How Acupuncture Works and How It Can Benefit You

The idea of being a human pincushion may not be the height of relaxation for everyone, but we’re here to argue that acupuncture can indeed be just that. Traditional Chinese medicine, herbalism, and acupuncture are practices that have existed for thousands of years and benefited people greatly around the world. These practices aren’t that common in our area, so imagine how grateful we are to have a skilled practitioner of these healing techniques right on our campus.


Meet Jamie Jackson:

Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Jamie moved to Colorado after completing her bachelor’s degree in biology. She spent years working in veterinary medicine and for Donor Alliance (a non-profit organization specializing in organ and tissue recovery for transplant). While in Denver, she was introduced to acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments when seeking medical help for her beloved dog, Moose, as he battled neuropathy. The benefits she saw in him developed a passion and love for Chinese medicine that would spur Jamie to obtain a master’s degree in Chinese medicine.

In December, 2011, she graduated from The Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and became a licensed acupuncturist in the State of Colorado. In 2016, she became a licensed acupuncturist in the State of Tennessee. Jamie was awarded Diplomate status from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and has obtained a Clean Needle Certification from the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

After many years of living and practicing in Colorado, she and her family moved to Chattanooga in 2016. Jamie enjoys being on her bicycle, trail running, yoga and exploring all that Chattanooga offers. Because of her active lifestyle, she understands, firsthand, how beat up our bodies can get. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine helped her mend bumps and bruises, and it has helped her conquer chronic issues that could have hindered my “fun in the sun” lifestyle.



Some Topics We Discuss:

  • 2:38 – A little about Jamie.
  • 4:30 – The philosophy behind traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
  • 6:19 – Why the tongue is an important part of examination.
  • 7:47 – What to expect from acupuncture.
  • 9:54 – There are hundreds of acupuncture points in the ear.
  • 11:11 – What are the needles in acupuncture actually doing?
  • 12:17 – Energy in Western terms.
  • 15:52 – Who could benefit from acupuncture?
  • 17:03 – How frequently do you need acupuncture?
  • 17:55 – A brief overview of other Eastern modalities.

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The Wellness Corner

Jamie Jackson 0:00
So we look at disease in Chinese medicine as an imbalance. So whether there’s an excess or deficiency and then just exactly where that imbalances so it could be an excess of young energy of a deficiency of yin energy, internal heat. We also look at pathogenic factors from the outside. We look at how different emotions affect our chi and our Shen in different ways. And then you get a customized acupuncture treatment each time you come in. It’s based off of your chief complaint, yes, but also, how are you presenting in that moment? Gotcha. And it’s like a, it’s like an onion, you just kind of peel away the layers. Get to the root, we get to the root cause of disease.

Brian Strickland 0:41
You’re listening to the nutrition world podcast, a show about navigating the intricacies of holistic wellness. We’re a natural health food store located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and we believe that optimal health and peak performance should be accessible to everyone. Hello friends. Welcome back to the nutrition world podcast. My name is Brian Strickland. I’m the producer of the show. And on today’s episode, we have the pleasure of speaking with Jamie Jackson. If you’re a Chattanooga native, you might be familiar with Jamie she is a herbalist and acupuncturist trained in traditional Chinese medicine, she’s gone through years of extensive training on these subjects. And we love having her on our campus, Katie is going to sit down with Jamie today to just talk about her own experience with acupuncture. What it is what it’s like some of the fears that people have some of the misconceptions that people have. And Jamie’s really going to break down the ins and outs of acupuncture and some of the finer points of traditional Chinese medicine. So we really hope that you enjoyed this episode. Let’s go ahead and hop into the conversation with Katie and Jamie Jackson. Hi, Jamie. Hi,

Cady Kuhlman 1:47
thanks for coming today. So, you know, my goal of having you on our podcast was to just sit down and kind of go through some acupuncture, thoughts and ideas and the schooling that you went to, to get you to this place of being an acupuncturist. You know, here at nutrition world, and at the Wellness corner of which you’re a part of, we, we really want to build, this team of practitioners that can be here to help people through problems in life and the problems may be stressors may be health issues, emotional issues, whatever that may be, and you know, our philosophy and you’re aligned to it, the fact that the body is able to heal, but sometimes we just have to give it the right tools and the right things to do that. So we’re just honored to have you on our podcast today to speak about acupuncture, your specialty. So if you don’t mind, let’s just dive in and kind of chat about how you even got into this.

Jamie Jackson 2:38
Well, thank you for having me. I studied in Colorado, in Denver, and I got into acupuncture through one of my best friends out there. She’s a veterinarian, and about 15, maybe 20 years ago, she went to acupuncture school for animals. And so she was she would needle animals and I used to be a vet tech. So we worked together at the animal hospital. And she started treating my dog most for degenerative neuropathy. He was a yo lab, it’s really common in dogs and I I saw the change in him, and just his quality of life because it gets to where they just have a poor quality of life. But we were able to extend his life through acupuncture and then she went on to human acupuncture school. And so I’d go down to the school and I would get treated. And then I noticed how I started to feel and how I started to feel better. And it just really in line was in line with what I really wanted to do. I was I’ve always been wanting to help animals or people. And with acupuncture, you kind of get instant gratification for the work that you’re doing. And so then I started the the journey was a three year master program. And then I had to take for boards to become certified to be an herbalist and acupuncturist. So it was, it was a long, it was a long journey. But it was like three continuous years like we did trimester, so we went like around the clock. Wow. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. And then I moved here to Chattanooga, in 2006. Teen, I think and then I brought my practice

Cady Kuhlman 4:12
here. Wow. Okay, and so for people that have never experienced acupuncture, tell just a little bit about what the philosophy is even about, like we all know, acupuncture and we think needles going in places and what’s kind of the the idea behind the specific places they’re going because I know it’s not, oh, I have a pain here, put the needle right here, right, you know,

Jamie Jackson 4:30
great. So, with my practice and most Chinese medicine practitioners, we do a thorough intake of past medical history, surgeries, just emotionally how you’re doing what is your diet consist of any cravings in your diet, any medications, you’re on? Any changes with hearing vision, hair loss, things like that, and then I do an assessment of a tongue diagnosis and I feel pulses. So based on a chief complaint and The Pulse quality, so not necessarily beats per minute, but just how does the pulse feel because each organ system has a position on the tongue and a position in your pulse. So that’s how we diagnose and our medicine we take the chief complaint based on, and then tongue presentation and pulse. And then that gives us a kind of roadmap as to what points we want to use. Because every point they’re like a little army, and every point has a specific job. But when they come together, it gets the body back in balance. Gotcha. So we look at disease in Chinese medicine as an imbalance. So whether there’s an excess or deficiency, and then just exactly where that imbalances. So it could be an excess of young energy of a deficiency of yin energy, internal heat, we also look at pathogenic factors from the outside, we look at how different emotions affect our chi and our Shen in different ways. And then you get a customized acupuncture treatment each time you come in, it’s based off of your chief complaint. Yes. But also, how are you presenting in that moment? Gotcha. And it’s like a, it’s like an onion, you just kind of peel away the layers to get to the root, we get to the root cause of disease.

Cady Kuhlman 6:12
That’s amazing. So tell me a little bit more about the tongue? Because I’m just fascinated with that. So like, what are you looking for? I mean, white spots? Or?

Jamie Jackson 6:19
Yeah, so you’re looking at the body shape? If it’s fat, if it’s thin, if there’s a coat? What kind of coat? Is it? Oh, thick, white coat? Is it a yellow coat? Is there no code at all? Are there cracks? Or their teeth marks? In what color? Is it? Is it like a dusky purple? Is it pale? Is it red? Yeah, so everyone’s tongue is a little different. Now

Cady Kuhlman 6:43
that’s so interesting, you know, because in our world of going to visit a physician or a doctor, I bet no one’s ever had their tongue examined, you know? Yeah. And maybe when they’re at the dentist, maybe, you know, the dentist is perhaps quickly glanced at it or something. But generally, it’s never it’s never, never looked at. So is this very typical in other cultures? Or in, you know, practicing parts of the other countries or parts of the world? Yeah. So bigger medicine?

Jamie Jackson 7:07
I don’t know, I don’t know outside of the TCM realm. But for traditional Chinese medicine, you should be looking for a diagnosis you should be your practitioner should be looking at your tongue and feeling your pulses every time. Gotcha. Yeah, gotcha. Because there are some things that people will like, especially their first visit, they may not want to open up about everything. And so if you’re intuitive in you can kind of pick up on things, even if they don’t tell you based on how the pulses feel and what the tongue looks like.

Cady Kuhlman 7:34
Gotcha. Okay, and so for people that haven’t experienced acupuncture, and they’re worried about what it feels like to have a needle go in, or how deep does the needle go? Is it sanitary? Is it safe? touch a little bit on that topic? Okay.

Jamie Jackson 7:47
Yep. So people think needles, and I love it when people are like, covered in tattoos, but they’re afraid of, I’m sure, because so the needle, there are different diameters of the needle, but they’re typically no bigger than a strand of hair in thickness. Depending on where you placed the acupuncture needles, there are certain depths that you can go somewhere along the glutes, you can go deeper versus the upper back where there’s, you know, the lungs and things. So you just got to be cognizant of where the needle is going. And that will determine the depth. But the needles shouldn’t hurt, like some of them might be a little bit more tender than others, but they don’t go. They don’t go like super deep to where you’re going to hit a nerve or anything like you shouldn’t. Sure. And so in most people do get a little freaked out at first, or they might get nervous or there, they can’t relax, because they’re like, you know, like, scared. But the needles are single use, they’re sterile, they’re not used on anybody else. They get discarded after each use. And I wiped down each point with alcohol prior to insertion. And then usually the needle retention is like 25 to 30 minutes, okay, a lot of times people will fall asleep like I’ve walked by, I’ve walked into check on people and they’re sleeping. And usually like, they’re pretty relaxed by the end of it. And if they’re not fully relaxed the first time when they come back the second time, they know what to expect. So walking in the already more calm churn.

Cady Kuhlman 9:10
I can believe that. Yeah, I think just the idea of a needle seems to be a scary thought. Yeah. And it’s like, how is that relaxing? There’s needles. Right? Exactly. Yeah. And I’ll tell you a little bit about my experience, because I’ve come to you multiple times and, and had never had acupuncture until I had come to you. And I was a little apprehensive that first time I kind of thought how am I going to lay here and then look down at myself and see all these needles, you know, all over my body, but extremely relaxing experience. no pain at all of anything, a tiny little almost like, like you’ve maybe pulled a little hair feeling a little tiny tweak, but nothing that I would ever experience is pain. Very, very relaxing. I know. You know, oftentimes, there’s a point in your ear. What is that point? Because that is something I’ve always seen. Yeah, has looked in acupuncture. So there are

Jamie Jackson 9:54
hundreds of points in the year. Actually. There’s different phases. I do some auricular therapy but there are practitioners that they that’s all they do is just the year in there’s like the English year, the Chinese year and then different phases of the day some points like are more prominent than others. It’s Wow. Yeah, it’s like I am very like, as far as your acupuncture is what there is to know like I’m, I’m like baby version of it. But there are multiple points in the year that you can treat there’s one called Shen min is used to calm the mind, we use that a lot. There’s protocol for like, smoking sensation addiction that we can do in you can place your seed. So I’ll do this with clients. That a no, if they can’t come in, you know that there’s gonna be too long in between each treatment, I’ll send them home with your seeds that they can press on. It’s just like the carrier seed on a little bandage. And you can put them on certain acupuncture points, and then they when they’re at home, they can gotcha press on them in they usually lasts like three to five days. Oh, interesting. Yeah. But they now make them words like they have crystal. So it looks like you have like earrings on. Yeah, and you can actually look stylish. Yeah, you can get blinged out and you’re

Cady Kuhlman 11:03
hilarious. How funny. So tell me, I know, you know, we’re getting to the root cause of what’s going on. But what are the needles actually doing when they’re in? Like, what’s that idea.

Jamie Jackson 11:11
So they’re either bringing energy basically like, is to keep it simple. They’re either bringing energy to an area that needs energy, or they’re dissipating. Gotcha. And so, a lot of times, you might have, you know, something like, you might have something going on in your belly, I won’t just do belly points, I’ll do distal points, because you got to tell that energy where to go and what to do. And then points can be coupled with others to kind of reinforce their job. And so it’s the whole point is not that each individual point does their individual job they work collectively to move your energy throughout your body.

Cady Kuhlman 11:50
Gotcha. Yeah. Okay. And so when we think about the word energy, I know some people are a little off put occasionally in our, in our culture, maybe in our area of the of the world could you kind of if there is a way to distill down like the word energy to give a little comfort to people, because I know that’s a that’s a big idea in a lot of other cultures. And it’s a big idea and healing and getting us to our best self, but sometimes it’s looked at as like an odd type of medicine for people,

Jamie Jackson 12:17
I guess. to correlate it with like a Western standpoint, you can correlate it like your breath. And just your overall quality quality of life. I guess your lifeforce and it’s not just your Chi energy, we’re also working with body fluids working with blood we’re working with yin and yang, you know, interior exterior. So when we have imbalances, we can have the excess energy or not enough. Not enough energy to do our for our digestion or too much energy causing migraines and headaches or so it’s just about like your lifeforce. Sure your breath to correlate it in a Western way. If that. Yeah,

Cady Kuhlman 13:07
that makes sense. I would kind of think even in my mind, like if someone was to walk in this room that we’re in right now, and they were really angry, or they were really like, tense and making sounds of like, oh,

Unknown Speaker 13:17
you pick up on that? Yeah,

Cady Kuhlman 13:18
you’ll feel that right. We’d sit here and we’d be like, oh, like we’re focusing but someone’s mad in this room. And so that is kind of like, obviously a type of energy that’s going on. So we’re kind of picking up on that, where with acupuncture, we’re not going to be working with someone’s angry energy, but we’re going to be working with balancing, maybe the dysfunction of energy that could be going on in their own body. Yeah, correct. That makes sense. Okay. So, you know, I came to you after I had had my first son actually, for acupuncture in those postpartum days and for any mamas out there anyone that’s had a child, we know how heavy and hard those can be with, with the body, the mental state emotions, mind all of that. And I remember it was like a, it felt like I had really had a few moments to actually feel calm and peaceful when I came into your office and was able to, to relax there for that brief hour, that was probably the only hour I got for a couple of months there, you know, or whatever. And it was wonderful. It helped it kind of to me felt like I was given a a gift of ability to heal for a few moments, give the mind some resiliency and some strength in those kinds of weaker mental state times. And I remember kind of speaking to you, I’m like, this is a lot harder than I thought, motherhood and this postpartum time and so I’m not sure of course, exactly what you did, but it was it was a very relaxing and rejuvenating experience for me and, and I appreciate that. Oh,

Jamie Jackson 14:40
you’re welcome. Yeah, especially postpartum mamas. I mean, you whether you have a C section or a vaginal birth, you lose a lot of blood. And the quality of our blood is a kind of a direct reflection of the quality of our Shen or our mind. And so when our blood is decreased, we have More of a deficiency, then we have more things like anxiety overthinking that’s going on. So it’s about just building up that your blood building up the quality of blood. So you can

Cady Kuhlman 15:12
then relax your mind that makes total sense. Yeah. And that’s what a lot of ladies experience postpartum is that overthinking, almost like looping thoughts, anxiety, you know, depression, maybe breathing as this, you know, like just more analytical thoughts that maybe have some place, but don’t have the space that they exist? Do you know, to some extent, so that’s wonderful. So tell me, let’s get a little bit more into like, the type of client that you see and conditions and whatnot that you can help. And I know we have to be careful with always treating and diagnosing but I think with acupuncture, you can, you know, speak a little bit more loosely, perhaps about the the type of client you could help and what issue you could help them with. Yeah, you know,

Jamie Jackson 15:52
so, being from an Eastern background, I can’t technically say I treat, you know, a Western diagnosis. Acupuncture can help with any, any ailment that you have. I typically see I don’t see a lot of Pediatrics, a lot of pain, digestive issues. Infertility is huge at acupuncture is really good at treating infertility, digestive a lot of mental imbalance, whether it is anxiety, depression, so acupuncture, Chinese herbs, but primarily, I would say most of my clients are pain of some sort of pain. Yeah, pain is a big one. Yeah, low back pain. There’s a lot of low back pain. Okay,

Cady Kuhlman 16:35
good to know. Yeah. So tell me, you know, if someone was listening, and they had low back pain, the million dollar question always is, how many times before I would get relief? Or how many times do I need to calm and even myself, we’re kind of working through something and with our son a little bit right now. And I’ll ask myself, How many more times before we start seeing results? Or you know, and I think I’m like that, I know, that’s not really the way the body works, you can’t exactly know anytime someone needs to visit you. But is there any ballgame figure you could give or

Jamie Jackson 17:03
it’s hard to say because, you know, we’re treating the body in the moment. And so everybody is going to respond differently to treatment, I have clients where I’ve treated them one time, and they are good to go. And they don’t need to come back. Or I have other clients that they come in once a week, they come in once every two weeks, or they come in once a month, I leave it up to the client as far as their time and their financial resources to come in. I say if you’ve never had acupuncture, especially if you had something chronic give it at least three treatments and three treatments, you know, within two to three week period, if you don’t see results on the first you’re most likely going to see results on the second and third. And then we can kind of go like okay, you got relief for four days. You got relief for five days. Now. Let’s see, then we can tailor your treatments based on just how you respond each time.

Cady Kuhlman 17:51
And are you doing that assessment every time they come in every time they can Okay, gotcha. And then we can

Jamie Jackson 17:55
do other things like fire cupping, guasha, herbal therapy, so it’s not, I don’t practice just acupuncture, I have other secondary modalities within my Chinese medicine scope that we can go

Cady Kuhlman 18:07
into a little bit about those what is guasha.

Jamie Jackson 18:09
So I use, it’s becoming popular for facial stuff. I don’t necessarily do it on the face, because the whole point is that you’re trying to create a shot or redness. But you can do it on anywhere like a cup doesn’t fit. So it’s just usually like a porcelain spoon and just scraping along the musculature to create like a redness so it helped to increase circulation. It’s really It’s awesome for the neck. Really? Yeah, it’s really good for the neck or I’ve done it like on elbows for like tennis elbow, things like that.

Cady Kuhlman 18:40
Gotcha. And does it feel good as it’s being done? It does. Okay, yeah, okay. And then moxibustion.

Jamie Jackson 18:45
Okay. Moxa, that is an herb. It’s called mugwort. It’s used for it’s used for a couple things. And you can use it you can drink it as a tea, have that as a tincture. Also, it comes like loose leaf that we can put on top of a needle and burn it. So it helps bring warmth into a channel. So if the if you’re seeing like a cold stagnation, somewhere, whether it’s in the uterus or along the collaterals that will help bring warmth. It can also stop bleeding. It’s been used to turn a breech baby on the toe. Yeah, so you can burn a Moxa stick. I love the smell of it, but it’s a really good like warming or

Cady Kuhlman 19:26
cool, so interesting. I bet hardly anyone has ever even heard of moxibustion? Probably not. Yeah, that’s so interesting. So interesting. So when someone comes to you, they won’t have to know what to ask for. They would come to you and they would, they would just tell you the chief complaint, as you said, and then you create this plan for Yeah,

Jamie Jackson 19:42
so I go up through and I have my intake. And I asked I asked all the questions, and they, you know, obviously they would like divulge as much as possible because the more I know, you know, the better the potential outcome but they don’t have to they don’t have to know anything. Gotcha. And I will essentially walk them through each session and they’re about an hour. It’s your first time, maybe an hour and 15 minutes long. But yeah, I usually retain the needles for about 30 minutes. Okay. Yeah.

Cady Kuhlman 20:11
And I love that the you ask the assessment every time. And I also love that sometimes you’re asking the questions to dig deeper, because I know in our store when people come in, honestly, probably 75% of the the work we’re doing is listening to them, and then asking them certain questions to lead us to the next answer. Because it seems that someone will walk in our door and say, you know, I don’t sleep well. But then if I ask them, Well, what’s your stress level? What have you eaten all day? Long? Have you had enough water? You know, enough of these questions, I can kind of get to, okay, that person was really stressed out and amped up and then trying to go into a relaxed state to sleep, they’re going to have some issues doing that. And so with you, you asking enough of the questions. Sometimes they may not even know what the root problem is, they probably don’t know what the root problem is. Yeah. But you’re kind of allowing the body and then plus your questions to kind of couple

Jamie Jackson 21:02
to Yeah, and I think people to like they might the change might be a small, it might be minuscule at first. And then they might think like, well, I don’t feel any different. And then you come back and you start asking questions. It’s like, oh, actually, I am sleeping a little bit better, or I didn’t wake up. I only woke up twice this week instead of four times. So the change might not be that huge. And so like revisiting all the questions, it gets the client to, like really think and like, oh, yeah, this is better. You’re right. Okay, cool. So, so that way they don’t get they don’t seem to get as frustrated. Yeah,

Cady Kuhlman 21:36
that makes total sense. Yeah, I’ve even done that in my life before. If I’ve been addressing something and then something goes in a positive direction, I actually kind of forget how maybe negative it was right? Until someone re asked, well, how’s that going? And I’m like, oh, it’s all better actually. Or that all went away? And then you’re like, Oh, wow.

Jamie Jackson 21:53
Yeah. And then we know, the the one struggle as acupuncturists is that, you know, somebody has a chronic condition, it didn’t get there overnight, and it’s not gonna go away overnight. And just being consistent in being compliant, you know, is huge.

Cady Kuhlman 22:07
Yeah. Yeah, totally. This was so helpful. You know, one of the things that I have spoken about on this podcast before or in some writings in the nutrition world is like, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again, and expecting Yeah, and expecting different results. So one of the things I can kind of speak to in the, in the form of acupuncture as if you haven’t tried it, and you’ve, someone’s been experiencing the same thing over and over again, it could never hurt to try something new, you know, and, and looking at an area of your life and saying, okay, you know, I’ve gone to this physician, I’ve tried this medication, I’ve tried this, maybe dietary change, I’ve tried this will maybe just trying the next thing is is potentially something that could be beneficial for that person. And so opening up to the idea that they’re not going to have a harmful side effects, they’re not going to have a negative experience. And it is totally backed by what 1000s of years of you know, research and, and just anecdotal use even, you know, for centuries and centuries. So, yeah, I’m so grateful that we got to speak today. Thank you for coming. You’re welcome. We’re so happy your partner the wellness corner, I love it. Yeah. Thank you so much.

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