Recently, we sat down with Denise Groothuizen, the new acupuncturist here at Marconi Chiropractic and Wellness, and talked about what acupuncture is, how it can help people, and how she became involved in performing acupuncture.
“Acupuncture,” Denise explained, “is a Chinese medical practice that uses needles at certain nodes within the body to create relief from pain and other symptoms, based on the theory of Qi.” Denise reassured patients that, despite involving needles, acupuncture is supposed to be generally painless. “With acupuncture,” Denise said, “a patient should not bleed or feel pain. They may feel a dull, pulling sensation that occurs as a result of their Qi being drawn to the needle.” Denise advised that, if an acupuncturist is using the proper skill, placing the right sort of needle in the right location, and using the right angle on the needle, then a patient should be able to experience a painless procedure.
While acupuncture is part of centuries of tradition in China, it is a relatively recent addition to healthcare in the West. “Acupuncture first became popular in the US when Nixon went to China,” Denise said. As Denise explained, acupuncture gained interest due to an appendectomy, specifically, the appendectomy of a member of Nixon’s press corps. While in China, the reporter suffered severe appendicitis, requiring immediate medical treatment before the organ burst. In China, for this surgery, the typical opioid-based anesthesia is not used; acupuncture is used. When the press pool – and, subsequently, the US medical community – learned that the reporter had a painless appendectomy without anesthetic, acupuncture received a great deal of interest.
Denise, an experienced practitioner, has been performing acupuncture for over seventeen years and has a Bachelor of Health Science and a Masters of Science in Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine from Bastyr University. “I enjoy being exposed to a lot of different healing modalities,” Denise explained, “I enjoy being integrative because the body is a system, not just a collection of unrelated parts.”
Denise said she was so drawn to acupuncture because it is results-oriented. She cited the use of acupuncture by hospitals, such as the Johns Hopkins Medical System, and cancer centers to treat pain associated with chronic illness and the side effects of chemotherapy. Denise smiled and explained, “My favorite thing about acupuncture is giving patients relief. If someone is snoring before I finish putting in the needles, it is because the person trusts me enough to be relaxed.”
Denise made recommendations for those new to acupuncture for their first visit. “Always have a snack and hydrate well beforehand.” Denise advised patients to wear loose, comfortable clothing, and be prepared to share fully why they are seeing her. “We are treating the whole system,” Denise explained, “so no detail is irrelevant. In the end, acupuncture can help people feel resilient and be able to deal with their symptoms.”