Andrew Grant, For The Miami Student

The McCullough-Hyde Wellness Center is providing acupuncture treatments to help patients with their pain and other symptoms.

Acupuncture is a medical treatment involving very thin needles that stimulate specific points on the body to help alleviate pain and improve overall health. It has been used as a treatment for thousands of years and has helped many people overcome anxiety, pain or emotional stress.

Derek Johnson, licensed acupuncturist of the State Medical Board of Ohio, has been running the program since February. A 2005 graduate of Miami University, Johnson has been interested in acupuncture and its benefits since he visited Australia and sprained his ankle playing tennis.

“My first experience with acupuncture was when I was recovering from a tennis injury,” Johnson said. “The treatment got me back to training in a week, when normally it would take two and a half to three weeks for a sprain like I had.”

Johnson attended the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago after graduating from Miami, and gained valuable experience while working in the free clinic.

“While attending school, I probably had around 1,000 hours of clinic experience,” Johnson said. “I’ve treated several hundred patients from all different walks of life while in school.”

A session of acupuncture usually takes around 45 to 60 minutes and is specialized to meet the patient’s specific needs. Johnson treats between four and 12 patients every week on Wednesday.

Paulette Worcester, the chair of the Nursing Program of Miami University-Hamilton, feels that acupuncture is a helpful alternative to regular medicines.

“Acupuncture is a complementary medical treatment that requires no medication,” Worcester said. “Research shows that it is very beneficial and it is becoming a popular option for patients.”

Acupuncture has a very long history in Eastern cultures. Western medicine and surgery has been around for a relatively short amount of time when compared to treatments like acupuncture, according to Worcester.

“In Western cultures, surgery is the primary way of treating a patient,” Worcester said. “For thousands of years, complementary medicine has helped heal people in different cultures around the world.”

According to Johnson, acupuncture is more observational than Western medicine. Instead of looking at the body as different pieces, the patient’s body is studied as a whole to find the root cause of all the symptoms.

“Many times when treating a patient with many different symptoms, I find that the symptoms are all connected,” Johnson said. “It’s like looking at a story line; one thing affects the next and so on.”

Acupuncture is used to treat various conditions. It can help with sports injuries, back pain, surgical recovery, allergies, anxiety, insomnia, menstruation and emotional stress, to name a few, according to Johnson.

Acupuncture has been used for around 2,500 years, according to Johnson. The needles used in the treatment are sterile single-use needles. There are specific points on the human body that are targeted for the needles. There are 362 main points and 40 to 50 extra points that can be used during the treatment.

It is also thought of as a preventative medicine, according to Johnson. Even if you feel healthy, it is a good idea to go get a “tune-up,” as Johnson calls it, especially for college students.

“The first thing people think when they hear acupuncture is pain, but it does not hurt at all,” Johnson said. “College students go through so much stress with classes and activities so acupuncture is a great way to alleviate some of the stress. It’s never too soon to put yourself first.”

Senior Alex Short was unaware that acupuncture was being offered.

“I’ve never had an acupuncture treatment personally, but I’m aware of the benefits that it can provide for the patients,” Short said.

Short said she would consider acupuncture in the future because it can be such a helpful treatment for many different symptoms.

“I’m kind of afraid of the needles but the benefits of acupuncture are definitely something to consider when dealing with reducing pain and stress,” Short said.

For more information or questions on the acupuncture treatments, call the McCullough-Hyde Wellness Center at (513) 524-5420 or email Derek Johnson at