Acupuncture helps patients pinpoint health issues

By Katie Demeria

If you are suffering from arthritis, your energy may be dirty. Those battling depression may find that their energies are swampy and having a difficult time traveling through their meridians. Luckily, Dr. Virginia Hisghman can help.

Hisghman is a certified acupuncturist with Shenandoah Health Associates in Winchester. Acupuncture involves inserting small needles into different points throughout the body, and, according to Hisghman, can resolve a variety of ailments.

Putting pressure on those points, called acupoints, Hisghman said, helps to adjust an individual’s energy. Acupoints are found on a patient’s meridian, which are lines of energy that travel throughout the human body.

“Think of it like a garden hose,” she said. “Sometimes there can be too much water, or too little. Sometimes the water is too hot or cold, or it gets dirty and swampy. All these different things can be regulated.”

Energy, she said, is felt when entering different spaces, or when moving around another person. They are much more noticeable than some people may realize.

By readjusting an individual’s energy, Hisghman is able to put their body back into sync. Acupuncture, she said, is all about finding balance in life.

“There is so much stress in people’s lives today,” she said. “I don’t think they realize how damaging it can be on the body.”

Considered an Eastern medicine, acupuncture, Hisghman said, is at its most useful when combined with traditional Western medicine.

“They’re different ways of treating symptoms, and they’re both valid,” she said. “Acupuncture is useful because it doesn’t have the side effects, but sometimes someone needs to, for example, be tested to see if they have anemia, and that is done through Western medical practices. They should work together.”

As the practice becomes more mainstream, Hisghman said, acupuncture has been integrated into some major hospitals, such as Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“A lot of people are focusing on preventative medicine now,” she said. “And that is a major focus of acupuncture.”

Empowerment through knowledge of their bodies is a vital part of acupuncture, Hisghman added. Patient consultations before treatment take one hour so she can thoroughly understand their lifestyles.

“Acupuncture is all about how people can help themselves,” she said. “Nutrition is a big part of it, as is exercise.”

A lot of issues can be helped through adjusting the diet, Hisghman continued, such as depression. Many people have trouble with gluten or lactose and do not realize the trouble it is causing until they change what they are eating.

An important aspect of nutrition for Hisghman is eating locally and according to the seasons. Doing so will create a stronger relationship between the individual and the world, she said.

“It all fits together,” she added. “I always say that slow and steady wins the race. I want to encourage people to take that first step in taking care of themselves, and from there they just keep going.

“We want people to be in harmony with the environment, and with the people around them. Get well, and stay well.”

Acupuncture can be used to treat almost anything, according to Hisghman, and one of the conditions she treats frequently is infertility.

“I think of it like nourishing and tilling the soil,” she said. “If you don’t take care of it, it will get dry and nothing will grow, so it is very difficult to get pregnant. I want to help them till the soil.”

Another area Hisghman is familiar with is insomnia. She studied how acupuncture can help while at the University of Virginia.

“Kids, actually, are now having a lot of trouble sleeping, and I’d say it’s almost becoming an epidemic,” she said. “I treat them, as well, and I don’t use needles — I have special tools that I use that do not puncture the skin.”

Hisghman is also certified to do zen shiatsu, a Japanese practice, which involves using fingers to put pressure on the body, and she is able to do this for patients who are uncomfortable with needles.

As she believes acupuncture is so useful, Hisghman also offers free clinics to veterans in the area. She said it is her attempt to give back.

“We all want to live a calm, relaxed life,” she said. “And we live in the Shenandoah Valley, an incredibly gorgeous place. It should not be difficult for us to do that.”

For more information about Hisghman’s practice, go to www.healthyshen.com.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com