Acupuncture opens paths to wellness
By Mike Mathes
Sarah Atkinson (inset) offers acupuncture and herbal treatments as part of her wellness and healing approach at Healthy Living Acupuncture, 55 Stafford St., Plymouth. Find her Web site at

Promoting wellness through time -tested therapeutic methods is the aim of Sarah Atkinson at Healthy Living Acupuncture in Plymouth.

Atkinson, a certified acupuncturist and TCM herbalist, points her practice to safe, effective, drug-free methods of therapy that can bring relief from a variety of common ailments and pain.

Offered in a healing environment, these therapeutic treatments focus on the goal of patient wellness.

“Acupuncture is my tool to establish harmony within the body,” she said. “Where there is harmony, there is wellness.”

Acupuncture is a therapeutic treatment with a history of more than 2,000 years. “When we can overlook what might be cultural differences and take the good from this, acupuncture can offer tremendous medicine for today’s patients,” Atkinson said. The beauty of acupuncture is that it has a proven history of benefits.

Who benefits from acupuncture?

While the wellness approach is important in acupuncture, Atkinson says that her practice deals with a lot of people seeking relief from pain.

“We have a lot of patients that may be suffering pain in either a pre-or post-joint surgery. We have treated a lot of people who feel pain as a result of knee replacements” she said.

In some cases, acupuncture treatment can provide relief from arthritis and inflammatory situations.

The holistic approach also looks at using acupuncture and diet to deal with emotional distress.

Back pain and chronic pain sufferers are also common users of acupuncture treatment.

Why does acupuncture cover such a broad spectrum of health concerns? That’s easy, according to Atkinson. The whole of one’s health is linked between digestion, exercise and the energy fields of the body.

“Like any living thing, our roots go deep. We need the energy, the fresh air and a safe environment for our bodies to fight the stress and remain healthy,” said said. To the acupuncturist, the key to health is keeping the flow of energy and circulation appropriate throughout the body.

“Wherever there is a blockage, there is a drought downstream. If we can break up the dam in the river, we can break up the pain or deficiency,” Atkinson said.

What can the patient expect?

For most people, the thought of acupuncture treatments maybe surrounded by mysticism.

This ancient Chinese art of therapy is based on historically proven methods of treating medical problems.

The first consultation is usually a 90-minute appointment. Subsequent appointments are blocked out for an hour.

At a patient’s first visit with the acupuncture specialist, a lot of time will be spent reviewing medical history, including questions about health, symptoms and lifestyle. An appropriate physical exam is conducted to include pulse and tongue diagnosis. Treatment plans are then established based on the diagnosis.

“Usually by the time we get through the first six treatments, we can tell how well things are going for the patient,” she said.

“We get a lot of people who have fears about the needles used for applying acupuncture treatment,” Atkinson said.

“Needlephobia” as she calls it, is commonplace. To overcome those fears, the practitioner works within the patient’s comfort level. “I treat you how you want to be treated. I let the patient be in control and we work on learning to breathe and relax together,” she said.

The actual needles used on the acupuncture pressure points are very narrow gauge, .36 and .38 gauge. “If anything the needle insertion might be compared to a mosquito bite or a slight sting,” Atkinson said. It is commonplace to insert approximately 20 needles at various points across the body during a treatment. Each remains inserted for a period of time to allow the body to engage in its own healing processes.

A patient might feel pressure or a small ache at one of the acupuncture points. In some cases, even a small bruise might show after the treatment.

“It’s truly amazing. When I apply acupuncture, I am really relying on the person to do their own healing. I am just the cheerleader,” Atkinson said. “It’s the body’s natural electricity and energy that makes acupuncture work.”

General services

At Healthy Living Acupuncture, Atkinson offers a wide range of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medical remedies to bring health to her patients.

Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine herbal services offered through Healthy Living acupuncture include:

Generalized Acupuncture—Custom diagnosis and insertion of stainless steel needles associated with the clients needs.

Electro Acupuncture—Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles.

Facial Acupuncture & Therapeutic Skin Treatment—Designed to support overall health and focus specifically on one inner beauty by improving muscle tone, dermal contraction, the increase of collagen production, reduce bags under the eyes, decrease puffiness, reduce fine lines, tighten pores, and promote a more radiant and youthful appearance.

TCM Acupuncture—The traditional oriental style of acupuncture that incorporates the use of 20-30 needles and is used to balance the individuals needs.

TCM/Western Herbal Formulation— Specific formulation based on the pa-tients needs.

TCM Nutrition Supplementation—

Specific supplementation based on patients needs.

Moxibustion Treatments—Technique of smoldering the dried material of the Mugwort plant (artegemsia vulgaris) over points. Moxa has the smell of strong incense as it smolders.

Cupping Treatments—A detoxification method using glass cups that create a vacuum effect when placed on the skin by means of heat.

Gua Sha—Firmly scraping the skin and breaks up lactic acid in the body.

Infertility—Treatment for both Male and Female infertility and gynecological disorders. Treatment plans are individualized to the patient’s needs and medical concerns. “We have helped many women conceive and sustain many successful pregnancies,” Atkinson said.

Sarah Atkinson founded Healthy Living acupuncture in 2004 after graduating with a Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine from the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago, IL. Sarah’s approach to personal wellness and overall health uses traditional Oriental methods along with a modern approach using a variety of customized herbal formulations, nutritional supplementation, and lifestyle coaching techniques.