Afraid of needles? Try Acutonics instead of acupuncture

Have you always wanted to try acupuncture but are afraid of needles?  Now, there's a therapy that promises the same relief but doesn't involve any poking at all.  Acutonics treatment uses sound vibrations, and is similar to acupuncture in practice.

Kristi Marshall says Acutonics treatment has stopped her debilitating pain, and now she doesn't miss a beat.  It's the latest alternative therapy to treat all kinds of ailments - from pain to sleep deprivation, and even stress.  This modern technique blends different forms of ancient Chinese medicine.

In a typical session, a practitioner will stimulate pressure points.  But, instead of using needles - as with acupuncture - the treatment involves vibrations from tuning forks.  "The minute I experienced it, it's like, I wanted it more and more," says Kristi.

Donna Carey co-created the technique, and says the vibrations open energy pathways in the body.  She says these pathways are mostly made of water.  "Sound travels four times faster in water and through water than it does in air.  Our body is a sound resonator," says Carey.  "We have some frequencies that are more stimulating, others that are more sedating, others that are nourishing to the fluids in the body."

While there's no clinical research to prove Acutonics works, Sports Medicine Doctor Vijay Vad says there are some preliminary studies that show sound as an effective way to treat pain.  "What the vibration does is it basically sort of distracts from the pain. And then the sound, basically, is a form of bio feedback that kind of leads to relaxation and decreasing pain sensation," he says.

But, Dr. Vad also says some of the results may be attributed to the placebo effect.  "One out of three people, which is a pretty big number, get relief from placebo because pain is a mind/body type of phenomenon," he says.

Kristi Marshall is a believer, though.  After two separate accidents left her with debilitating pain in her rotator cuff and back, she started the sound treatments.  "My pain has been relieved and gone away.  My health has improved dramatically," she says.  Her acupuncturist, Katie Mink, says the treatment is a great alternative for those who are interested in Chinese medicine, but are afraid of needles.

"My clients definitely have reported being very surprised to get such powerful results from something that is non-invasive," says Mink.  And, even though Kristi's pain has gone away, she still regularly goes in for sessions.  "It's something that, I would say, has transformed me physically, emotionally and spiritually," she says.

An Acutonics session can cost anywhere from about $100-$150 depending on where you live.  While practitioners say you will often notice immediate results, they recommend regular treatments.