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Pins and needles help ease the pain

By B. Adam Burke
North Liberty Leader
NORTH LIBERTY- First, let me explain that it didn’t hurt a bit.
It didn’t hurt when Jason Burke (no relation) placed acupuncture needles into my hand, elbow, knee, and foot. It didn’t even hurt when he set tiny needles in my face and scalp. He tapped each one, angled just so, at particular depths and precise points.
Last week, I called North Liberty Acupuncture and talked to Jason Burke, L.Ac. (licensed acupuncturist), about a consultation. He listened intently and spoke freely about his practice. He suggested downloading a patient intake form before my appointment, so I brought the general history to his recently-opened clinic in North Liberty.
Jason has adopted a nine-year old pug, Sophie, and she greets all the clinic’s patients in a very agreeable manner. Jason admitted he’s still getting used to Sophie’s enthusiastic interactions with patients but I thought of her as part of the clinic staff and we got along fine.
Jason said patients often come to him dissatisfied with past care, when other treatments have failed and pain sufferers cannot find relief at a hospital or through physical therapy or prescribed medication.
Here, patients are approached with highly individualized treatment. In contrast to a doctor visit covered by insurance, Jason said his clients discover what works for them through an interactive relationship.
He said his practice “has to be very responsive to people’s needs,” and that “people see value in it.”
I’m no skeptic; there must be something to a 3,000-year-old medical treatment, whether it’s Japanese, Tung, Balance method or Traditional Chinese. Jason employs all these forms of treatment where appropriate.
Acupuncture’s effectiveness operates through different mechanisms on many levels in the body. Studies have noted its function in regulating inflammation and cortisol production, suppression of activity in the brain’s limbic system, and the release of endorphins, Jason said.
“What’s understood best is how it treats pain.”
Jason studied my intake form and I expanded on some of the details. We discussed some specific areas of attention and then he began to apply some needles.
Acupuncture needles are not like hypodermics; they are much finer. There were tiny dots of blood when removed, but the most I ever felt was a brief tingle when Jason put one in my wrist.
After he placed several pins, I lay still and relaxed. Jason left and after several minutes came back to remove some needles and place another ten or so in different points.
This time I felt a sense of alert relaxedness; not quite trance-like or meditative but a sort of calmness coupled with heightened awareness.
After my session, Jason told me he began with a Japanese method and then moved into Chinese techniques. Jason is schooled in several other types of techniques and also creates customized herbal treatments from herbs, mushrooms, minerals and animal by-products.
The North Liberty Acupuncture Clinic is located at 185 Highway 965 in North Liberty. The website can be found at www.northlibertyacupuncture.com.
Jason received a master’s degree from Emperor’s College in Santa Monica, Calif., and began his interest in acupuncture when a friend received treatment over 12 years ago.
His mission?
“Getting the body to fix itself.”
Back pain is the most common problem he addresses, followed by headaches/migraines, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Jason added, “Acupuncture may be the best option for women’s health issues.”
He has the benefit of a wide range of place and experiences in healing through acupuncture and herbal consultations, having worked in Colorado, Dubuque, Iowa City, and Portland, Ore.
“I love seeing the look on a skeptic’s face when they realize this is working after other treatments have failed,” he said. “Pain is the great opener of minds.”
It may be an after-effect of the treatment, but I think he’s right.