AUSTIN -- In addition to Homeopathy, a form of alternative medicine that some patients find more appealing than conventional medical techniques, two more non-traditional forms of healing have produced patients who swear by the results.
At Austin Integrative Medicine in Central Austin, Jill Selman undergoes an acupuncture treatment to help relieve her insomnia.
Seventeen miles north in Round Rock Allison Heeney undergoes a trigger point massage therapy to free her from migraine headaches.
Heeney originally came to Therapy Central for a sports-related injury. She said she was shocked when licensed massage therapist Ken Moench looked at her patient history form and said:
"He said I see that you're suffering from migraines, and I'm going to help you with that," said Heeney. "And I said to myself, 'Sure you are.'"
Heeney's skepticism was due to nearly two decades of debilitating migraines.
"The kind of migraines where sound hurts and light hurts," said Heeney. "You are throwing up and you're nauseous. It affected my whole life, my family, everything."
No medication Heeney took and no medical professional she saw provided her with any lasting relief, until she met Moench.
"If you only treat the symptoms you're never going to fix the problem," said Moench.
Moench and other therapists at Therapy Central use PNM MYOFACIAL Release. PNM stands for pin and move. It's a combination of trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage and MYOFACIAL release with movement. It increases the blood flow and circulation through the affected area.
"If you can't get blood supply to an area it can never get better," said Moench. "Your body knows that. We basically just open up areas and lengthen tissue to allow for a better range in motion."
Acupuncturist Justin Phillips says the question about acupuncture has shifted from does it work to how does it work.
While it's still not certain, Phillips says one of the leading theories focuses on the body's bio-electric and bio-magnetic systems.
"Really the idea behind that is that the body is one big battery," said Phillips. "There's constantly electrical circulation going through the body at any given time."
Phillips says science has shown our electrical system changes depending on whether the body is sick or healthy.
"Now if you take a metal needle and insert into a point of more electrical resistance or conductivity, that's going to cause a change throughout the electrical system," said Phillips.
Essentially, he says, changing the conversation the body is having with itself. Selman says acupuncture gives her a sense of relaxation she can't get anywhere else.
"After my first treatment I was very, very calm," said Selman.
She says the end result has helped her get over her initial phobia of needles.
"The needles do not actually pierce the skin so it's not nearly as painful as one might anticipate," said Selman.
That's not the case at Therapy Central in Round Rock, where even the sign outside caution's patients of pain that's sometimes intense.
"It hurts a lot," said Heeney. "I would not be telling you the truth if it didn't. It's very, very painful."
In fact, Moench is affectionately known as Doctor Pain.
"I'd rather be called that than ineffective," said Moench.
Moench says the reality is that in a one-hour session, there's only about seven minutes of pain a patient has to endure. He says that pain quickly turns to a feeling of relief.
"If you can put up with seven minutes of discomfort, pain and you can walk out of here and not have the same debilitating pain and discomfort for decades, many times that's worth it," he said.
"It's worth every moment of pain," she said. "Every single moment for me not to have migraines any more."
Moench says everything he does is in accordance with massage therapy guidelines. Despite numerous client testimonials, skepticism over his methods exist because he says some doctors and therapists simply can't believe that such a wide array of illnesses and conditions can be healed so rapidly.
Click here to visit Therapy Central in Round Rock's website and click here to visit Austin Integrative Medicine's website.
Click here to see PART 1 of KVUE reporter Jim Bergamo's special assignment.