Lately, me and my friends have been taking about acupuncture a lot, and I was very happy to find out that Washington has its own Chinese Medicine Man. His name is Dr. Zunli Mo and you can find him every Tuesday at the Washington Healing Arts Center on 426 E. 5th Street. Dr. Mo is a state licensed acupuncturist, and holds both Diplomats of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology in National Certification Comission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). After he graduated from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1982, with training in both Western and Chinese traditional medicine, he practiced acupuncture and herbal medicine at ShuGuang hospital affiliated with the University. In 1993 Dr. Mo moved to the USA to further his medical research and has continued his practice since. I had the pleasure of talking to him about acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and life.
Dr. Zunli Mo
Dr. Mo, what is acupuncture and does it hurt?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. It originated in China more then 2000 years ago and it is still an essential part of everyday life, along with tai chi, meditation and chinese herbal medicine. Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting tiny needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points. The needles we use are filled, not hollow, and they are no bigger that a hair. Most patients don’t feel any pain at all, and they compare the feeling to a mosquito bite. Usually there is no blood when we take the needles out.
How does acupuncture work?
The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called Chi present in every living creature. This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways that are called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. By stimulating certain points on the meridians, acupuncture works to free up the Chi energy and restore the balance in the body.
What conditions can acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture can be used to heal many chronic conditions, such as headaches, migraines, insomnia, back problems, arthritis, depression, anxiety, skin problems, digestion, chronic fatigue, pain managements, etc. (You can read what Dr. Mo’s patients say about him here)
Most patients feel slight improvement even after the first visit, but it takes from 8 till 12 treatments to alleviate all symptoms. The treatments, as well as the results, are very individual and they vary from person to person. In some cases I combine acupuncture with Chinese herbal medicine, which helps to support and keep the results in the period of time in between visits.
Is acupuncture safe and can it be practiced on children?
Acupuncture is very safe when practiced by a licensed acupuncturist. We use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient and we disinfect the area before inserting the needles. There are no age restrictions, however, if children are afraid of the needles we can still use the acupuncture principle by applying pressure and massaging the acupuncture points.
How does acupuncture work in practice? I was able to watch Dr. Mo treating a patient, and I can assure you the procedure is very painless. It all lasted for about 25 minutes, and during the treatment we continued our conversation in the relaxed atmosphere of his office. Here is the case study in photos:
It all starts with the symptoms. The patient complained of chronic pain in the top and the heel of the left foot. Dr. Mo examined the painful spots, and then found some acupuncture points on the right foot and the right hand.
When asked why he was inserting needles in the right hand, Dr. Mo referred to an interesting analogy. He explained that just like different airlines have different hub cities and use different routs to get from one point to another, acupuncture employs different points based on the individual symptoms. In other words, you might have a pin in your left foot, but you might get needles in your right hand 🙂
The patient said she could barely feel the needles going in. If the spot is more sensitive, you might experience slight pain, like sting from a bee. Feeling a rush of blood and heaviness in the acupuncture points is a sign that the chi has been activated and is moving in the right direction.
Dr. Mo proceeded to insert needles in the right foot. Then he asked the patient to stand up, to help the chi move to see if the treatments works. The patient noticed that the pain in the left foot was more tolerable.
What goes in, must come out. After about 20 min. Dr. Mo took the needles out. As you can see, there was no blood. The patient said her left foot felt much better, and the pain had died away. Dr. Mo appointed her next visit in a week, so they could achieve more permanent results.
After observing the patient for the rest of the day, I can assure you her foot definitely felt much better. We managed to do lots of Christmas shopping, which involved a lot of walking. By the end of the day she said that the pain was coming back, and she couldn’t wait to go home and soak her feet in hot water, as Dr. Mo prescribed. The patient said that she is very excited about her new treatment and would definitely give acupuncture a try as opposed to a surgery. Did I mention that the patient is my very brave mother-in-law? A big Thank You to her and Dr. Mo for letting me document her first acupuncture experience!
Willing to give acupuncture a try? You can find Dr. Zunli Mo every Tuesday at the Washington Healing Arts Center on 426 E. 5th Street in Washington, Missouri. To schedule your appointment please call 636. 795.4003 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Mo also has its practice in Chesterfield, MO. The address is 42 Four Seasons Shopping Ctr, Suite 133 (2nd floor). You can visit his website here.