For some in the East, modern medicine may make existing conditions even worse, leading them to turn towards alternative methods to heal.
Maggie Weder was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during the late 1990’s. She said modern medicine didn’t help her at all, and eventually led her to lose the ability to move from the neck down.
After nearly a decade suffering from MS, Weder decided to make changes in her life.
“You can’t do the woe is me thing. The woe is me thing is where you go into a support group and everyone’s like mines worse than yours,” Weder said.
Weder made changes to her diet, added more herbal supplements, and sought alternative treatment like acupuncture to deal with her MS.
“I found no relief from the neck pain or migraines. I got to acupuncture and within two treatments the pain is gone,” she said.
While alternative medicine doctors can be difficult to find in some areas in the East, those practicing said they’ve had similar success stories like Weder’s in the past.
Jeffrey Pierce is an ECU physician and Brody School of Medicine professor. He practices acupuncture in Greenville and said despite most insurance companies not covering the treatment, he still sees around 100 people each month.
“Although acupuncture doesn’t always work, it’s pretty safe to say that it doesn’t cause any new problems,” Pierce said.
Pierce said there is a negative stigma surrounding alternative medicine.
“I think the reason this is considered to be not mainstream is just lack of familiarity,” he said.
These days, Weder enjoys getting outdoors and playing golf when she can. She was one of the top amateur players just a decade ago. She said not a day goes by that she regrets taking a chance on alternative medicine.
She said she hopes others in similar situations will branch out and try something new.
“You’re given a drug to get up, you’re given a drug to go to sleep. You’re given a drug to breathe, you know to take the spasms out. But you’re not going outside because the best drug of all is sitting right out here. Moving,” Weder said.