By Kevin Canessa Jr.
There’s an epidemic in this country — and sadly, it involves millions of people who suffer from chronic pain. To treat the unbearable pain — caused by a myriad of complications from Sciatica to simple work-place accidents — many people have no other choice but to use very strong pain medication.
And often enough, that use of pain pills leads to outright addiction.
But there are alternatives to using pain meds — and one of those alternatives is right in your backyard in Harrison.
Dr. Weiping Li runs the Lee Traditional Chinese Medicine Health Center in town — and she’s got another office on Grove Street in Downtown Jersey City. Li is a licensed acupuncturist in New Jersey and New York and also earned a diploma in acupuncture from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine more than 20 years ago. She’s specially trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine and western medicine.
Li recently sat down with The Observer to discuss the beneficial uses of acupuncture — and some of those uses might be surprising.
“We specialize in Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, but have many other ways we serve patients,” Li said. “From Chinese herbs, to teas to massage to foot reflexology, we use all different kinds of methods to alleviate all kinds of pain.”
Li says most of her patients come to her complaining of chronic back pain, muscle pain, knee and elbow issues, Carpal Tunnel syndrome, Sciatica and muscle spasms.
Her methods also help people with allergies, asthma, stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression.
But it’s women with fertility issues who she says benefit greatly from her work.
“Most people don’t know that infertile women can be helped by acupuncture,” Li said. “Of late, gynecologists recommend acupuncture to women who have trouble getting pregnant. The treatments can balance hormone levels, give women more confidence and make irregular periods more regular.”
The treatments for women with fertility issues, she says, help to relieve poor circulation of blood in the pelvic area, a common cause of infertility, and can boost the percentage of women who have had trouble getting pregnant.
“Not so long ago, a patient of mine, who was an oncologist, came to us after trying 10 times to get pregnant with in-vetro fertilization,” she said. “She was frustrated and ready to give up, but then her gynecologist suggested she try acupuncture. So that is what she did — she came to us for a few months of treatment.
“The 11th time she tried in-vetro fertilization, she got pregnant. It was a great story. And it can happen to others in a similar situation.”
Li also says acupuncture and TCM can also help people who are overweight and who want to stop smoking.
“In Chinese medicine, we say the body doesn’t get enough balance when people are overweight,” Li said. “Sometimes, people are overweight and they don’t even eat a lot of bad food. It’s a slow process — many months maybe — but after and during acupuncture treatment, there’s more of a balance. The fat doesn’t stay just around the belly. It balances better to all parts of the body and slowly, people see the weight go down.
“It really helps the digestive function.”
Of course, patients also have to commit to a more healthy diet, regardless of how they’ve eaten in the past.
“No sweets!” she said, laughing. As for smoking, Li says there are special points in the human body that control addiction. With acupuncture treatment, cravings for nicotine and other drugs can subside.
“It has helped people quit smoking and other drugs,” she said. “And for others, it’s controlled the desire for the drugs.”
To experience what Li has to offer, you don’t need insurance, and treatments are reasonably priced. She says most insurance plans don’t cover acupuncture, but if yours does, it’s accepted. T
he Harrison Lee TCM Health Center is located at 215 N. Second St., and the Jersey City center is at 293 Grove St. Office hours are Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and weekends, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For additional information, to see a menu of services and costs, or to make an appointment, call the center in Harrison at 973-482-1530, or the center in Jersey City at 201- 915-0710 or visit www.leetcmhealthcenter.com.