April 18, 2006
Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, but medical professionals in our country have only taken it seriously for the last few decades.
Ken Diller swears by it. He has virtually no cartilage in his right knee and only about 20 percent in his left knee.
"It reduces the pain level. I'm not into chemicals," Diller says.
That's the beauty of the procedure. Unlike injections and many pills acupuncture is natural and has very few side effects.
"It releases molecules called...endorphins, which are the body's natural pain killer molecules. Kind of like natural morphine or codeine floating around," said Dr. Jeffrey Jenkins, acupuncture specialist.
The procedure is fairly short and simple. Jenkins inserts needles into the skin. Once they are in place, he either moves them to get the energy flowing, or he adds a slight electric current.
"I can feel him snap his fingers when he hits the end of the needle, but they're so thin that you don't even feel it," said Diller.
However, there are two spots that get him every time. The procedure won't give Diller a new knee but will prolong or maybe even prevent surgery.
"It can either relieve their pain altogether or if they are going to progress to an end stage where they need a knee replacement, maybe we can buy them a few years before they have to get that replacement," said
It allows Diller to do things he couldn't otherwise. "I road the stationary bike this morning for 30 minutes [and] I walked three miles this morning," he explained.
Acupuncture doesn't relieve all the pain, but helps significantly. It also treats headaches, tennis elbow, infertility, and depression. Ancient Chinese culture describes it as moving energy flow.