On Pins and Needles
You can honestly say Shasta Tierra’s patients are on pins and needles. One afternoon last week, Gilroy resident Marie Doherty laid on her stomach on top of a low table in the licensed acupuncturist’s center in San Jose. Soft New Age music from compact disc gave a tranquil ambiance to the comfortably lit room. Tierra began placing a double row of plastic cups on Doherty’s back, using a small suction device to pull the air out of each cup. The skin bulged up inside the cups due to the sudden decrease in pressure.
“Chinese medicine is good for internal problems,” Tierra said. “A lot of times, there’s tension built up here in the back.” Doherty comes to the office once a month for maintenance treatment” for a stomach complaint. At first, she was skeptical about acupuncture, but her son changed her mind. He was working on his masters in oceanography in Vancouver when he injured himself in a fall. Acupuncture helped considerably in healing his body. “He was so impressed with what had happened that he stopped working on his masters in oceanography and went into acupuncture,” Doherty said. He used his mom for practice, and she felt tremendous benefit from the treatment.
Tierra began studying acupuncture at the age of 18 as an apprentice to her father. If the chi is out of balance, the body suffers disease which will consequently show itself in the face and body. Properly placed, the needles stimulate this life energy, enabling the body to return to a balance where the life force is no longer blocked, she said. Think of the body’s meridian channels as a system of freeways and the energy as the cars traveling along this route. A vehicle accident blocks the traffic, causing congestion that backs up into other freeways and systems. A properly placed needle removes the blockage, and the freeway returns to a healthy flow, emptying congestion energy into other systems.
BENEFITS OF ACUPUNCTURE
Acupuncture creates numerous benefits for its patients, Tierra said. It helps people to increase their energy and lose weight and help with gynecological disorders, allergies and asthma. “If we can relax the back muscles (through acupuncture), then the lungs will move better,” she said. “The whole idea of Chinese medicine is to help body heal itself.” The alternative medicine can also help alleviate digestive disorders, headaches and migraines. Putting the body back into a stable state also help the mind, she said. People suffering from anxiety, depression negative mental conditions. “The healthier we are, the more balanced our energy is, and the more peaceful we feel,” she said. And instead of getting a Beverly Hills facelift thousands of dollars, acupuncture can improve the appearance of patients for a lot less money. Benefit include increasing the collagen levels in a person eliminating fine lines, maintaining youthful skin improving muscle tone. It also helps life drooping eyelids and decrease dark circles under the eyes.
Acupuncture is also used as a treatment for addictions, Tierra said. More than 20 hospital in the United State have incorporated acupuncture their substance abuse treatment programs. It’s also in the correctional system with several prisons use acupuncture to treat addiction. “This is very effective for drug addiction and not addiction because it release the endorphins and decrease the person’s craving a lot,” she said. Some people believe acupuncture works as a placebo but this is not the case, Tierra said. Acupuncture has had effective results on animals, which do not the psychological state to believe acupuncture’s to heal making it a placebo. “This works regardless if you think it will work or not,” she said.