By Xueying Luo
Thomas Mcdermott laid still on the bed with one thin needle in his face and two others in his hands. For the first time in ten years, he felt less depressed.
After he served in Okinawa from 1968 to 1970, he was diagnosed with depression in 1976, which progressively became worse. He started taking medicines on and off since then. But Mcdermott has been using acupuncture, a traditional Chinese Medicine, for five months to treat his symptoms.
The NYC Chiropractic and Spinal Decompression Center will offer acupuncture and traditional Chinese Medicine therapy to its patients in April for the first time.
“I get very tired and very drowsy,” he said. Mcdermott has been taking five types of drugs since 1976. Western medicine has riddled Mcdermott’s life with side effects such as weary or unable to complete his work alone. But he has pinned his hope on acupuncture to cut back on the medication.“Had I known in 1976, I would have tried acupuncture first,” Mcdermott said.
Acupuncture, a staple of Chinese culture, provides local residents with a medical experience they may not be used to as Western and Chinese doctors diagnose diseases differently.
“We ask questions that Western practitioners will never ask,” Brian Crouse, a Naturopathic doctor and an acupuncturist, said. “We ask patients what kinds of flavors do you like, what season is your favorite, and what is the color of your poop.”
Crouse believes that traditional Chinese medicine is concerned about the person’s wellness and the body in full. In contrast, Western Medicine focuses on the disease and its cure.
“Western people don’t like needles so much,” Peg Christoff, an Asian American studies professor at Stony Brook University said. “You have to be very brave as a westerner to try acupuncture.” Christoff also thinks that adding acupuncture to the list of possible treatments could provide residents with more choices to heal.
When practitioners insert fine needles into the body, they stimulate specific points. Those points have been mapped and used by Chinese doctors over the past two thousand years, Bin Xu a licensed Acupuncturist and an Institutional Review Board member at New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said. Today there are 728 licensed acupuncturists in New York, according to the New York Education Department.
“Western Medicine is like a coin which has two sides. It helps patients to cure their diseases, and it also gives patients side effects,” Xu said. “In contrast, acupuncture is totally harmless and painless.”
Xu wishes more Americans would choose acupuncture-therapy because, he said, it can treat several different ailments, from knee pain to eye disorders, and gynecological problems.