The following interview originally appeared in the Autumn 2001 issue of Meridians magazine, published by the Tai Sophia Institute.

Since Lisa Simeone became the host of National Public Radio's "Weekend All Things Considered" in October 2000, radio listeners around the nation are discovering what people in the Baltimore-Washington area have known for a long time: Simeone has one of the most beautiful voices in radio. She began her radio career in 1983, presenting classical music at WBJC in Baltimore and WETA in Washington, D.C. During ten years at Johns Hopkins University's WJHU, she developed a loyal following for programs that mixed jazz, classical, and folk music, as well as for her provocative interviews and public affairs call-in programs. She has been principal guest host of NPR's Performance Today and Weekend Edition Sunday, and has hosted the nationally syndicated public radio documentary series Soundprint.

Simeone is a patient at the Centre for Traditional Acupuncture--the clinic of Tai Sophia Institute--where she has been treated by Haig Ignatius since February 1993. In the following interview, she talks about her experience with acupuncture with Tai Sophia's Publications Director, John Wilson.

How did you find your way to acupuncture and Dr. Ignatius at the Centre for Traditional Acupuncture?
The mother of a friend of mine told me about it. She knew I had migraines, and had them all my life. She had been getting treatment at the Centre--she started treatment after she injured her knee--and she told me it had done great things for her. I knew I wanted to try it because nothing else worked, but I just didn't get around to it. Finally, I had a really bad bout with migraines. I said, "I can't take it any more," and I called up and made an appointment.

When we first talked about doing this interview, you told me the results of your treatment were "nothing short of miraculous."
Yes, that was it. I remember Haig explaining to me, "Look, this takes time, and obviously there are different results for different people." I didn't have any illusions. I just thought, "Let's try it! Acupuncture's been around for 5,000 years. If it works for me--fine. If it doesn't, that's fine, too. We'll try something else."

I started out going once a week. Then Haig said, "As things progress, we can begin doing a treatment every two weeks or every three weeks. Then we'll see how it goes." Honestly, I can't remember now how long it took [to get relief from my migraines]. I remember thinking it was relatively fast, considering what I was looking at. It certainly didn't take as long as a year. The migraines just started abating. The headaches weren't happening.

I always knew that certain things would trigger the headaches, and I knew to avoid those triggers. But there were just as many times when the headaches came with no trigger whatsoever--completely mysterious. Acupuncture took care of those headaches. It really stopped them.

When I do get a headache now, which is rare, I usually can deal with it by having a nice hot cup of tea. I might have to take one ibuprofin, whereas before I was eating them almost like candy. Then, when the ibuprofin wore off, I'd get the rebound effect. That rarely happens now, because I don't have to take so much ibuprofin.

Did acupuncture make you more aware of the triggers, the things that will set off a migraine?
No, because I knew what the triggers were before I started treatment. They were--and still are:

  • Smoke of any kind. Not just cigarette smoke, but even logs burning in the fireplace. Sorry, fireplaces are wonderful, but they set me off.
  • Strong smells--I can't take perfumes and colognes. That'll do it.
  • Extreme cold or hunger. If I haven't eaten, or if I've allowed myself to get too cold, that'll do it, too.
  • Haig was able to help with this very early on. He would touch me and figure out what's what. And he would say, "Different parts of your body are too cold. They're not supposed to be like this." Well, that struck a chord, because for me, cold can set off a headache.

    Were there other results you experienced from acupuncture?
    Almost every time I go for a treatment, I end up falling asleep on the table.

    Haig will put in a couple of needles, leave the room for a while, and almost invariably I fall asleep. That tells me I must be very relaxed--or who knows what's going on? That's nice. It's a nice little thing in the day.