Acupuncture offers an alternative, gentle form of medicine

The room is darkened, and flute music plays softly. Then I barely feel the first stick.
Acupuncture needles are very tiny, just the thickness of a few hairs — not at all the vast implement some people think of when they envision acupuncture.
By the third stick, I feel an overwhelming desire to close my eyes. A fourth stick, and I am left alone — just me, the needles and the low hum of Southland Drive traffic outside. Fifteen minutes later, my eyes open and the perpetual knot between my shoulders has untangled.
Before this very minor acupuncture experience, Kathleen Fluhart read the pulses corresponding to various organs and body systems on each arm. She read the pulses before and after the treatment by gently pressing various points around the wrist and lower arm.
For those undergoing a full acupuncture treatment, the experience might involve several treatments with the one-use, variable-size needles — one size for digestive problems, say, one for pain and one "seasonal" treatment, which is a sort of tune-up for all body systems that Fluhart recommends that patients receive five times a year.

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