ALLIE DOUGLASS | The Sun
Dr. Rangsima Collins checks Robert Harris' pulse before performing acupuncture on Wednesday morning at the Acupuncture Clinic of West Kentucky in Murray. Collins is the owner and operator of the clinic which is located at 218 S. 12th St in Murray.
ALLIE DOUGLASS | The SunDr. Rangsima Collins inserts an acupuncture needle into a client's hand on Wednesday morning at the Acupuncture Clinic of West Kentucky in Murray.
ALLIE DOUGLASS | The Sun
Dr. Rangsima Collins inserts an acupuncture needle into Robert Harris' hand on Wednesday morning at the Acupuncture Clinic of West Kentucky in Murray. Collins is the owner and operator of the clinic which is located at 218 S. 12th St in Murray.
MURRAY —Still considered in the realm of unorthodox by many people and members of the medical community, practitioners point to acupuncture as a viable option for alleviating chronic pain when all else fails.
While many western physicians remain dubious on the claims that the traditional Chinese technique provides documented pain relief as opposed to a psychological, placebo effect, acupuncture remains a treatment option that is commonplace in Asiatic culture, said Dr. Rangsima Collins, certified acupuncturist at Acupuncture Clinic of West Kentucky in Murray.
“In China it’s very popular and you can see the results,” Collins said. “It’s about natural healing and you don’t have to take pain pills which aren’t as good for you.”
Trained in western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine at the Beijing Medical University, Collins has practiced alternative medicine for more than ten years, and in Murray for about four years, with patients ranging in age from their 20s to early 90s.
Collins said acupuncture can help in relieving pain, neurological and muscular disorders, battle anxiety and addictions, and help promote women’s health.
According to the traditional Chinese practice, extremely thin needles — about the size of a human hair — are inserted at particular points around the body — called meridian points — to promote a balanced qi (pronounce chee) or energy flow through the body.
Tradition holds that pain is the result of the blockage of qi and the precise placement of these small needles can help realign balance in the body, relieving pain and promoting a relaxed feeling.
And if that sounds a bit odd to some, those people aren’t alone, said Dr. Jeffrey Lange of Lange Chiropractic in Metropolis, Ill., who offers acupuncture at his office.
“Traditional Chinese medicine looks at the body differently than how western medicine does,” Lange said. “They look more towards energy flow, balance and creating more of a homeostasis inside the body to be healthy and fight off disease.
“When we’re brought up in the medical mindset, it’s hard for people to wrap their heads around that.”
But acupuncture is a treatment option that, nationally, has grown in popularity over the last decade. The military has used it to treat soldiers’ war wounds and California passed legislation that would make acupuncture among treatments recommended for coverage under provisions of the nation’s new health care law, the Associated Press reported.
In an article published in the September edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine, an analysis that reviewed 29 studies involving almost 18,000 adults concluded that traditional acupuncture did work slightly better than fake acupuncture — randomly placing needles around the body, as opposed to solely at meridian points — but the study only added to the debate.
“On the medical side, because the medical community can’t put their finger on exactly how it works and see it in action, they feel uncomfortable with it,” Lange said.
“There’s more research coming out using functional MRI, which basically monitors blood flow and the reactions inside the brain, and they’re seeing some pretty interesting things. So it’s opening the door a little more for people to see it work and how it works.”
Offering acupuncture for about 16 years, Lange said often times people visit his office to see if the treatment helps to alleviate their chronic pain when other treatments fail, and often times provides peace of mind.
“Some patients are at the end of their rope and they do find this very successful,” Lange said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Call Will Pinkston, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.