I've got this friend who's up for trying anything and everything, so when she told me she was going to an acupuncturist for her PMS; I laughed in her face and said: "Yeah, sure, good luck!" But when she came back a few months later trying to get me to go too, that's when I had to say, "Hey, wait a minute, I'm not letting any maniac stick needles into my body for no good reason."

But since I'm the kind of person who's very cautious, I decided to check out my girlfriend’s conversion to holistic medicine my own way. There was no way I was going to let anyone, even if he was a doctor, stick needles in my stomach, arms and legs for the sake of getting rid of my constipation and stomach pain.

Since I had access to the Internet, I decided this was the quickest way to my investigation. I need to tell you that I'm the biggest skeptic around. Maybe it's my astrological sign being in Taurus, but I need to be totally convinced before I'll try anything new, especially something from China and, on top of that, something that could hurt.

I need to tell those of you who are still with me on this that I was amazed by the kind of scientific experiments I found to support acupuncture. First off, I learned there was much more to holistic medicine than acupuncture and herbs. The other types of holistic medicine are naturopathy, homeopathy, chiropractic and half a dozen others. I also found out that acupuncture was much older than Western medicine – acupuncture is about 4000 years old; Western medicine is only about 200 years old. I figured anything that's been used for 4000 years must have some validity to it.

I also found out that many M.D.'s are actually using acupuncture now because it's been proven to be so effective. I interviewed Dr. Randy Martin, OMD, and he told me that it's used not only for PMS and headaches, but also for colds and flu, constipation, poor eyesight, breast enlargement, anorexia, overeating, drug addiction, smoking cessation, depression, anxiety, and just about any other problem you can think of.

Dr. Martin even talked me into trying an acupuncture treatment. He said I should experience it firsthand. Well, my friends, I need to tell you that I couldn't even feel the needles. Unbelievable, but the needles are so thin they just slide in without you even feeling them. Weird stuff! Dr. Martin told me the price ranges from about $50-$150 for a treatment (depending on who you go to) and that most health insurance actually pays for acupuncture.

He said that although most acupuncturists perform blood tests and x-rays like Western-trained doctors, the acupuncturist also looks at the tongue and checks the pulse. The tongue and pulse can apparently tell the trained acupuncturist exactly what's going on with all the organs inside the body. This is a great adjunct to the blood tests. Dr. Martin likes to use holistic medicine with Western medicine. He calls this complementary medicine – when you combine everything for the benefit of the patient.

There is also a way of diagnosing the patient based on Yin and Yang. I'd heard these terms before, but I didn't realize how they were actually more than just the philosophy I'd read about. Yin is the feminine energy and represents things like being introverted, passive, receptive, quiet, artistic, musical, creative, intuitive, and inventive. Yang is the male element and represents things like being more out-going, talkative, hyper, intellectual, scientific-minded, anxiety, seeing things as black and white. Both guys and girls have both Yin and Yang aspects, and the idea is to have both in perfect balance (nobody really does have this perfect balance). So, depending on which you are (more Yin or more Yang), you are more susceptible to different kinds of diseases and emotional issues.

The best way to find an acupuncturist is to ask your friends. Although you'll find them listed in the phone book or Internet, you won't know anything about them. You can also do your own interview, like I did. Ask questions, such as how long have they’ve been in practice, what they charge, what their specialty is, etc. You want to make sure you have a good feeling about the office before you go in. You can also find out if the acupuncturist uses herbs, nutritional supplements, or homeopathic remedies and if he or she also does nutritional consultations, since your problems tend to clear up much quicker if you also change your diet and take some herbs. Dr. Martin does it all, and this is one of the things that makes him so unique. He has also been in practice longer than almost any other acupuncturist around.

At any rate, I was incredibly impressed with Dr. Martin and the cure he did on my friend’s PMS. In fact, I'm thinking of going to him on a regular basis for my constipation and headaches.

Author's Bio: 

Randy W. Martin, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D., is a graduate of the California Acupuncture College and SAMRA University of Oriental Sciences. He also has extensive post-graduate training in nutritional counseling, herbal and homeopathic medicine. Dr. Martin uses a wholistic approach to health, analyzing and diagnosing problems from a broad perspective. His specialty is the treatment of women's health problems using classical homeopathy. His book "Optimal Health" is quickly becoming a standard text for the holistic health industry.

You may have seen Dr. Martin featured in the Channel 9 TV news segment, "Homeopathy for Allergy" this past March or heard him on Michael Jackson's radio show on KABC, in addition to numerous other media appearances. He has been in private practice in Encino, Valencia and Santa Monica, CA since 1983.

He is the founder and president of Optimal Energy, Inc., which has provided holistic health care since 1983 to children, women and men in need of an honest, straightforward, partnership with their doctor.

A frequently sought after lecturer, Dr. Martin was invited by Downey Hospital to speak about Oriental Medicine and homeopathy to medical doctors for their continuing education credits. He has also provided interviews about Oriental medicine and homeopathy to T.V. news stations, newspapers and college audiences.

Dr. Martin is a faculty member at Touch for Health, Barron University, Pierce College Community Services, among others.

He is a consultant to insurance companies, a Qualifed Medical Evaluator (QME) for California Worker's Compensation system, and an expert witness. He is also well versed in such spiritual traditions as Kaballah, energy medicine, and the mystical traditions of Buddism and Taoism, and is a teacher of meditation and emotional release work.

He can be contacted through his website at: