The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Money

March 2, 2014

Local practitioner studied pain-relief techniques in China

An ancient art

Beckley native Kacy Korczyk was 16 years old when she received her first acupuncture treatment in Charleston.

At the time, she had recently undergone surgery on both of her legs for sport-related injuries, but even in her young age found herself struggling to bounce back.

“I had chronic pain, and I tried everything the doctors were recommending, but nothing was helping,” Korczyk said. “I had to give up some sports because of it, which was really frustrating.”

After exhausting her options for pain relief, Korczyk began doing her own research on treatment options. That’s when she discovered acupuncture.

After her first treatment, Korczyk found her symptoms had immediately improved.

“It helped so much, and I couldn’t believe that someone hadn’t given me this option before.”

After completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at West Virginia University, Korczyk decided to pursue a master’s degree in acupuncture at Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colo.

She focused on sports medicine acupuncture, and even spent a summer studying the ancient art of acupuncture in its birth place: China.

“In China, acupuncture is so common that they have it in all of their hospitals,”  Korczyk said.

Through her program at the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine, she was able to observe acupuncture treatments in the hospital, attend lectures and practice with the Chinese doctors.

After obtaining her master’s, Korczyk decided to bring her knowledge home to Beckley. Her new business, On Point Acupuncture, is located in Stanaford Medical Clinic on Stanaford Road.

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“In Chinese medicine, we think of pain as being stagnation. The main theory behind it is there are 12 meridians that run through the body, and sometimes those meridians can get blocked,” Korczyk said.

Acupuncture helps to “unblock,” or increase the circulation in those areas, which works to speed up the healing process and recovery time, Korczyk said.

“Some people think of acupuncture and just think that it treats stress or pain, when really we can treat anything that brings about a symptom,” she said.

 While the most common complaints that she sees involve lower back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain and the like, Korczyk said that she can treat anything from anxiety to insomnia and migraines to sinus pressure.

“It’s really great for arthritis, and even something acute, like an ankle sprain,” Korczyk said. “It’s really great to have acupuncture as soon as you can after a sprain to help speed up the healing process.”

With needles being the primary instrument of acupuncture, Korczyk acknowledges that it may seem intimidating at first, but she ensures that it’s an essentially painless procedure.

“It really doesn’t hurt. The acupuncture needles are so thin, they’re about the size of a hair strand,” she said. “You may feel a light prick on insertion, but there’s no pain beyond that.”

Korczyk said that acupuncture treatment not only works to diminish localized pain, but also works to treat the underlying condition causing that pain.

If a patient comes in with the complaint of knee pain, for example, Korczyk explained that needles will be put in the knee area, but will also be placed in other parts of the body in the effort of addressing the underlying condition.

Korczyk also practices cupping, another alternative Chinese medicine in which glass cups are put on the skin to create suction.

“It does leave bruises, which kind of scares people because it looks like it hurts, but it actually feels really good,” Korczyk said. “It’s like a deep-tissue massage, but reversed.”

While cupping is most commonly done on the back, it can also be performed on the legs for things like tight IT bands and tight hamstrings, Korczyk said.

“It’s usually for muscle tightness, but it’s also really great just to boost the immune system.”

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Most patients undergo an average of six acupuncture treatments to properly address their conditions, but it can be either more or less depending on the issue’s severity, Korczyk said.

“Sometimes people get off the table and instantaneously feel some relief,” she said. “Other people may wake up the next day and realize that they slept better, or that they’re feeling less pain than usual.”

Korczyk also offers acupressure treatments, which do not employ needles but still follow the same philosophy of targeting the body’s meridian system.

On Point Acupuncture is located within the Stanaford Medical Clinic on 451 Stanaford Road in Beckley.

For more information on services offered at On Point Acupuncture, visit www.on-pointacu.com or call 304-256-8227 to make an appointment.

— E-mail: bunderwood@register-herald.com

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