Chinese medicine relieves pain for New River Valley residents
‘Going farther back, Floyd County has a history of people coming here who were alternative-minded people,’ says owner of The Blue Ridge Clinic for Chinese Medicine.
For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine has been used to diagnose, treat and prevent illnesses.
The Blue Ridge Clinic for Chinese Medicine, founded in 2006 in Floyd, specializes in drug-free pain management for people of the New River Valley. Owner Nile Bachmann uses a variety of treatments like acupuncture, acupressure, Tui Na massage and cupping, as well as Chinese herbs to address his patients’ concerns.
Bachmann said there are two ways at looking at Chinese medicine: traditional and Western. The traditional practice refers to Qi — the vital energy in the body — and how it can get stuck and cause pain. From a Western biomedical perspective, Bachmann said, what they are doing with needles has both a local and nonlocal effect.
“The local effect is to stimulate the healing and growth factors in the tissues where we insert the needles. And the non-local effect is more nervous system mediated,” Bachmann said. “The stimulation of the needles will release the body's natural painkillers, endogenous opioids in the spinal cord, and change the perception of pain to some degree higher up in the central nervous system.”
During sessions, Bachman often uses a combination of acupuncture and Tui Na massage to rebalance the body’s energy.
“I like to combine the two because it seems to be very effective therapeutically, to combine both the manual manipulation, the massage with the acupuncture. It's also helpful for me diagnostically when I go through and I'm able to place my hands on all the areas that a person may have complaints, may have pain,” Bachmann said. “You can get a feel for what meridians are involved, what points are involved, what muscles and tissues are involved. From there, it's a very straightforward decision-making process to what point you're going to use acupuncture.”
People in the New River Valley have been receptive to Chinese medicine, Bachmann said, because there are a lot of retired people in Floyd who are seeking new healing methods. Bachmann added he also frequently sees young to middle-aged homesteaders for pain.
“Going farther back, Floyd County has a history of people coming here who were alternative-minded people who wanted to either start a natural environment community doing their own subsistence living farming or pursuing their spiritual lives in a beautiful natural setting,” Bachmann said.
For Joy France, who was born and raised in Floyd, Chinese medicine gave her relief after being injured in a car accident many years ago.
“My neck pain is something that's just always there,” France said. “But it can be excruciating, it can be something that stops you in your tracks, and stops how you live your life, and how you exist and how you are for your family. What is done here in this facility is not only good for pain relief, [but also] really an overall body help.”
Bachmann said that people need alternative ways to address pain before it becomes debilitating.
“[Floyd] has a history of opioid abuse. And it certainly needs alternatives for pain management that don't involve medication,” Bachmann said.
France, who was part of the medical community for more than 20 years as an X-ray and lab tech, agreed.
“I feel like medicine is just one thing on top of another, it's just a Band-Aid. It doesn't get to the root cause of things,” she said. “I really like that Nile tries to dig in and try to find things that our bodies can do to heal themselves, because there are ways that our bodies can heal themselves. And he just facilitates that.”
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