PARK CITY — Managing pain can be a long road, especially when you are tired of constantly taking painkillers. One Utah woman who turned to traditional Chinese medicine for relief instead.
Shauna Bennett is grandma to almost 14 grandkids! But keeping up with them is tough, especially when she’s in pain.
“It was, it’s a real sharp pain. It’s a nerve pain,” she said.
Bennett suffered from neck pain and migraines for decades; sometimes spending 15 days a month in bed.
She turned to medication for years to manage the pain. “For quite a few years, it was always going to be a pill that fixed me and it didn’t,” Bennett said.
Finally, she had enough. Bennett was ready to try something new.
“I didn’t want to take any more medicine for the neck pain after it started up again,” she said.
She turned to Intermountain Healthcare’s Dr. Zui Fang to start acupuncture at the LiVe Well Center in Park City.
Acupuncture is an essential part of traditional Chinese medicine. An acupuncturist places fine, sterile needles in specific sites on the body.
At first, Bennett was unsure.
“I was nervous that they would hurt and they don’t,” she said. “It’s kind of like he touches you and then you feel this tap.”
She said she barely feels anything. Unlike an injection needle, acupuncture needles are extremely thin and almost hairlike.
Bennett said the experience forces her to relax. She said Fang plays beautiful music and then gives her a Chinese massage afterward.
“That’s also very, very gentle and I think sometimes it fakes my brain out and makes me think, ‘Oh, OK, I’m just relaxing,’” she described.
Fang said acupuncture is a safe, painless and effective. “The goal of acupuncture is to promote and restore the balance of energy which flows throughout the body,” he said. “This promotes natural healing and improves overall functions by enhancing immunity, physical and emotional health.”
Fang said it’s a holistic approach to treating a variety of health problems. “[It helps] joint pain, arthritis, sciatica, and tendonitis,” he said.
He also so it can help improve mental and emotional health like anxiety, stress, and depression.
Fang said he’s seen acupuncture improve people’s condition with gynecological problems including PMS, irregular menstruation, infertility, and even digestive problems.
Generally, Fang said natural therapies have no side effects.
He said some people feel immediate relief while it may take longer for others to see results. Fang said it varies on every person’s condition.
For Bennett, though, it works! “And I was surprised at the first time. I got relief for about two or three days,” she said.
After a couple visits, she was pain free for about six weeks.
Bennett felt good enough to host Grandma and Grandpa Camp this summer with all of her grandkids. They hosted a cooking competition, played in the water, read books, and even rock climbed.
Bennett said being with her grandkids was healing. “I think that they’re the best medicine there is,” she said.