STAY WELL AND SPARKLE: The things that needle can do!

Dr. Sam Christian
Dr. Sam Christian

Have you ever scratched one part of your body and felt a twinge in another part? Everybody has, but few notice it. When I was a teenager I was puzzled that if my left back itched and I scratched it, I would feel a twinge on the side of my right arm! That was quite a mystery because I knew from my mother’s nursing book that there was no direct nerve connection between these body parts. Back in those days if I had a G.P, I would experience that romantic longing at the lower part of my inner left knee. What was that all about?

Acupuncture is based on over 5000 years of observation. The ancient Chinese documented that a soldier surviving a shot with an arrow may recover from some chronic disease like migraine headaches. So they started sticking needles in that point and were able to get the same results. They came up with the theory that the human body had certain energy channels called meridians connecting different parts. Pricking specific locations stimulated the flow of life force (Chi) to cause healing. Over the centuries, hundreds of points over the body became associated with particular disease conditions. Yet, for the most part, the rest of the world considered it nothing more than mind-over-matter, superstitious voodoo.

I had always been fascinated with acupuncture. During my medical and surgical practice in Ohio I had to refer several chronic pain back patients to neurosurgeons. Some of the most complicated patients would come back with reports that the specialist declined to operate again, rather recommended acupuncture instead. Since I had trouble finding trained acupuncturists in Ohio I decided to go to San Francisco to study it to myself.

I trained at a world-renowned program associated with Stanford University. In my book Mannafast Miracle, I explain how the Western world first became interested in this ancient art following President Nixon’s breakthrough visit to China in 1972. James Reston, a famous New York Times reporter covering the trip, required an emergency appendectomy in Beijing. Acupuncture anesthesia is used. He remained awake throughout of the operation and actually watched the doctor reach into his belly and cut out his appendix. Reston was blown away! On his return home, he wrote a powerful article in America’s leading newspaper on acupuncture’s amazing pain relief capabilities. This prompted the Federal Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health to investigate. They eventually approved its effectiveness in treating a wide range of illnesses which insurance companies reimburse.

The biggest problem with acupuncture is the almost universal fear of the word needle. That is perfectly normal. When a phlebotomist approaches me with that rigid needle, I try to be pleasant and joking. After all, I wouldn’t want her more tense, especially if she already knows it’s a doctor she is going to work on. But to be honest with you, all the time my toes are curled tightly in my shoes. I’m praying fervently that she is experienced and will need to take only one shot! In our acupuncture training, almost all the doctors whined like babies when we had to practice on each other – at first.

That is because acupuncture needles are different. They are not hollow for drawing blood or injecting medicine or IV fluids. They are therefore extremely thin and flexible – like a cat’s whisker – so thin in fact, they do not bleed like after a blood test. There is never a need to place a cotton ball and Band-Aid. Wherever I give presentations, like at the recent Fete Lautbor health seminar at Goodwill Secondary, everyone wanted to try it. They all agreed they hardly felt anything. Acupuncture is not magic yet, the benefits can be impressive and the risk is next to nothing.

None of us are here forever. We all want to go to heaven, but we would rather hang around down here as long as we can, enjoying that abundant life. To stay well, acupuncture is best used as complementary, that is, in support of the traditional proven treatments such as medication, surgery, radiation and various forms of therapy. Dominica has benefited much from Chinese wisdom. Medical conditions which are not improving may now probably benefit from this intriguing treatment from the East.

Dr. Sam Christian is specialist surgeon, speaker and author. He recently opened a Dominica practice.

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  1. Sopkie
    July 12, 2013

    Hydrotherapy and massage like acupuncture helps the body overcome common diseases that leave no foreign chemicals behind. If the Doc would have me I would move back to DA in a heart beat.what’s the word?

  2. Too Hard Too Long
    July 8, 2013

    I remember some time ago I had a final exam at University. On that day I had the very worst migraine that had ever come my way. I was in excruciating pain and could not even see – everything was one bright light. The university nurse took me out of the exam room and sent me to am acupuncturist. When he was done, the pain has subsided tremendously. The doc reminded me that I still needed to take care of the stress that was causing the migraines n the first place.After a few hours my migraine was back. After exams, the migraines were gone.

  3. Christophine
    July 8, 2013

    welcome back Doc Christian.Thank you for deciding to return home to go give us some good alternatives to drugs that make us more sick.
    Please dont kill us with exorbitant prices for treatments. The economy is already not treating us well.
    Once again thanks for coming back home.

  4. Past Student
    July 7, 2013

    Welcome home Doc. I am happy that you have returned t give something back to Dominica. Wish you well.

    Your past student at W.H.S.

  5. Anonymous
    July 7, 2013


  6. Impressed
    July 7, 2013

    Excited about of acupuncture being offered as a additional treatment to regular medicine, especially for all joint sufferers, like myself. After applying all the oils and cream(bengay, etc) and physical therapy, I look forward to tapping the benefits of acupuncture and encourage all ‘fweyde’ sufferers to explore the same. Good job doc for offering!!!

  7. Tina Alexander
    July 7, 2013

    Nice to see the acupuncture option available in a medical context. Sometimes people go to alternative practitioners and miss the proper diagnostic process.

  8. July 6, 2013

    “Dominica has benefited much from Chinese wisdom.”

    I guess the Chinese at Ross University need to stay in Dominica and continue their residency and practice so Dominicans can enjoy more abundant life.

  9. Wonderer
    July 6, 2013

    Where is the practice located?

    Admin: On Didier Lane in Goodwill. The telephone number is: 613 8345

  10. D/can
    July 6, 2013

    Where is he located?

  11. Just saying
    July 6, 2013

    Wow doctor Christian.This sounds amazing.I would like to try that acupuncture stuff since I myself experience pain at times.I do know some people who complain about back pain. I must tell them about that treatment.

  12. Concerned
    July 6, 2013

    Where is your office located? I have always been interested in acupuncture. Is it used fir physiotherapy after surgery to bring back feeling?

  13. Morihei Ueshiba
    July 6, 2013

    Welcome back Sam, we need more patriots like you.

  14. KATE
    July 6, 2013

    I wish there was a phone number. I have a neck pain there eh, boy id go now and release some stress

  15. Dominica in antigua
    July 6, 2013

    to this doctor ill be very happy to know much more about Acupuncture I have done it some years ago and that was one of the best I feel my body ill love to have it done are next time I told people about it all the time how it make you feel good It make you feel new and ready to have some good days ahead I must say ill like to know more about it

  16. Yes
    July 6, 2013

    I am glad to hear thatt Dr. Christian has decided to come home ….so that Dominicans can benefit from the use of acupuncture as part of our medical treatment. I had first hand experience of its benefits while at university. It works.

  17. Anonymous
    July 6, 2013

    I am very intrigued.

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