I’m a Believer….in Acupuncture!

By Alice Domar, PhD
Executive Director
The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF


You might be too young to remember the Monkees song but it feels like a good title for this blog, since an acupuncture session last week for my acute back pain resulted in a miraculous recovery. I have been a believer in acupuncture for years, both because there is research to support its efficacy in increasing pregnancy rates and lowering distress in IVF patients , but also because of the increasing knowledge on the positive impact of acupuncture for a whole host of other issues.

Early last week, I walked about a mile in my warm fuzzy boots to listen to some local Christmas carolers, and stood still for an hour listening, then walked home.

Two days later, I noticed that my back was starting to hurt and the pain increased to such a point that by the next morning, even though I was gobbling ibuprofen like candy, I could barely move.  I managed to drag myself to work and immediately sought out the newest Domar Center acupuncturist, Christina. She administered three different sessions over the next 90 minutes but to be honest, the pain was as bad as ever.  Christina told me that I was having back spasms and suggested that I try to see my primary care physician for a prescription for a muscle relaxant.  I got an appointment two hours later, but to my surprise, by the time I left to go to my appointment, the back was noticeably better.  The nurse practitioner examined me and was shocked that I was in almost no pain since she said she could feel the spasms and was so concerned that she gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxant and a narcotic pain killer.

Now…almost a week has gone by and the pain has not returned.  I have not taken any pain killers and am truly astonished at the efficacy of those acupuncture sessions. (For the record, Christina was not shocked. She told me that she treats acute back pain  all the time).

So the moral of the story is twofold-

  1. DO NOT take long walks and stand still in warm fuzzy boots since the nurse practitioner told me that they offer the support of flip flops
  2. Healing modalities which have been around for thousands of years really do work.  This is the fourth time I have gone to one of our acupuncturists for an acute problem (two sinus infections and one pulled neck muscle) and they are four for four in terms of making me feel better immediately. 

The next time you are in pain or not feeling 100%, think about coming in for an acupuncture session either instead of or in conjunction with the recommendation of your physician. 

You might well become a believer, too!



Alice D. Domar, PhD is a pioneer in the application of mind/body medicine to men’s and women’s health issues. She not only established the first Mind/Body Center for Women’s Health, but also conducts ongoing ground-breaking research in the field. Her research focuses on the relationship between stress and different women’s health conditions, and creating innovative programs to help women decrease physical and psychological symptoms.

Dr. Domar received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Health Psychology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Ferkauf School of Professional Psychology of Yeshiva University. Her post-doctoral training was at Beth Israel Hospital, Deaconess Hospital, and Children’s Hospital, all in Boston.

She has conducted research on infertility, breast cancer, menopausal symptoms, ovarian cancer, and premenstrual syndrome. Dr. Domar has earned an international reputation as one of the country’s top women’s health experts.

She is currently the Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health, and the Director of Mind/Body Services at Boston IVF. She is an assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, and a senior staff psychologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Dr. Domar has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments as a best-selling author, media authority and sought-after public speaker. She is the author of numerous books, on the advisory board for Parents Magazine, Health Magazine, Conceive Magazine, and Resolve, and on the Board of Experts for LLuminari. Two of her books have been finalists for the Books for a Better Life Award. She was also the Series Editor for a series of mind/body books by Harvard Medical Publications/Simon and Schuster. She is the narrator of the DVD’s “Stress and Relaxation Explained” and “Infertility Explained”, both of which won silver Telly Awards.  Dr. Domar has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Dateline NBC, CNN, PBS, and the CBS and NBC Evening News, to name a few. She presents lectures and conducts workshops throughout the US and around the world and went on tour with Oprah in the spring of 2004 and 2005 with the LLuminari team. Dr. Domar was named to the prestigious list of 15 “Women to Watch in 2004″ by Lifetime TV. Her newest book is “Be Happy Without Being Perfect” (Three Rivers Press, March, 2009) and she is currently working on a new book, co-authored with Dr. Susan Love, called “Live a Little” (Crown, December, 2009). She is also a featured expert on the new online social health network BeWell.com.