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A Look at the History and Science Behind Acupuncture

John Pemble
Iowa Public Radio
Licensed acupuncturist Deb van Latenstein in Iowa Public Radio's Des Moines studio.

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical treatment that's been around for thousands of years.  It has become more mainstream over the course of the last twenty years, and in this hour on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Deb van Latenstein who is a licensed acupuncturist at the Acupuncture Wellness Center and Allergy Clinic of Iowa in Des Moines. She says acupuncture isn't magic, and it's easiest to understand if you think about the body about a piece of meat. 

"If you've ever cut into a piece of meat, you've encountered that white gristly stuff that kind of stretches. That's fascia, it holds the body in the shape that it's in," she says. "When you put the needle into the body, it's touching that fascia. And the fascia is kind of like a spider web. it has intersections, and when you touch on those intersections, it stimulates more information and signaling to the brain to send more white blood cells to those areas. So actually you can put a needle anywhere in the body, but when you hit certain acupuncture points, you can elicit a better response."

Also joining the conversation are Dr. Nicole Nisly, who is a professor of internal medicine and director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Clinic at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics' Iowa River Landing, and Emily Wentzell, who is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Iowa. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa