Within the Potomac Highlands, a new business is bringing the benefits of Eastern medicine to citizens in West Virginia. Mark Mamuszka, owner of Valley Acupuncture, established his business at 1018 South Kerns Ave. in Elkins in December of 2012.
"I brought my acupuncture and bodywork clinic to West Virginia when my wife took a job in the region. It's exciting to see how well these services are being received into the community - people are not only curious, but open-minded about trying something different," says Mamuszka.
"The most common response I hear after telling people what I do for a living is, 'I don't like needles,'" he said. "I remember feeling very similar before learning about acupuncture."
Thankfully, the needles used are very different from what most people try to avoid; acupuncture needles are solid, not hollow like the needles used by doctors. They are also hair-thin and can literally be bent with your pinky. Only sterile, disposable needles are used, so there's no risk of infection.
"It feels similar to being tapped with a toothpick. Once the needle is inserted, people often describe the sensation as warm, heavy or tingling - many people are so relaxed during a treatment, they fall asleep!"
Mamuszka's experience is broad. He is board-certified in both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He is also a graduate of the Academy of Oriental Medicine in Austin, Texas, where he earned his master's degree in acupuncture and oriental medicine. Additionally, as a graduate of the Boston Shiatsu School in Massachusetts, he has trained in multiple types of bodywork.
In addition to patient visits for general relaxation or targeted muscular treatments, Mamuszka regularly treats chronic pain, stress disorders and digestive disorders by incorporating acupuncture, herbal medicine, and manual therapy.
"With the rising costs of health care in America, I've noticed an influx in patients who are willing to try something different in order to not only keep their medical costs under control, but also to avoid busy waiting rooms and increase one-on-one diagnostic time with their practitioner," said Mamuszka.
Science theorizes that acupuncture achieves results by stimulating specific points on the skin to induce biochemical and physiological changes in the body. For example, acupuncture points transmit impulses to the part of the brain responsible for releasing endorphins, which are natural pain-killers many times more powerful than morphine. It is also theorized that acupuncture effectively treats pain by interrupting signals sent to the brain.
"All of my education and certifications, combined with over 10 years of practical experience in massage and oriental medicine, allows me to blend Eastern and Western techniques of diagnostics and therapeutics to create customized treatment plans for patients."
"I regularly treat common problems including: addictions, allergies, IBS, acid reflux, mood and sleep disorders, pain management and weight loss," he added.
"It's amazing that such a wide variety of ailments can be treated and managed through acupuncture and/or herbal medicine, but ancient cultures have used these types of treatments for more than 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest systems of health care in the world. In light of the rise of medical costs, westerners are more than willing to use them again because they are effective and affordable."
Not everyone is treated with acupuncture, though. Many people come to Mamuszka for herbal remedies or bodywork for specific problems or ailments. Presently, herbal medicine is used by billions of people all over the world, as both primary and supplementary health care.
Chinese herbal medicines consist of individual herbs combined to make a formula that is specifically tailored to meet a patient's medical needs. Herbs are selected to alleviate the symptom as well as to treat the underlying imbalance, are gentle to the system, and may be taken in various formats.
"West Virginia is a beautiful place, and I'm really inspired to provide not only health benefits, but also general wellness, to citizens in the region. There's no reason not to feel good when you get to live in a place like this."
For more information about Valley Acupuncture, or to book an appointment, visit them online at TygartValleyAcupuncture.com or call 304-940-8071.