La Jolla acupuncturist treats mind, body, spirit

Oriental medicine and acupuncture practioners like Amorah Kelly take a holistic approach to medicine.

Which is to say, they believe in treating the entire person, balancing body, mind and spirit.

Kelly recently moved her studio practice, Wonderworks, upstairs to Suite Q at 7742 Herschel Ave. in the Crosby Center. She now has three private treatment rooms and an outdoor patio with an environment conducive to relaxation.

Kelly talked about the primary difference between Eastern and Western styles of medicine.

“The Eastern approach is to treat the the root of the problem,” Kelly said, “whereas the Western approach is to treat the symptoms. We (acupuncturists) help the person figure out what’s going on, give them a diagnosis and a treatment. It’s a process, using the body’s own healing mechanism which is self-adjusting, self-correcting, to create well-being inside the body.”

Eastern medicine is all about balance, said kelly, adding stress is the biggest threat to the body’s natural balance. “It’s overwork,” she said, “not eating, sleeping or exercising enough.”

Acupuncture is an ancient healing art. It has been practiced for more than 3,000 years in China, and today exists alongside Western medicine in most hospitals in that country. The word acupuncture comes from two Latin words, “acus,” and “puncture,” meaning needle, and pricking, respectively. Acupuncturists insert extremely fine needles into specific points of the body, stimulating and activating the body’s self-healing mechanisms.

Kelly noted acupuncture readjusts the natural energy pathways in a person’s body, promoting even flow and removing blockages. She likened the process to a freeway system. “Energy meridians are like a freeway system, like Interstate 5 running between San Diego and Sacramento,” she said. “There are on- and off-ramps in the body. Stress is like an accident on the freeway. Cars start backing up.

“If I hurt my elbow, for example, that’s going to create an obstruction of the flow of energy, so the energy starts piling up in one’s body, and it starts to create pain and imbalance. With acupuncture, those little, tiny, gentle, so-sweet needles, they just go in there and open up the body’s mechanism for healing, moving the energy. We want to redirect the flow of energy. There are many different pathways - and healing points - along the way.”

Acupuncturists treat a wide assortment of conditions including alcohol/chemical dependency, anxiety/depression, arthritis, back pain, bladder/kidney problems, colds/flu, gynecological disorders, headaches and migraines, high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, menopausal symptoms, post-traumatic shock syndrome, sexual dysfunction and impotence, skin problems like shingles and weight loss.

One of Kelly’s acupuncture clients, Tom Gegax, 60, who lives in Minnesota but has a second home in La Jolla and splits time between the two, is a firm believer in Eastern-style medical practice in general, and Kelly’s services in particular. “Both my wife and I have been impressed by Amorah,” Gegax said. “The kinds of things Amorah and others do are just another alternative. I only use drugs or surgeries as an absolute last resort. I do zero drugs.

“These modalities (acupuncture, Chinese herbs) have stood the test of time. Do no harm is one of the great medical axioms. To me, drugs and surgery have more potential to do harm. That’s why I go to chiropractic, acupuncture and homeopathic medicine. These are natural. The worst case is that they don’t do anything, whereas synthetic drugs and surgery have risks attached to it. It only makes sense to me to do the natural things first: diet, exercise, meditation before doing drugs and surgery. Most people only come to alternative medicine as a last resort. To me, it makes more sense to switch that around.”

Kelly noted many people have to overcome an aversion to needles with acupuncture, because their only experience with them is a frightening one associated with innoculations and pain which they received as children. The needles used in acupuncture, on the other hand, are so fine and delicate that the patient hardly knows they’re there. Said Kelly: “Almost 98 percent of my patients fall asleep during the treatment.”

An acupuncture treatment takes about an hour. “When I take the needles out,” said Kelly, “they usually feel 100 times better. That will last for a couple days or weeks. I recommend follow-up visits until they feel better, or they want to work on something else.”

Kelly said her acupuncture service costs $100 for a treatment. She also works with Chinese herbal prescriptions which provide essential nutrients with healing potential to treat acute, chronic or painful conditions.

Kelly is continuously surprised by the impact acupuncture can have on a patient. She frequently treats those suffering from migraine headaches. She also treats people of all ages, though children and young adults respond more quickly to treatment.

Acupuncture can also be used to treat mental condtions. Not long ago, Kelly was called upon by a client to do just that. “A patient of mine had been coming in regularly and her son had had a psychotic breakdown,” she said. “I told her to call 911 and see a doctor, but she said, ‘I want you to treat him.’ After two or three treatments, it was quite shocking how much he’d improved.”

Kelly pointed out Western and Eastern styles of medicine, rather than being adversarial, complement one another. “It’s a beautiful blend of medicine, and a very effective way of healing,” she said.

Kelly said acupuncture helps people go with the flow. “There’s so much separation between the way we are thinking and eating and living and working and playing,” she said. “We want to create that connection. Keep that flow going. That flow is our life force: crucial.”

Call Kelly at (858) 775-1515.