Hearing the painful cry of 3 year-old Madeline Holt breaks the heart. She hurts from the genetic disorder Zellweger syndrome and there's only so much medication can do. Even comforting from her mom, Meagan can't make it all better. But, there is help. Tender touches from Liz Artola.
After Artola arrives and goes to work, Madeline calms down. Silence brings relief throughout the room.
“As a mom, that makes me feel incredible, said Holt.
Holt calls on Artola regularly to treat Madeline with acupressure and acupuncture.
“You only have to see it once to have it in your mind, ‘Oh, she's having bad pain, you better page acupuncture right now,'” said Holt.
Artola said, “I see this (acupuncture) as a complementary, innovative sort of therapy, so we are an add-on, and we don't take away from what's already happening here.”
In-patient acupuncture started at Seattle Children's as a pilot program. It became so popular and requested by parents, Artola and her colleague now visit patients throughout the hospital five days a week.
“This is an option for patients," said Artola. “Patients have the ability to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to us and I feel we are in partnership.”
Acupuncture is a way to balance the body.
Artola explained, “When the body is in balance, in harmony, and you feel good there are no issues. But it's thought when the body is out of balance, discomfort and disease occurs. So, the idea is by doing acupuncture, or acupressure; you bring the body back in balance.”
Acupuncture involves applying needles, magnets or hand-pressure to various points throughout the body to ease a variety of problems including pain, nausea, and anxiety.
It works for Fiona Lynch who said there are no side effects, except feeling better and the needles don't hurt at all.
“No, it doesn't hurt at all, just feels like a tiny little poke, but it's like as thin as your hair, so you don't feel anything,” said the sixteen-year-old.
Acupuncture helps Lynch deal with her Crohn's disease.
“It makes me feel more relaxed. It helps my nausea, and it helps my stomach,” she said.
Lynch sees Artola often and welcomes the extra care that comes with a friendly face.
“I know she will help me with the acupuncture,” said Lynch.
To find out more about acupuncture and acupressure at Seattle Children's, click here.