Question for Jen Winer: Opioids have been in the news a lot, and we all understand the issue with opioids, they obviously offer value, but also there are issues around their use. Acupuncture is being promoted as a very safe and a very effective option for people. What is your opinion on that? How do you feel about it? What would you say to someone who’s trying to make up their mind?

Sure, absolutely, you know acupuncture has long been used to treat addictions, you know whether it’s heroin addiction, opioid addiction, you name it. It can be very very effective. I think the biggest step in helping to treat an addiction is that person wanting to quit it. You know that way they’re fifty percent there, they’re fifty percent on the way because they want to stop. And again, acupuncture as an alternative, great, especially if they’re using the opioids for pain purposes, absolutely. You know, some conditions may be that, you know, acupuncture has not been helpful, but it’s very very rare cases where it just has not helped. There are specific protocols for working with addiction and you know whether what drug it may be that is just extremely helpful.

For you know as someone, who’s debating between whether to keep pills or whether to take acupuncture, for acupuncture obviously I have to come to see you on a regular basis.

Follow up question for Jen Winer: How long does the pain treatment last? Is it like an opioid drug where I take it, and it lasts a few hours and kind of tapers off, and then I come back for my next treatment? How does that work?

Right, you’re right on. Acupuncture is a cumulative effect, so what I usually tell people is allow one to ten treatments at once a week to get a pain condition under control. We hope it’s less than ten treatments, but sometimes it can be a few more as well. It depends on how severe the condition is, how long they’ve had the condition, what exactly happened. Obviously, if you have a broken bone, that could take a little bit longer to heal. But it is a cumulative effect, so each time you come in, you might feel great that first time for that night or the next day. Then the next time you come in the hope is two or three days until we get you to that point of maintenance where it just becomes your once monthly maintenance of keeping your body at peak potential and everything’s working the way it should. So hopefully within one to ten treatments, we can clear up an issue, a problem, a condition and help the person through that and they’re on their way.

About Jen:

Jennifer Winer, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., MSOM, is an acupuncturist licensed in both MN and WI. She specializes in infertility treatments and helping patients reach their goal of pregnancy. In addition to acupuncture, she utilizes Chinese Herbal Medicine, moxibustion, nutritional counseling and more. She listens to her patients and compassionately supports them in all their healthcare choices. This video is part of our Educational Series at Trailhead Health, where our community of amazing Doctors and Practitioners share their experiences to help answer your health-related questions.