whether it is digestive, allergies or pain, and treat it with acupuncture and herbs. By trying acupuncture first, you can alleviate many of the side effects experienced when taking prescription drugs.”
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL HEALER
In 1974, Hawaii became the second state to license the practice of acupuncture. According to the Hawaii Board of Acupuncture, the Big Island has 95 licensed practitioners as of March 2012. Another reason to try Acupuncture is that it is now covered by many insurance policies, so check with your carrier.
Ask your physician, naturopath or friends for recommendations to an acupuncturist in your area.
For information on the Hawaii College of Oriental Medicine, or their clinics in Waimea and Hilo, see http://www.hicom.edu/.