Faces of Recovery: Acupuncture Offers Alternative to Opioids

While the ancient remedy is becoming more mainstream as a modern drug-free pain relief, Floyd Herdrich, a licensed acupuncturist who has been using needles to treat all types of ailments for more than thirty years is especially making strides with people who have developed a dependence on opioids and heroin. He officially started a program at the McShin Foundation three years ago that follows a protocol started three decades ago.

Twenty-year-old Taylor Schontag attests to the benefits. She started using when she was just 12-years-old, following in the footsteps of her father Jeff Schontag who has been hooked on pain pills for fifteen years.

“It’s like a feeling that goes over your whole body and you just feel really content really relaxed,” Taylor says.

Research shows the fine needles stimulate points on the body and release endorphins, which are the body’s natural morphine that aids in pain relief. Serotonin, which is often called the happy hormone, creates a sense of calm.

“A lot of people here are so caught up in monkey mind as we call it, chatter and keeping themselves stirred up,” says Herdrich. “It’s kind of scary to calm down.”