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The Be Well Podcast - The Benefits of Acupuncture in the Primary Care Setting

Listen in or read the partial transcript below as Jacklyn Lee, DO, Family Medicine provider at Skagit Regional Health, discusses acupuncture in the primary care setting, how it can be used to treat patients and what a session may look like.

Be Well Podcast - The Benefits of Acupuncture in the Primary Care Setting

Amanda Wilde (Host): The ancient art of acupuncture is steadily gaining popularity in Western medicine. Today, we're talking about acupuncture in the primary care setting with Dr. Jacklyn Lee, Osteopathic Family Medicine Physician at Skagit Regional Health. Welcome to Be Well, the podcast from Skagit Regional Health. I'm Amanda Wilde. Dr. Lee, thank you for being here. I called acupuncture and art, but is acupuncture and art or a science or a practice or a treatment or all of the above?

Jacklyn Lee, DO: It's a little bit of all of the above. It's a form of medical treatment that involves inserting very thin needle at specific points in the body to promote healing. The needles that we use today are made of stainless steel and usually very thin it's thinner than a strand of hair. It originates from traditional Chinese medicine that believe that pain and disease arise when there's a restriction in the flow of a person's energy known as chi.

And so by placing these needles at certain points to release the restriction, the flow can then be restored to achieve rebalance and health, but more relevant to the modern times. And very interestingly recent scientific studies have shown that acupuncture treatment for pain increases specific neurotransmitters in the brain that suppress pain perception, very similar to how chronic pain medicine works.

Amanda Wilde (Host): Wow. So is acupuncture mainly used in Western medicine for pain relief or is it also a treatment that can?

Jacklyn Lee, DO: It can do both. Because sometimes when after a patient gets acupuncture, they can get complete resolution of pain and that pain may never return. Sometimes it may return, but the interval or frequency really depends on the person.

Amanda Wilde (Host): When is acupuncture helpful in the primary care setting?

Jacklyn Lee, DO: Acupuncture is used to treat various diseases and syndromes. The list is actually endless most commonly, however, it is used to treat various chronic disorders, including chronic low back pain arthritis, fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, neuropathy, chronic migraine and even cancer related pain. But it can also actually be used for mood disorders, including depression, anxiety and PTSD. More interestingly infertility, even to flip a breach baby or to induce labor. It can also be helpful for smoking alcohol, opiate dependence, sleep disorders and even for weight loss.

Amanda Wilde (Host): Wow. That's astonishing. So acupuncture can be targeted to certain conditions.

Jacklyn Lee, DO: Very much so.

Amanda Wilde (Host): Well, so let's get a feel for what an actual session is like. Can you walk us through?

Jacklyn Lee, DO: Acupuncture treatment needs to be very relaxing experience as it involves engaging and facilitating your energy. And so it is very important that you are comfortable during the entire session. So you should come wearing loose fitting and clothes as some needles may need to be placed around your elbows or behind your knees. You are typically lying on your back or stomach, or sometimes seated. Typically there is relaxing music in the background while the needles are placed. You should be in a very meditative state, by emptying your mind and focusing on your breathing. There are actually many different styles and techniques of acupuncture.

To listen to the rest of the podcast or read the full transcript, visit here.