Acupuncture, A Safer Choice

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Posted Tue, Mar 18, 2014

Michael Lay stands in one of his patient rooms at Uptown Acupuncture in Denver. After first pursuing a pre-med degree Lay received his acupuncture training in Santa Barbara, Cali., and Beijing, China. [Photo by Ashley Hattle]

Michael Lay stands in one of his patient rooms at Uptown Acupuncture in Denver. After first pursuing a pre-med degree Lay received his acupuncture training in Santa Barbara, Cali., and Beijing, China. [Photo by Ashley Hattle]

DENVER — A quick prick and the needles go in your back, your neck, your hand. It’s painless, as you lay there left with your thoughts and the ambient sounds of nature echoing through the room.

Acupuncture has been used for centuries to help heal ailments anywhere from acne to glaucoma to recovering stroke victims. Michael Lay, owner of Uptown Acupuncture in Denver, is an acupuncturist who actually started on the path to becoming a doctor before pursing a more natural medicine.

“I was kind of enmeshed in western medicine,” Lay explains. “I was pre-med all through undergrad and I wanted something more holistic not so much relying on medication and surgery and it [acupuncture] was a good fit for my view of health as far as being more proactive rather than reactive.”

Chinese symbols decorate several banners around the acupuncture room adding to the relaxing ambience. [Photo by Ashley Hattle]

Chinese symbols decorate several banners around the acupuncture room adding to the relaxing ambience. [Photo by Ashley Hattle]

Often acupuncture is an after thought. Patients will exhaust all other resources before resorting to this misunderstood form of medicine. Dealing with chronic pain can destroy careers and marriages when there is no relief in sight, but acupuncture can make an immense difference.

“I have been able to go almost a month without back pain, which hasn’t happened for over three years,” says Jeri Jo Zabka. “I thought it was kind of a joke before I tried it, but was willing to try anything to get rid of the pain. I can’t believe how much it has helped me.”

The needles Lay uses vary in length and size. Depending on what part of the body Lay is working with, some needles will go a quarter inch into hands or feet. Others will be put a half-inch to an inch for the upper and lower back in order to hit the belly of the muscle. [Photo by Ashley Hattle]

The needles Lay uses vary in length and size. Depending on what part of the body Lay is working with, some needles will go a quarter inch into hands or feet. Others will be put a half-inch to an inch for the upper and lower back in order to hit the belly of the muscle. [Photo by Ashley Hattle]

This is the anthem of many acupuncture patients. Chronic pain is a common cause for someone to search for an alternative medicine to help what pharmaceuticals failed to. Medications can be over-prescribed and abused, but acupuncture is a safer choice.

“My mission it to get you functioning at your highest level by getting your body to heal itself or using natural remedies as opposed to pharmaceuticals or anything that could damage the liver,” Lay says. “Acupuncture is great because there really are not many side effects to acupuncture, maybe a little muscle soreness here and there will be about the only thing you can experience, maybe a bruise, but that’s so minor in comparison to getting better.”

Other health professionals often overlook acupuncture, it may be considered an ancient medicine but to many doctors is not a form of medicine at all. It is becoming more of an option though. It is common for Physical Therapists, Chiropractors and Acupuncturists to refer out to each other and in combination help patients as a whole.

Part of a human vertebrate is displayed down the hallway of Uptown Acupuncture. Lay’s pre-med background has helped him merge his education in order to give his patients a better understanding of the process. [Photo by Ashley Hattle]

Part of a human vertebrate is displayed down the hallway of Uptown Acupuncture. Lay’s pre-med background has helped him merge his education in order to give his patients a better understanding of the process. [Photo by Ashley Hattle]

“In certain situations all three of our specialties can help people get better faster,” says Jeremy Skeens, Ph.D. of Physical Therapy. “Not a ton of people know about it and use it but the people that do usually see some results.”

Lay specializes in sports medicine pain relief. He works with several Broncos players sometimes in their homes but mostly on Tuesdays at Denver Sports Recovery, a center founded to help professional and everyday athletes with pain. Depending on the severity of the injury or ailment Lay has seen some patients get immediate pain relief while others require several treatments.

It may be a last resort, an after thought or your go to form of pain relief but regardless, Acupuncture can offer recovery for any form of suffering.

“I definitely think there’s something to it,” Skeens says.

 

 

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Ashley Hattle

About Ashley Hattle

Ashley Hattle is a senior at Metropolitan State University (MSU). In high school, Hattle worked for the school newspaper, The Blazer, as the Executive Photo Editor and Lifestyles Editor. After high school she pursued a career in photography and attended the Art Institute of Colorado. After the Art Institute she quickly began working for a photography company in Denver. Through working as a photographer in Denver she re-found her love of journalism and has been a magazine journalism major at MSU since 2010. Hattle hopes to work as a journalist and photographer after graduation in May 2014.

View all posts by Ashley Hattle

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