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Mexican Indigenous Healing Inspires Acupuncture Project

By Sara Calabro

Jeya Aerenson, an acupuncturist in Eugene, Oregon, really wanted to learn Spanish. Now, the Mexican people who helped her achieve this goal are learning from her. But rather than offering language skills, Aerenson is teaching acupuncture. In February, she’s temporarily shuttering her private practice to travel to Oaxaca, Mexico, where she will educate local healthcare providers on administering the NADA protocol, five designated acupuncture points in each ear.

In a recent conversation with AcuTake, Aerenson talked about pioneering and paying for the Oaxaca Acupuncture Project, the impact of acupuncture on underserved Mexican communities, and why everyone should care about indigenous healing traditions. Keep reading

Treasure ‘The Missing Piece’

By Sara Calabro

The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein is profound in its simplicity, transformative in what it reveals. So is acupuncture.

The illustrated story is about a circular creature who feels incomplete because of his wedge-shaped cutout. On his journey to find fulfillment, he feels the sun and rain, meets worms and beetles, smells flowers, swims in oceans, and climbs up and down mountains. He meets various wedges but none are exactly the right fit. Eventually he finds what appears to be a perfect match, a wedge made in heaven. But a few rolls in, he realizes that being “fixed” actually makes him feel broken.

The Missing Piece is generally interpreted as a reflection on love and relationships. However, the book’s message also can be applied to health. Keep reading

Acupuncture Is Having an Identity Crisis

By David Simpson

Growing interest in acupuncture has led to several unfortunate attempts to label it. Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine… Acupuncture gets tossed willy nilly among these different rubrics.

Not only is this inconsistency confusing for patients, but all of these names present a number of difficulties in accuracy, cultural respect, and sensitivity. Keep reading

Acu Thank You

By Sara Calabro

I am thankful for acupuncture’s perspective on change.

Earlier this year, I moved to Eugene, Oregon from New York City, where I lived for 11 years. A spectrum of reasons, ranging widely from love to lower cost of living, factored into my decision, making it sound. Still, the inevitable barrage of changes that comes with any break in routine has at times been unsettling.

Acupuncture reminds me that change is the primary ingredient for becoming a healthier person. Keep reading

Everyone and No One Has Carpal Tunnel

By Sara Calabro

Yogis, writers, tailors, hair cutters, software engineers, carpenters, baristas… For many of these people, wrist pain is the bane of their existence. Ask, and most will tell you they have carpal tunnel. However, in a high percentage of cases, this ubiquitous diagnosis for workplace-induced wrist pain is false.

Most people whose jobs cause or worsen wrist pain are not dealing with true carpal tunnel syndrome. Rather, they are dealing with trigger points caused by repetitive strain on the arm and hand muscles. These trigger points mimic the symptoms of carpal tunnel and can be completely eliminated with acupuncture. Keep reading

Can Acupuncture Be Explained Through Science?

By Rob Benhuri

People ask me all the time if I believe in science. This is a strange question, since science is the systematic study of nature using the scientific method. Science is not an end unto itself, nor is it an organized system of beliefs. As such, there really is no way to legitimately have or lack belief in science. One can only agree or disagree with the conclusions of certain scientific experiments. But I digress…

The more interesting question, and the one I think people really mean to ask me, is this: Can acupuncture be explained through science? Keep reading

South African Clinic Is Flying High

By Sara Calabro

Ever since leaving his native country of South Africa at age 13, Gidon Levenbach has wanted to give something back. Gratitude came in the form of needles.

Immediately upon graduating from acupuncture school, Levenbach began laying the groundwork for Flying Needle Project, an organization that provides acupuncture to HIV/AIDS patients and other vulnerable populations in South Africa. Levenbach and his team of acupuncturists operate a free clinic in Cape Town, where they are making inroads toward decreasing the stigma associated with acupuncture. Just two years old, Flying Needle Project already has plans to expand into South Africa’s more remote townships.

AcuTake recently spoke with Levenbach about practicing acupuncture in South Africa, the logistics of starting a clinic in another country, and how he pays the bills. Keep reading

Wall Street Needs Acupuncture

By Sara Calabro

We’ve heard from the Buddhists. We’ve heard from the foodies. Now it’s time for an acupuncture perspective on Occupy Wall Street.

Occupy Wall Streeters have aired many grievances, but a succinct list of demands remains elusive. It’s been challenging to pinpoint exactly what protesters want because the factors fueling this movement are not strictly causal. Occupy Wall Street is not about “they did this so we want that.” Rather, the movement represents the need for a thorough investigation into the underlying values of our society.

Acupuncture is based on a similar premise. In contrast to biomedicine, which treats symptoms by isolating causes, acupuncture looks at how root imbalances affect the whole system. Keep reading

Community Acupuncture Movement Goes Co-Op

By Sara Calabro

In hopes of expanding its mission and scope, the community acupuncture movement has adopted a co-op model. The People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture, cleverly abbreviated POCA, is a multi-stakeholder cooperative that will allow patients to put muscle behind the movement.

When many of us think “co-op,” we think “food.” In a typical food co-op, shoppers pay dues and work shifts in exchange for access to local groceries. One key difference between POCA and a food co-op is that unlike at most food co-ops, where only members can shop, patients are not required to join POCA in order to get treated at its clinics. Patients who do decide to become POCA members can elect to donate labor, either as hands-on supporters in their local community clinics or as administrative volunteers for POCA projects. Keep reading