Chris Dewald: Acupuncture

Chris Dewald: Acupuncture


chris-dewald3Hello my friends.  I wrote about acupuncture in this newspaper in May 2009.  This time I underwent this Chinese medical technique and I shall start to advise you of the reasons.  You know, from my previous articles, that I write concerning health issues with a main focus on strokes.  I do  not care if you benefit from my own release of information concerning my lower back condition.  To learn at an equal pain level, one must be at that level.

“More than 2,400 years ago the father of medicine, Hippocrates, recognized and described stroke-the sudden onset of paralysis. Until recently, modern medicine has had very little power over this disease, but the world of stroke medicine is changing and new and better therapies are being developed every day. Today, some people who have a stroke can walk away from the attack with no or few disabilities if they are treated promptly. Doctors can finally offer stroke patients and their families the one thing that until now has been so hard to give: hope.

In ancient times stroke was called apoplexy, a general term that physicians applied to anyone suddenly struck down with paralysis. Because many conditions can lead to sudden paralysis, the term apoplexy did not indicate a specific diagnosis or cause. Physicians knew very little about the cause of stroke and the only established therapy was to feed and care for the patient until the attack ran its course.”


“What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points shown as effective in the treatment of specific health problems. These points have been mapped by the Chinese over a period of two thousand years. Recently, electromagnetic research has confirmed their locations.

How does acupuncture work?
Modern Western Medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works. Traditional acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through distinct meridians or pathways that cover the body somewhat like the nerves and blood vessels do. According to ancient theory, acupuncture allows Qi to flow to areas where it is Deficient and away from where it is Excess. In this way, acupuncture regulates and restores the harmonious energetic balance of the body. In Chine there is a saying, “there is no pain if there is free flow; if there is pain, there is no free flow.”

Are there different styles of acupuncture?
Yes, there are. Acupuncture originated in China but has spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, the British Isles, and America. In different countries, different styles have developed based on differing opinions as to theory and technique. Patients should talk to their practitioners about their particular style and learn as much as possible about the treatment being proposed.

What criteria should one use in choosing an acupuncturist?
Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice, and what experience the practitioner has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment. Acupuncture is a licensed and regulated health care profession in about half the states in the U.S. Ask your practitioner if your state requires a license to practice. In states that do not currently require licensing, patients should ask their practitioner if they are certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists. Acupuncturists who have passed this exam are entitled to add Dipl.Ac. (Diplomate of Acupuncture) after their name.”


After researching the basic facts, I decided to have an acupuncture treatment.

Please check with your physician before proceeding so they can say if it is advisable.

There are state laws that govern who can have a professional license. Many of the criteria are very strict. I suggest you view this site to check what the qualifications are in your state:

In the State of Virginia, the requirements to maintain a professional license are extensive. I feel good about having the service rendered:

I am a Honorably Discharged Veteran and am treated at the Staunton Veterans Clinic.  The Veterans Medical Team Nationwide wanted to offer alternatives to pain medication and asked if I wanted to try the area of acupuncture treatment.  I never experienced this other medical area, but the pain was pure evil.  I would do a jumping jack if I could alleviate that pain.  First, since my stroke, anything jumping while standing can  not be done….

The Hospital, located in Salem Virginia, could not do the acupuncture within 30 days as prescribed by law.  Therefore, a new Veteran program called Veterans Choice was approved.  I was sent to Mask Chiropractic located at 639 North Coalter Street in Staunton, Virginia.  They have a website at

Well, why was I sent?  Let us review a recent MRI taken a few months ago just on my lower back.


When I arrived for my first visit, I was greeted by a wonderful medical assisatnt by the name of Mrs. Heidi Nickell.  She made it so easy to do all the paperwork.  Her contagious laugh and smile made me comfortable.  I then met Dr. Andrew Mask.  What a delightful man and is filled with knowledge with excellent bedside manner.  His sister Dr Leslie Mask Hayes also has her practice at this location.  She is a lovelt Doctor also.

How does acupuncture work?
In traditional Chinese Medicine, there exists a meridian system through the human body. In this system, invisible passageways for energy are called meridians. There are certain points on the body (more than 360) that connect with certain organs and bodily functions. Point Groups on the body that apply to a specific organ or function are found along the same meridian. In a healthy, normal functioning body, the energy in these meridians flows freely resulting in a balanced system. When the flow of energy is interrupted from causes such as stress or injury, this energy is reduced throwing your “Qi” off balance. By performing acupuncture using the points associated with the particular meridian involved, this Qi or balance is restored.

In China and Japan, an acupuncturist is likely to start therapy as soon as possible after a stroke. However, my recommendation is a delay of 2 weeks before acupuncture for strokes caused by bleeding in the brain, 10 to 20% of strokes (instead of the usual blood vessel block or clot). The wait is due to studies showing that acupuncture opens blood vessels for better flow and decreases clotting and inflammation. These effects are desired early when arteries are blocked, but after a stroke caused by bleeding has occurred, it is safer to wait until the bleeding blood vessel has clotted and is unlikely to bleed further before providing the acupuncture.


It has been since 2006 since my first strokes in the brain stem.  I should have died, but my Neurologist told me I was saved for a reason.  I was forced to retire and now write and do presentations for Stroke Survivors and Caregivers.

The last article I used my son for one treatment just to understand how it works.  This time it was me.  I was skeptical as modern medical procedures were ingrained in me.  I come from a blood line of medical professionals and I had my EMT certification years ago.

When I went there, as you have read my MRI…Look up the word pain, there is my picture.  The pain was worse at night for 3 years.  I repeat 3 years.  A shooting pain whould start in my back, find its way down to my foot and make it feel like someone was driving a Ten Penny Nail through it.  My feet were also semi numb on the bottom.  I am being treated every other day during the week.  After the third treatment, the nail being driven through my foot was gone.  5th treatment, I could feel my foot again. The pain managed to stay resistent to about 6 inches above my ankle bone.  Two more sessions, the pain retreated to my middle thigh.

That is where the pain radiates to now.  The damage is still there and I do not know how far down the road the pain will retreat.  I do take it very easy with my back as not to intensify any return.  But now, I do not cry myself to sleep.

Yes, I am still on pain medication as my back does “Lock” up while in any seated position for no reason that is visible to me.  The EMT’s had to rescue me from a “Seated” position and it was embarassing where I was.

Thank you for reading.  This is my first hand account with acupuncture.



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