STAMFORD, Conn. -- For three decades, Stamford's Eileen Karn has been one of the leading practitioners of acupuncture in the state. Today, she and other acupuncturists will be celebrating National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day.
Acupuncture has become more accepted as it has moved from something seen as foreign or to now being included in some insurance plans.
“I think American people are more educated about [acupuncture] then they ever have been, and that is wonderful,” she said.
Originally from Minnesota, Karn moved to New York City in 1976 to be an account executive in a financial public relations firm. She arrived with a strong interest in yoga and soon sought out a studio to continue practicing it. It was there that one of her friends persuaded her to study Shiatsu, a form of Japanese bodywork that uses fingers, hands and palms for massage.
Karn quickly moved to acupuncture, believing she could accomplish more with it than with shiatsu.
“It was to treat things that I couldn’t treat with massage,” she said. “There was a total universe of things that could be treated.”
She became one of the earliest graduates from the Tri-State College of Acupuncture in Manhattan and began to practice in 1985, when she opened shop in Stamford. She is currently located at 66 Glenbrook Road.
She works predominantly with people who have suffered an injury or are in physical pain. But Karn said acupuncture works for people with a wide variety of issues, even depression.
Although acupuncture has become more widely known, she expressed some regret that It hasn’t been more widely accepted in the wider health care field or in insurance plans.
“Regrettably, it hasn’t taken its place in the medical care system,” Karn said. “It’s still very marginal. It can be really used in the front line of care but it really hasn’t got there as much as I thought.”
She believes that financial pressures in the past 10 years have prevented new therapies from getting a foothold in the system.
Despite that, Karn is excited about the future of acupuncture and its positive benefit on patients.