MONTROSE – As acupuncturist Deborah Thompson deftly popped a tiny needle into my wrist, my eyes grew wide. But didn’t hurt – at all. I breathed.
“Let’s go a little deeper, OK?” Thompson said as she tapped on the needle gently but firmly. Again, no pain. Nothing. I smiled and sighed with relief even though the needle was by then about a quarter of an inch deep into my skin.
Acupuncture is an ancient treatment, but contrary to popular notions, it is not painful, and can be used to treat a huge variety of ailments. In Far East countries, it is the primary method of treatment – for just about everything – and it works, Thompson said.
Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization in the treatment of about 80 ailments, that include substance addiction, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, sinusitis, back pain, chronic fatigue, urinary tract infections, osteoarthritis, sleeplessness, and more. It’s been mentioned as a viable treatment on The Dr. Oz Show and many Western doctors refer their patients to acupuncturists, she said.
But it’s not accepted as much in Montrose, where conservative attitudes about “new age” treatments persist, Thompson said, but she is all about changing attitudes, one client at a time.
After being away from Montrose for several years, Thompson recently returned and opened the Nu View Acupuncture and Wellness Clinic at 200 South Townsend Avenue. She also has 22 years experience as a massage therapist and in other homeopathic therapies.
Thompson understands some people’s reluctance to try something new. When she started giving massage therapy in Montrose 20 years ago, she said, people were also reluctant at first.
“This was a very conservative town, and some looked at massage as voodoo,” she said. “But I didn’t listen to the negatives. I went to beauty salons and gave owners a free massage. Good gossip in the salons – that’s how I got started.”
Since opening her clinic this time, Thompson sent out letters announcing her return to all her friends and former clients that she is now offering massage, acupuncture, injury rehabilitation, nutritional counseling, homeopathy, and specializes in acute/chronic pain control. She is nationally certified and Colorado board licensed as an acupuncturist.
The new clients she’s gotten in the past few weeks tend to be transplants from metropolitan areas where acupuncture is more accepted, but Thompson thinks acupuncture will catch on here.
“More people are becoming aware of holistic medicine, and it’s all word of mouth,” she said. “People in Montrose are not all diehard conservatives.”
Accepting acupuncture as a viable treatment option is a matter of being open minded enough to experience it, she said, and then its benefits become evident.
“I think it will catch on,” she said. “I haven’t spoken to doctors here, but doctors in Grand Junction are open to it and doctors in Iraq are using it for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).”
But how does it work?
According to Thompson’s brochure, acupuncture “activates the body’s Qi (pronounced chee) and promotes natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity and physical and emotional health. It can improve overall function and well-being…is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.”
The concept of Qi sounds foreign to Western ears, but a study published May 30 in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience cites that using acupuncture on mice stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter adnisone.
The Wall Street Journal published a story the next day on the study, stating when acupuncture was used on mice with inflamed paws, they displayed fewer pain symptoms than mice that didn’t get acupuncture.
“The compound adenosine is the key to acupuncture’s effectiveness,” the article said.
Whether it’s Qi or adenosine doesn’t really matter, from Thompson’s point of view. She just wants people to feel better and believes that acupuncture is a useful therapy for a better, healthier life, and she knows from personal experience.
“I got interested in acupuncture in 94 when I started using it myself,” she said. “I had female problems and thyroid problems and the doctor wanted to give me drugs, but I went to acupuncture instead. It relieved my symptoms and my thyroid got better and I kept going back.”
Thompson said then she decided to study acupuncture, which involves “energy, body, mind and spirit,” she said, and she knows first-hand that it works.
“Acupuncture promotes natural healing,” she said.
Thompson can be reached at 249-8882 or firstname.lastname@example.org.