Acupuncture Therapy: Your New Guilty Pleasure

Photo by Alexandra O'Donnell

As college students, we know that overwhelming amounts of pressure can seriously damage our health. We study, take tests, pull all-nighters and lose sleep all the time, so it makes sense that many of us suffer from stress and anxiety. But instead of going to extremes with medication, or any other self-indulging options we use to unwind, why not try acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a type of Chinese alternative medicine that involves small needles being inserted into the body at specific “acupuncture points”. To learn more about the benefits of this holistic medicine, Valley spoke with Dr. Heather Ferlitch, chiropractor and acupuncturist at Fusion Chiropractic & Acupuncture, right here in State College.

“A lot of my patients come to me because they don’t want to take medicine,” says Dr. Ferlitch. “I would say the majority of people who utilize acupuncture are looking for a way to heal themselves naturally.”

But what exactly does acupuncture do, that makes it so effective?

“What acupuncture does is bring down your Sympathetic nervous system, the system that controls your “fight or flight” response. So it allows you to truly relax,” she says.

And it definitely sounds scary– putting a bunch of tiny needles into your skin. But acupuncture is actually completely safe, has no serious side effects, and in fact, the needles are barely felt when inserted (we at Valley know, because we tried it ourselves!)

“When people think of needles, they think of shot needles,” says Dr. Ferlitch. “But acupuncture needles are different, because they’re solid and only ‘part’ the skin, not cut the skin. So it doesn’t hurt.”

With respect to stressed out college students, Dr. Ferlitch says there’s no reason to dismiss acupuncture as a form of treatment.

“Students are constantly overthinking. They have so many things going on at once, and it’s very harmful on their immune systems. An hour of acupuncture will help students get out of that constant state of anxiety and stress, it’ll help them sleep deeper, and it’s going to help their immune system fight off infections.”

And, it’s a perfect treatment for just about anyone.

“It’s not specific to any one group of people. My youngest patient right now is 10-years-old, and my oldest is 87. I have a large female population, a large male population and a pretty decent student population. Plus, there’s a huge push right now to get people off of pain medication, so not only do I work with students, but also the local VA hospital, with their veterans.” she says.

At Fusion Chiropractic & Acupuncture, students can get acupuncture treatments for a discounted rate of just $40. So if you’re looking for a safe, holistic, cost effective way to relax, acupuncture is a great alternative to traditional medicine.