• Low-income patients get free acupuncture for pain at Seattle clinic

    By: John Knicely

    Updated:

    With the growing opioid crisis, KIRO 7 took at look at medical acupuncture as an alternative to pain management. Low-income and Medicaid patients get free acupuncture at weekly clinic at Swedish Cherry Hill Family Medicine. Jackie Peguro of Seattle told KIRO 7 how it’s changed her life.

    “I was a medical mess,” Peguro said.

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    She was hit by a car 44 years ago and suffered spine and nerve damage. She was on 36 medications at one point and could barely walk for much of her adult life, until she gave medical acupuncture a try five years ago with Dr. Gregory Rudolph.

    “I feel like Superwoman you know every time after I saw him,” she said. “So I can walk now. I couldn't work for 39 years.”

    Dr. Rudolph is one of about 500 board-certified medical acupuncturists in the country. He sees patients who get their primary care through Swedish Cherry Hill Family Medicine. Those are the low-income patients eligible for the free clinic. He also sees patients with insurance at Swedish Pain Services with a referral from their primary care doctor.

    “It's really been rewarding for me to be able to provide the service here,” Dr. Rudolph said.

    He notes with the growing opioid crisis the importance of alternative pain management.

    “A treatment that can be effective while also being very safe and very sustainable over time,” Dr. Rudolph said. “So a patient could come in once a month, get a treatment and hopefully keep the baseline pain more manageable.”

    Many insurance policies cover medical acupuncture. Just check with your primary care doctor to get a referral. Dr. Rudolph and Peguro emphasized to KIRO 7 that the acupuncture needles are not painful.

    “When the needles go in there's an instant kind of relaxing thing that happens to your body,” Peguro said.

    Acupuncture has given Peguro a new life free of pain. She went from not being able to work to being a tour guide at CenturyLink Field.

    “I am working,” she said. “I am walking on my job.”

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