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Insights from an Acupuncturist


Jason Warman was introduced to Chinese Medicine over 15 years ago through his passion of martial arts. Having studied Chinese Medicine at the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jason now specialises in treating all types of pain disorders, including; musculoskeletal complaints, sports injuries and rehab, skin conditions, stress and anxiety, insomnia, digestive complaints, women’s health and pregnancy wellbeing.

He is currently practicing at Coastal Community Acupuncture, where he applies a wide range of acupuncture styles from traditional five-element acupuncture, sports medicine acupuncture and the traditional Tung’s family acupuncture.

How did you get into natural medicine and why?

 When I was really young, I had a bad reaction to conventional medicine and had to be hospitalised for a few days. Even though it was a long time ago, it stuck with me and made an impression.

Growing up in the United States, I was taught a lot about the use of plants and nature as medicine from the Native American culture. When I was 17, I was introduced to Chinese Medicine through martial arts, which lead me to do training with a Chinese herbalist.

Can you tell me a bit about your chosen therapy and how it benefits people?

My goal is to help people feel their best. Acupuncture is good for pain relief and calms the nervous system when stress, anxiety, and poor mental health occur. 40% of the patients I see are dealing with pain from an injury, old or new. 20 – 30% are for mental health issues like stress and anxiety, and the remainder varies from digestion issues (like food allergies) to chronic illnesses to fertility to pregnancy health and general wellbeing.

Why are you passionate about Chinese Medicine and acupuncture?

I’m passionate about Chinese Medicine because it is the oldest recorded medicine in the world and has proven itself to be a powerful form of healing the body for centuries. I still get surprised by how effective it can be in the clinic.

Many people are turning towards natural medicines because they are often intolerant to their prescribed medications or they don’t want to deal with the side effects of it.

I’ve been doing this now for over 15 years and to me, it feels like we’re the underdogs of the medical industry. In Australia, Chinese Medicine is the only AHPRA registered modality that’s still not part of the Medicare scheme. We get a lot of people with health plans from their GPs, but we can’t offer the service to them because it’s not Medicare covered.

This is why I run a community acupuncture clinic, which offers affordable health care for everyone.

Do you have any tips for what to expect or ask when visiting an acupuncturist?

Patients should expect an accredited practitioner to explain the treatment and describe what they will experience throughout the treatment. For instance, when I see new clients and they’re Chinese, it’s part of the culture. Everyone grows up with the concept so there’s not much fear of the pins. However, for western culture, medical needles have bad connotations as being quite uncomfortable and painful and a lot of people develop phobias from it. That’s why I don’t call them needles; I call them pins because they are very small.

Generally, the person will feel a sensation, but it’s should be a sensation that is bearable and comfortable. The most common sensation will be a bit of an ache or distending sensation. If it’s uncomfortable then it’s not therapeutic and the practitioner should be there to help change that discomfort for them.

Do you have a successful client story you’d like to share?

There’s a lot of people that have come to me as a last resort. They have been everywhere, tried everything and nothing has helped. Once tried, many have experienced miraculous results because it’s so effective.

Currently, I think a lot of what we’re dealing with is hyper-sensitive nervous systems and a lot of people stuck in that sympathetic fight or flight state. It’s creating a lot of these modern epidemics that we’re dealing with and acupuncture is so good at calming down the nervous system and dealing with chronic diseases.

What would be the most common health issues that somebody would come to you with? You mentioned mental health, pain, or anxiety, are they the sort of things people come to you with?

People come to me with a variation of things as acupuncture is a whole medical system which is designed to help treat any ailment, but almost everyone is dealing with some level of anxiety. What’s sad is that even a lot of kids that I’m treating have anxiety, and this is a huge crisis that we need to look at from all medical perspectives on why this is occurring and what we can do to prevent it. We shouldn’t be having anxious kids and it’s hard for us to all be functional adults in society if we’re all dealing with the results of anxiety.

How long does it usually take for them to start seeing results?

When dealing with pain, if acupuncture is used correctly, a person can see a reduction in pain, of 50 to 80 percent, within a matter of seconds.

The way I apply acupuncture and how I work with my clients is slightly different to usual treatments. I use a lot of distal points that allow the client to move the affected area during the treatment so we can actually see immediately, whether or not the point will work.

When people come in for insomnia or digestive issues it can take between several sessions until they really start noticing a significant difference. Sometimes I can notice a slight difference from that first session, but you usually start to see a pattern change and a significant improvement around the four to six treatment mark.

What are the ethics of your clinic?

We’re a relatively unique clinic here in Australia. We’re a community acupuncture clinic and work in a communal room.

The concept behind this is our main ethical purpose. We are trying to help break down the barriers of the social-economic restriction of health care and to be accessible to people. Many people don’t have health funds and can’t afford complementary medicine; it’s not something that is often readily available to them. So, they are stuck with the allopathic methods, which aren’t always negative, but they might not be working for them.

Our clinic is a communal space where we can see multiple patients at once, this allows us to reduce our rates. We work on a sliding scale, which means we charge between $30 and $50 for a session. The patient chooses what suits them best and their circumstances and they get the same treatment regardless of what they pay. We’ve also been able to expand out, and now have a reflexologist.

To give the option and freedom of choice is really empowering, and it helps our patients feel like they have control over real healthcare.

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