Following the addition this year of acupuncture to the American College of Physicians protocol for treating chronic back pain, the treatment is now being offered at three Beaumont Health locations in Macomb and Oakland counties.
In addition, in its 2017 education blueprint for health care providers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urged physicians to consider acupuncture, particularly in treating musculoskeletal and chronic pain.
Following the recommendations, acupuncture is now offered at the Beaumont Cancer Center in Royal Oak, Sterling Heights Family Medicine across from the Troy Hospital, and the Beaumont Vein and Integrative Medicine Center in Grosse Pointe. A fourth location in West Bloomfield Township is slated to open in the fall.
As the opioid and painkiller epidemic continues to rise, acupuncture can be used to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissues to trigger the body’s natural opioids or painkillers, says Kylie Study, an acupuncturist for Beaumont Health.
Ellen Guenther of Bloomfield Township was one of the first patients to seek acupuncture treatments at Beaumont. Seven years ago, she tried acupuncture for the first time, looking for a way to relieve the pain caused by mastectomy and reconstructive breast cancer surgery.
“They caught my cancer early and I didn’t need radiation or chemotherapy,” says Guenther. “Now, every time I go in for a follow up appointment they say, ‘Whatever you’re doing, keep it up. You’re doing great.’”
Study of Beaumont Health says that the treatment can have an anti-inflammatory effect, allowing for increased blood flow and restoration of the body’s natural functions. Study left a job in immunology to earn a master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine.
“After experiencing fantastic results with acupuncture for my own health, I knew it was something I wanted to learn more about,” says Study. “I wanted to help others to manage their health with acupuncture.”
Guenther, who also suffered herniated L-4 and L-5 discs as a teenager, says that acupuncture has become a way to treat pain all over the body.
“Whenever I come in for an appointment, I tell Kylie what’s ailing me and that’s what we work on that day,” adds Guenther. “The acupuncture helps me stay active.”
Even though her pain is no longer constant, Guenther still makes her way into Study’s office on a regular basis.
“It’s so relaxing,” she says. “It’s a monthly tune up that takes me back to normalcy. I’m just not one to use medication.”