Portland acupuncture expert explains health benefits

Portland acupuncture expert explains health benefits

Marcia Mueller's first experience with acupuncture didn't just ease her pain and relieve her stress — it changed her life. "I was re-evaluating my life and thinking about what job I'd like to grow old doing," says Mueller, who holds a master's degree in acupuncture and is licensed by the state of Oregon.

She started her company, Different Drummer Acupuncture, in 1998. "I've been practicing ever since. It's the kind of job you can do into your 60s, 70s or maybe even 80s."

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

"Most of my patients come in either because of an ache, pain or little thing they figure doctors won't be able to help, or because they've done everything else. They've gone to the doctors and done tests, but the doctors say nothing's wrong. They don't know what else to do, so we try acupuncture."

When is acupuncture a good choice of treatment?

"For the most part, anything muscular, skeletal or pain-related [may be treatable with] acupuncture. Women's health issues, insomnia or stress may be treatable, too."

How does the process work?

"The patient fills out a form answering standard questions about medical history, diet, sleep patterns and the main reason they're here. We discuss it, and I formulate a treatment plan.

"I usually do the treatment in two positions. First, they lie facedown and I'll treat points on their back. I usually leave the needles in for about 10 or 20 minutes — sometimes I'll leave them for 30, depending on what's going on. Then they'll turn over and I'll do points on their front side. I might treat a patient with some type of trauma a little longer than somebody with a cold. The typical treatment could take anywhere from 15 or 20 minutes to an hour and a half.

"The number of sessions varies. If you have a pulled muscle, it might be four treatments or less. If you get in a car accident and have whiplash, it could be multiple treatments over a period of time. An internal condition might be even longer. For more acute conditions, like a car accident, I like to see them at least twice a week. Two or three visits in 10 days is more effective than three over three weeks. If they have a chronic, longstanding issue, I might see them less often but on a regular basis.

"My average price for a session would be about $70 or $80. The initial consultation can add $60 to $100 to that first visit. They can get a substantial discount if they pay at the time of service."

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