The Benefits of Acupuncture

February 20, 2024

Acupuncture, a form of integrative medicine, can ease pain and help with stress management. Acupuncture can also help if you are dealing with long COVID!

According to a recent pilot study by the Middlesex Health Burris Center for Integrative Medicine, acupuncture can help when patients experience a loss of taste, a loss of smell and even brain fog - all symptoms of long COVID.

The pilot study included 20 patients who experienced long COVID symptoms, but did not have any other medical conditions. Each patient received two acupuncture treatments a week for three weeks. At three points in time, they were asked to complete a questionnaire, assess their ability to taste through a taste test strip and assess their ability to smell through a “scratch and sniff” test. 

Ultimately, the research found significant improvement in brain fog, smell and taste. In fact, both smell and taste improved after just three acupuncture treatments! 

The research was published by The Journal of Alternative, Complementary & Integrative Medicine through Herald Scholarly Open Access. Authors included acupuncturist Amy Calandruccio; Deborah Pantalena, a registered nurse who serves as a clinical research nurse; Elizabeth Molle, a nurse scientist and Magnet Program director; Justin Drew, vice president of ambulatory and clinical services; and Lynn Jansky, a registered nurse who serves as professional practice and development program manager. You can learn more here.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is when very thin needles are inserted into your skin at strategic points on your body. The needles may sometimes be gently moved or twirl after insertion, and heat or mild electrical pulses may be applied. They usually stay in place for 15 to 25 minutes while you lie still and relax. Commonly used to treat pain, its role in medicine has expanded over time - now even more so with this latest finding regarding long COVID. 

At Middlesex Health, acupuncture is offered through its Burris Center for Integrative Medicine by Calandruccio, who is a board certified acupuncturist. Any needles used are properly sterilized and are single use, making the risks associated with this treatment very low. Common side effects could include soreness or minor bleeding or bruising where the needles are inserted. 

In general, integrative medicine is a holistic medical approach that combines conventional medicine with effective complementary and alternative therapies. It is not a substitute for normal treatment. Instead, it works alongside it, treating the whole person - body, mind and spirit. 

To receive integrative medicine treatments, including acupuncture treatments, you do not need a referral from a medical provider, but you do need an appointment. It is important to note that Integrative medicine is not always covered by your medical insurance. You are encouraged to check with your insurance company prior to receiving your treatment. 

The Middlesex Health Burris Center for Integrative Medicine has locations in Middletown and Westbrook and offers other integrative medicine modalities in addition to acupuncture, such as massage therapy. You can learn more about the center here.

Featured Provider

Amy Calandruccio, LAc, MS


  • Westbrook, CT
  • Middletown, CT

More Stories

April 5, 2024

Protect Those Eyes on the Sky

While a solar eclipse is a momentous occasion, it's something eye experts say you need to enjoy safely.

April 1, 2024

Tips From The Mayer Center

In recognition of Autism Acceptance Month, Middlesex Health's The Mayer Center shares tips for parents of children who may be on the autism spectrum.

Explore More News, Events & Media