Chicago acupuncture expert explains healing therapy

Chicago acupuncture expert explains healing therapy

Kelly Luby became interested in acupuncture after experiencing a treatment that made the stress of her former finance job melt away. Now, she holds a master's degree from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago and is nationally certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She's also licensed by the state of Illinois and practices at the Galter LifeCenter. "I like seeing how my treatments can positively affect lives," Luby says.

Why should people consider acupuncture instead of visiting a traditional doctor?

"I don't advise that people seek an acupuncturist in lieu of a visit to their traditional Western medical doctor, but I do think the combination of this component of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine generates better results than either can provide independently. Acupuncture — one of the oldest healing practices in the world — is the practice of using very fine needles to stimulate specific points on the body, which allows energy to freely flow throughout the body and thus restores and maintains overall health."

When is acupuncture a good choice of treatment?

"The World Health Organization lists several health conditions that respond favorably to acupuncture, including migraines, hypertension, anxiety and the common cold. Acupuncture can help just about anyone, from those suffering from conditions to those without specific problems. But precautions should be taken when patients are experiencing extreme frailty, skin infections, pregnancy, a bleeding disorder or the use of cardiac pacemakers."

How does the process work?

"During your first office visit, the practitioner might ask you several questions about your health history. During the acupuncture treatment, sterile and hair-thin needles are inserted into the body at various depths, but most people feel no or minimal pain. When the acupuncture points are stimulated, you may feel a heaviness, numbness, tingling or mild soreness.

"The number of sessions needed depends on the condition being treated — two to three visits over two weeks for acute disorders and one visit per week for three to six months for chronic diseases. Individual sessions usually last 45 to 60 minutes, and six to 20 needles are typically used during a treatment. Acupuncture works well because a person's health is dependent on the free flow of energy throughout the body. Health problems are caused by an obstruction in the body's energy flow, and acupuncture helps to remove those obstructions.

"Although more insurance companies are beginning to recognize acupuncture in Illinois, it's still not generally covered. The cost of a typical acupuncture treatment is between $50 and $120 per session."

Is there anything new in the field people should know about?

"Cosmetic acupuncture is a wonderful and healthy alternative to cosmetic surgery, Botox or other cosmetic procedures."

Do you think non-traditional medicine is becoming more common?

"The World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health have analyzed several acupuncture studies and recognize its potential effectiveness. Today, many health care institutions are beginning to implement complementary therapies into their traditional treatment programs."

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