On Point

The finer points of acupuncture

By Alison Stanton

Raul Ferran gets a kick out of showing how he can twist around and touch his lower back with his right hand. It’s a simple movement for most of us but for nearly 30 years the Sun City resident could not do it. Among other things, he couldn’t put on a belt without assistance.

That was before he met licensed acupuncturist JoDee Chenaur. For 27 years, Raul carried around a ball and chain of pain caused by a work accident in which an 800-pound liquid oxygen cylinder fell on him, pinning him against a wall. In freeing himself, he severely wrenched his spine and back muscles.

A chiropractor helped realign his spine but the back-muscle pain persisted. Massage, pain relievers, yoga and strength training offered some relief, but it was fleeting. “I tried my best to not let the pain take over, but it was always there gnawing at me,” Raul says.

He returned to his job as a delivery driver for the oxygen company and gradually accepted his pain as a fact of life. Life went on and eventually Raul and his wife Maria E. Ferran moved from the New York City area to Arizona to retire. 

Maria was also dealing with some aches and pains. She had heard that acupuncture could help relieve pain, and her interest was piqued when she read in LiveWell magazine about Sun Health’s acupuncture services offered through the Center for Health & Wellbeing. She told Raul about it, but he was skeptical.

Maria made an appointment with JoDee and experienced positive results after one visit.  “When I noticed what a difference she had made on my healing, I managed to convince Raul to see her,” Maria says. He agreed to give it a try.

JoDee remembers being surprised by the overall tightness in Raul’s back as she examined him. “It felt like a snake was embedded in his muscles,” she said.

She used a combination of acupuncture and cupping to treat him. Cupping involves placing heated glass cups on the skin along the meridians of the body, creating suction as a way of stimulating the flow of energy.

After his first session, Raul felt like a burden had been lifted from his back. “I was able to move without pain for the first time in ages,” he says. He had three additional treatments. Now, he feels like a new person. 

“I can move my arms freely, lift things I couldn’t before and get around more easily,” he says. And he was able to return to bicycle riding, a long-lost passion.

Maria also received four treatments. “The pain on my lower back has actually dissipated, and my vertigo and fogginess are gone.”

As JoDee explains, acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific points on a person’s body; these points are located on meridians or channels.

“Acupuncture increases the flow of blood and ‘Qi,’ or energy where there may be blockages and brings the body naturally back into homeostasis or balance,” she says.

In addition to treating pain, JoDee uses cupping to assist with circulation, detoxification, anxiety, hypertension and tight muscles. 

Mei Zen cosmetic acupuncture is another speciality of JoDee’s. It can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well as treat conditions like Bell’s palsy. She also does Tui Na body work for pain and tension and Qi Gong, which involves meditation with movement.

“The World Health Organization lists over 40 items that acupuncture has been proven to help through evidence and controlled studies,” says JoDee, who has a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which took eight years to complete and included passing national boards.

“Some of the most common ailments I see are chronic and acute pain, stress, anxiety, insomnia, allergies, digestive issues, headaches and migraines, respiratory issues, fertility issues, and adverse reactions to chemotherapy and radiation.”

 During the first visit, she spends about 90 minutes completing a full intake, which includes evaluations along with the acupuncture treatment. Follow-up appointments last about 60 minutes. 

Maria and Raul say they expect to return at some point for “tune-ups” with JoDee.

“JoDee is very knowledgeable in her profession and explains the process and its benefits,” Maria says.

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