Pins & Needles: local acupuncturist specializes in healing arts
After dealing with asthma for years, Kim Collins had tried every traditional medicine her doctors recommended, but nothing worked.With nowhere else to turn, Collins decided to try alternative medicine.”For me (acupuncture) was kind of like the last straw,” said Collins. “I don’t like needles, but I was willing to try anything that helped my breathing.”Her search for alternative healing led Collins to Minzi Chen, a 27-year-old acupuncturist and Chinese doctor who practices medicine at the Clarke Chiropractic Center in Truckee.Chen started working for the center after moving to Truckee two months ago.”I was born into a family of doctors and knew from the time I was a small child that I, too would become a doctor,” said Chen.Indeed she did. After graduating from the Shanghai University of Chinese Medicine, Chen worked as a teacher and clinical acupuncturist in Shanghai. She also began translating Chinese to English for medical professionals throughout the world at the International Acupuncture Training Center, a center that was formed by the World Health Organization to train and educate western doctors on the benefits of acupuncture.”Acupuncture has a documented history of over 5,000 years,” said Chen. “It deals with balance and harmony in the body and within the environment.”Very basically, acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into the body, in order to induce physiological functioning.”Chinese medicine believes that the body is comprised of an intricate network of meridians and collaterals (pathways) where energy internally connects the body,” said Chen. “Disease is a result of an imbalance of energy within the system.”Acupuncture uses needles to target specific points on these pathways, where energy of the internal organs is transported to the body’s surface.Chen says that the manipulation of needles is the most crucial aspect of acupuncture.By moving the needle to different depths, patients experience a “needling reaction,” that refers to a feeling of soreness, numbness, distension or heaviness around the needle points.”It (feels) weird,” comments Collins, as Chen inserts the needles into her body. “It’s like it doesn’t hurt, but there is a definitely feeling of pressure.”It’s the fear of needles that Chen says has a tendency to intimidate most patients.”People come in, (grown) men and are so nervous or afraid of needles,” said Chen. “You have to talk to them all the time and make sure they are comfortable.”But for Collins, overcoming her initial fear was far less difficult than dealing with her asthma.”Acupuncture has worked,” said Collins. “If I’m having a hard time breathing and I come to acupuncture, I can definitely tell a difference (after I leave).”Acupuncture has also worked for thousands of other patients including people who suffer from back pain, insomnia, cataracts and osteoarthritis, patients that traditional western medicine has been unable to heal without the use of drugs.”Lots of people take pain killers,” said Chen. “It’s not good, it builds up their addiction … Acupuncture is safe and has no side effects.”During her studies, Chen said she has seen first-hand the amazing healing power of acupuncture.”My teacher in China was treating a famous dancer who had come in with an ankle sprain and had to perform that night,” said Chen. “His ankle was extremely swollen and he could barely move his his leg. (After just one session) he was able to perform that night.”But Chen does admit that acupuncture is a long-term treatment. Most people need to go through a course of 10 visits to ensure effectiveness.Dr. Thomas Clarke thinks acupuncture and chiropractics have a lot of similarities and is excited about being able to offer Chen’s expertise to the community.”I call (Chen) the real deal,” said Clarke. “We both believe in the healing and living capabilities that the body possesses and our approaches both help the body function at a higher level.”Chen and Clarke will be holding an open house to introduce Chen and her services to the public on Saturday, May 26 at the Clarke Chiropractic Center beginning at 6 p.m. For more information or to RSVP call (530) 587-5358.
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