June 6, 2013 | Vol. 111, No. 23

Acupuncture treatment to be offered at PMC beginning June 6

The Petersburg Medical Clinic, under the direction of PMC physician, Jennifer Hyer, will be offering acupuncture treatments beginning June 6.

Shelly Pope
Petersburg Medical Clinic physician Jennifer Hyer stands before her equipment in her new acupuncture treatment room. The new acupuncture treatment will begin at the clinic June 6.

“Our goal is to have more integrative medicine. We want to integrate eastern and western medicine, the best of both worlds, in order to treat the whole person,” Hyer stated. “I am beginning with acupuncture as the first modality to add to the clinic.”

Hyer spent six months training in order to offer this service to the residents of Petersburg.

“The program was specifically designed for physicians wanting to get the medical acupuncture training,” she stated. “I went to Arizona three times for week long practicums for a total of 150 hours of hands on training and 150 hours of home study.”

The first date this service will be available will be June 6.

“We already have full appointments and a waiting list for this treatment,” Hyer said. “It will be offered one day a week in the afternoon. We may add more afternoons depending on the demand for the service.”

This treatment begins with an hour long initial intake appointment in order to gather a full and thorough history and physical and view any lab tests and studies that may have been done and then the first treatment is administered. Follow up treatments are typically 30 minutes.

“Usually the treatment will involve 13 to 15 needles in which to be placed,” Hyer stated. “For chronic issues, things that have been going on for quite a while, the needles will stay in place for approximately 12 minutes. If someone comes in with a sprained ankle, we can actually promote healing in the ankle and that is more of a full half hour that the needles are left in.”

According to Hyer, some of the needles are focused on a problem area, but some others will be placed in other areas of the body for full balance within the body.

“The idea is, needling these very specific points, stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals into the body in the muscles, spinal cord and brain and then these chemicals either change the experience of the illness or trigger release of other chemicals and hormones that influence the body's own internal regulating system,” Hyer stated. “The idea is that you are causing the body to promote self healing.”

The classical Chinese explanation of acupuncture is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up in others.

According to Hyer, these meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points. The acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption and energy production activities.

“The scope of medical acupuncture is a system which can influence three areas of health care; the promotion of health and well being, prevention of illness and the treatment of various medical conditions,” Hyer stated. “It is also particularly useful in resolving physical problems related to tension, stress and emotional conditions.”

According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture is recognized as a treatment of a wide range of medical problems including digestive disorders, respiratory disorders, neurological and muscular disorders and urinary, menstrual and reproductive problems.

An initial hour-long intake appointment and treatment will cost $175, which is the same cost as a physician office visit and a half-hour follow-up appointment will cost $100.

According to Hyer, some insurance companies currently cover acupuncture costs. She states that it is imperative that the patient review their insurance policy in order to determine if these costs will be covered by their plan.

“I am very excited about this added service,” Hyer stated. “I hope it is as well received by the public as I believe it will be.”

Hyer has been in Petersburg with her family for two and a half years and has recently signed another two year contract and states she has no plans to leave the area.

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