Getting a vaccination shot or having your blood drawn isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience. In fact, many of us may even try to avoid needles as much as possible, due to terrifying experiences at the doctor’s office during childhood. But Acupuncturist Lynn Littman tried to put the fear of needles to rest on Wednesday, as well as explain the benefits of acupuncture to a crowd gathered for the latest installment of the Becoming Informed series.
About 30 people got taste of what Littman referred to as Oriental Medicine. The lunch-time lecture was held in the atrium on the campus of Artman, which also houses the Becoming Center, a health and wellness center for older adults. Littman explained to the men and women how Oriental Medicine got its start in Asia some 5,000 years ago. “If something was bothering you back then – could you get an x-ray? Of course not,” she said to the crowd. She continued, explaining that the practice is based on flow of energy, known as qi (pronounced: chee.)
“The idea is that if you have enough energy in your body and it’s moving well, you’re in good health,” Littman said. “On the other hand,” she added, “when that energy is blocked, it results in illness, pains, depression, the list goes on.”
Acupuncture describes a family of procedures aiming to correct imbalances in the flow of qi by stimulating specific locations on the skin or under the skin, by a variety of techniques. The most common stimulation of acupuncture points involves penetration of the skin by thin metal needles, which are manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation. Littman passed around a sealed package of small, thin needles for members of the audience to examine as she further explained the procedures. “It may feel like a mosquito bite and then discomfort usually disappears immediately,” she said of acupuncture with needles. Some methods don’t use needles at all though, including heat treatments, she said.
One audience member, who identified himself as Joe, told the crowd that he has been getting acupuncture treatments from Littman since 2007 for treatment of back pain that stemmed from sciatica. After three months of treatments, Joe said his pain was virtually nonexistent. He continues to see her every three months for maintenance treatments.
Suzy Gutepeler, another long-time patient of Littman’s, explained that she first sought treatment for her “trigger finger” three years ago, and later for foot pain, neuropathy and shingles. “Sometimes it is a little uncomfortable,” Suzy said of the needles. “But it’s helped me,” she added. Littman demonstrated acupuncture techniques on Gutepeler, while explaining to guests what she was doing along the way.
Littman said acupuncture treatments are “really good for most pain, but not all pain.” Adding, it’s ideal to treat migraines, irritable bowel and digestive disorders, and post-menopausal symptoms to name a few.
Littman encouraged audience members to consider acupuncture to treat their various ailments. She also suggested participating in what’s known as “group acupuncture,” where two to five people are fully-dressed in the same room and receive acupuncture treatments at the same time, because it is more affordable than one-on-one treatments.
“The best thing about acupuncture is that it reduces stress, which is nice,” she said to the audience. “But then think about the connection stress has to pain and to our immune system, and you will start to see the bigger picture.”
For more information on acupuncture and The Becoming Center, contact The Becoming Center’s Director Gina Formica at 215-643-9908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynn Littman is licensed in Pennsylvania and board certified in Acupuncture by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. In addition, Lynn has earned a Master of Arts degree in Biology and is a faculty member at Gwynedd-Mercy College and the Community College of Philadelphia. She can be contacted at 267-872-6817.