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Ilene Gets Acupuncture

Soap Talk, December 2, 2002
Hosted by Lisa Rinna and Ty Treadway

(This aired on Soap Talk, a talk show on SoapNet, which is the cable channel on which Ryan's Hope now airs in reruns and on which all of the current ABC soaps - including One Life to Live - are rebroadcast at night and on weekends.)

TT: Best known as the scene-stealing bad girl on Ryan's Hope, our next guest has taken the soap world by storm once again as One Life to Live's trash-talking Roxy.

(They show a clip of Roxy going to the psychic to try to channel Luna.)

ROXY: Hey Luna, where are your manners? Get your ghost butt up here!

PSYCHIC: Please!

ROXY: Hey, do something.

PSYCHIC: I can't. I'm losing her. She doesn't seem to be able to come through strongly.

ROXY: Well, do something! You're supposed to be really good!

PSYCHIC: Perhaps she lacks a real connection with you.

ROXY: Oh, no, we've got a connection, and it's named Max Holden, so you tell her that.

PSYCHIC: I'm sorry, it is taking all my energy just to stay in contact at all.

ROXY: Listen, you tell that lunatic if she cares anything about Max, she'll get up here and play ball with me, or else I'm gonna make Max's life a living hell!

TT: Back for a return trip to Soap Talk is my co-host [I think he meant co-star] Ilene Kristen.

(Ilene comes onstage, waves at the audience, hugs the hosts, and sits down.)

LR: Welcome back!

ILENE: Yeah, thank you. Wow, twice in one summer.

TT: You were on with Ron Hall [sic] and we were talking about your Ryan's Hope days.

ILENE: Ron Hale, yeah.

TT: But now you've got a whole new character with Roxy.

ILENE: (laughs) I sure do! A handful, I think.

LR: Are you having fun?

ILENE: I'm having a great time, a great time.

TT: How did you...what was your inspiration? I mean, cause she is out there. You don't really see that type of character too often in daytime,

ILENE: Well, you know, I was playing with a rock band in New Jersey...

TT: You were?

ILENE: Yes, I was, and I was the leader singer of this band and we hit all of these clubs in New Jersey, and there were a lot of bar girls like this - I call them bar girls - and there were a lot of chicks that used to hang out there and with big hair.

LR: Really?

ILENE: Yeah, Jersey girls.

TT: They were all my high school girlfriends; I grew up in Jersey.

ILENE: (laughs) I pity you. (they all laugh) Cause once you get them you can't lose those girls either, you know.

TT: They get in your blood.

ILENE: Yeah, they get your phone number.

TT: So, now, being Roxy, are you afraid, I mean, cause it's tough, I mean she's the bad girl.

LR: Well how bad are you? Do you kill people?

ILENE: I'm bad, well, no, no, not yet! I haven't. Well, I've been in jail a couple of times. Well, I'm know, I always see the soft side of a character that I'm playing.

LR: Well, that's why I said, what's so bad about her?

ILENE: Well, she's a horrible mother, I mean she's really a horrible mother...

TT: She's like the poster child for bad parenting.

ILENE: Absolutely, without a doubt. And, I think sometimes she sees certain opportunities, cause she's a bit of a grifter. You know, there is that element in her that is looking for some kind of score, you know? But also, she's looking for love, I think she thinks she's found it, but...

TT: With Max?

ILENE: With Max, but there's also someone else coming into the picture that I think she kind of... (laughs) ...sees some opportunities.

TT: Really, interesting...

ILENE: I don't know, am I allowed to say?

TT: Sure. (shrugs, audience laughs)

ILENE: I think you're gonna have a very interesting reaction to this: Asa Buchanan.

(The audience applauds.)

LR: Oh, that's very interesting! That could be fun.

ILENE: Yeah.

TT: You've just been scooped. Anyway...

ILENE: I mean, we're six weeks ahead, so it's very, you know...oooh, I probably shouldn't have said anything. (laughs)

LR: That's alright.

TT: Oh, it's fine, they won't even... (shrugs) So, looking for love and - what? - another can of hairspray?

ILENE: Oh, five cans of hairspray!

TT: How do you get that look?

ILENE: Oh, that's extensive.

TT: How long does it take?

ILENE: It's...well, I mean Lori is from Long Island, which is comparable to New Jersey, you know.

TT: Lori is our hair...

ILENE: And she said she's been waiting - she's been waiting seven years - to actually do these kind of hairdos on anybody. And when I came in she said, "Is it okay..." well, first of all, I came in with my hair all kind of crazy and I  said, "Just go crazy with it." And she's had a blast. She said, "I can't believe you're letting me do this!"

TT: Do you put extensions or anything...

ILENE: I...of late, I've been adding all sorts of things. I went to Ricky's, which is a drug store in New York that has all sorts of crazy things - mostly for Halloween, they have all sorts of Halloween costumes - but I manage to find Roxy things there.

LR: Fun! That sounds like a fun character.

ILENE: Oh yeah, it's been great.

LR: Do they let you improvise?

ILENE: You know, there's kind of an unspoken thing, with me, particularly, on most of the soaps that I've's just kind of "let Ilene go," which...I've been very, very lucky.

LR: Really?

ILENE: Yeah, I think I've been lucky.

LR: Why do you think that is?

ILENE: Well, I think they all know that I I have...I can write, kind of, and I've done a lot of comedy revues and I've done script doctoring for people, so that I think they trust me, and you know, I think the rule of thumb with soaps in general is if you can make something better...

TT: No one's gonna argue with you!

ILENE: No one's gonna argue if it's better. If it's not better, they'll say, you know, "Why don't you do that as written?"

TT: The other thing is you play characters that are more out there.


TT: So, it's easier to improvise, or it's easier to...and it's harder to write for them.

ILENE: And also - it is harder to write for the character - and also, sometimes the writers, they get a little too clever with thing, so sometimes you have to tone it down, and then you have to punch it up in other places. And then with a character like this, they see certain things that work so then they'll add them, but they'll add them in the wrong place at times.

TT: Right.

ILENE: So, it's just a question sometimes of editing, and I'm very good at that. I've done that for a lot of other people.

TT: Cause, you said, you were a script doctor.

ILENE: Yeah, so I'm pretty good at that.

TT: Now, when you were a script doctor before One Life to Live, you were working with someone who used to watch One Life to Live all the time?

ILENE: Yes, all the time, all the time, and she used to make me watch it. (laughs) And I kind of felt like I wasn't gonna be returning to the soaps for some reason, and I just kind of said, "You know, this is a part of my life that I really don't need to, like, you know, sit and watch all the time," but she loved - particularly, she loved - you know, One Life to Live, so I used to have to watch it. And then, when I knew I was coming on the show, then she'd turn up the volume really loud, and I'd go, "You know, I don't want to know too much of what's going on there."

TT: You didn't want to know...

ILENE: I didn't want to know anything, I really....

TT: Well, because you were new to Llanview, your character.

ILENE: Yeah, so I didn't want to know anything - who was sleeping with who...nothing, so I watched just a little bit because I knew they'd be mentioning my name, and that was it.

LR: So, tell us about alternative medicine and why you're into it and...

ILENE: Ah, I had some health problems - I have a thyroid problem that's kind of been plaguing me for very many years - and I found that just regular medicine - I take thyroid medication - but I felt that that wasn't enough. So, I've been eating a product - and I call it eating because it's a food - it's called Sun Rider, and it's the best, and I've been eating products probably for about twelve years, I've been drinking their tea for about fifteen years.

LR: Wow!

TT: And what is it supposed to do?

ILENE: Well, it cleans the body and it balances the body and anything that's not quite right in the body, it fixes.

TT: Do you have any alternative medicine for a cold?

ILENE: Uh, yes.

TT: Alright, well, we'll talk about that when you come back, and we'll be right back. Don't go away; Ilene's gonna get some acupuncture!

(After the ad, Ilene is sitting with her shoes and jacket off and her hair pulled back and an acupuncturist is onstage with them.)

TT: Welcome back, we're with my co-star, Ilene Kristen, and acupuncturist Stacey Nelson Hicks. Stacey, welcome. So, you've never done this before.

ILENE: (laughs) No, I'm scared!

TT: You know what, you should be, cause Stacey's never done it before either.

ILENE: Wonderful!

STACEY: I'm a licensed professional.

ILENE: I've done a lot of chiropractic things, but this is the first time...

TT: Okay.

LR: Stacey, do you want to tell us what acupuncture is and why one might seek it out?

STACEY: Sure. Acupuncture is actually a medical modality that falls under the umbrella titled Oriental medicine. It's just one thing a licensed acupuncturist will actually practice. We have [something I can't make out] - we even work with herbs - but acupuncture is actually the insertion of very fine needles into acupuncture points that serve certain purposes.

TT: Now why is that needle so big? Kidding!

ILENE: Oh, it's special for me!

LR: Now, Ilene, why do you want to have acupuncture?

ILENE: I have a degenerative neck problem. The discs in my neck are...they're in a little bit of trouble.

TT: Is that like arthritis?

ILENE: It's like arthritis - it's osteoarthritis - and it's a condition that will get worse, it will not get completely better, but there are a lot of things that you can do for it, including, you know, dietary things, acosamane (sp?) sulfate is also very good, but I've always wanted to try this.

TT: Okay, let's start sticking her.

STACEY: And acupuncture is really for pain relief, so what we're gonna do is - I've already talked to Ilene about where her pain is happening, it's up here, which is very, very common - so we're gonna go directly into this point. I'm gonna swab with alcohol where we're gonna be needling, and these are other points of pain. Then we use other points on the body which are known as distill points, and we're gonna be needling some down here (Ilene puts her feet up) because acupuncture looks at the body as a whole, so it's not just her neck that's off. We have individual diagnoses for each person who comes to see us, and we've already talked. So, the first thing we're gonna do, please hold still, and you don't want to move around once the needles go in, so your feet are down, that's terrific.

LR: And normally, would you do this lying down?

STACEY: Yes, depending upon where the area is, and we like to treat it as a very relaxing experience, because that's very important too, because we're gonna try to relax the muscle, so we're gonna go right into here. This is the first point.

(She sticks a needle in the back of Ilene's neck.)

STACEY: Alright, there we go, you've just been needled!

TT: Did you feel it?


TT: Really, you don't feel it?

STACEY: Nope, the needles are very fine.

TT: Now this is something you should also consult an Eastern doctor or a regular doctor as well - Western doctor, excuse me?

STACEY: (as she is sticking in another needle) Well, licensed acupuncturists are considered primary care practitioners in the state of California, so we can handle most medical problems, and we know when to refer out when appropriate.

TT: Okay.

LR: And how long do you leave the needles in, usually?

STACEY: Uh, between 10 - depending on what your problem is - between 10 and 30 minutes I would say, for each...for particular ailments.

ILENE: It doesn't hurt at all.

TT: It doesn't?


STACEY: And what I'm doing here is going in to relieve the actual spasms that I'm feeling in Ilene's back here. (She sticks some needles in Ilene's back.) Here we're using the longer needle, and we're gonna thread, this is called threading it through this area. Now, if we were in my office, of course, I'd be spending a little more time and we'd have some sooting music and we'd have...

TT: So it's about the whole experience of relaxing the muscles and relaxing the nerves...


TT: So this is more, you're hitting nerve endings, is that what you're...

STACEY: No, in Chinese medicine we are moving chi and blood that are stuck, which is causing pain. We work in a completely different medical paradigm than Western doctors. There is some overlap...

LR: How are you feeling, Ilene?

ILENE: I feel great, I feel great.


ILENE: I also think I have a tremendous belief in Eastern medicine because I've been following it for so long and I've been doing a lot of reading and I actually thought at one point that I wanted to go to Chinese medicine school.

TT: Really?

ILENE: But I had never finished college so it be a Chinese doctor, you need a lot of education. It is as extensive if not moreso...

STACEY: (as she is sticking a needle in Ilene's hand) It is, it's a four year program and we have clinical internships, so it's actual med school.

LR: Wow!

ILENE: They turned me down! (laughs)

TT: They did?

ILENE: Yes they did.

TT: I can't believe that.

ILENE: Oh yes they did!

TT: Now Stacey, how often would you do this? Is this a one-time thing, or is this...

STACEY: (as she is sticking a needle in Ilene's foot) Well, some people can have acupuncture once and feel terrific. Some people come to see me 2-3 times a week for a series of about 4-6 treatments, and usually by then we know how often they have to come in. If we can get your pain under control in that amount of time, you can come in once a week, once a month, when you have a flare-up - that's's all dependent upon the person. We also have ear acupuncture points that we can treat for people that don't maybe like the body points; that we can go directly to the ear and the ear has about 400 points of its own.

TT: Really?

STACEY: And we're gonna find the cervical spine is represented right down here...

LR: Really?

STACEY: (while examining Ilene's ear) And I don't know if you have any tenderness on that side...but we use very, very small needles; very, very fine needles right into this area and we can treat right into here would be what we call the cervical spine... (she sticks a needle in)

TT: Ouch!

STACEY: It's hard to watch, isn't it?

TT: Yes it is!

ILENE: You notice my eyes are closed!

LR: It's hard to watch; I've never watched it on myself.

TT: Yeah, it's's painful.

STACEY: And that's the spine and there's points for pain...

LR: Now, why do you twist them?

STACEY: Because I'm trying to catch what's called the chi, and when I can feel some energy through the needle, that's when we know we've hit the point...

TT: Do you feel anything?

ILENE: Well I feel...when she put the needle in my foot, I definitely felt something...

LR: I was gonna say, when I have had it and it's been painful, I've always felt that that must be something that's a problem area.

ILENE: Yeah, there definitely was a reaction when she put it in my foot. I felt the energy.

TT: Now, when you take the needles out, do you bleed or anything?

(Stacey nods.)

STACEY: No, sometimes you can and sometimes you're supposed to...

TT: You're supposed to?

STACEY: (as she puts a needle in Ilene's hand) Depending on what the ailment is. But most of the time, no, the needles are so fine and we're not getting, we don't get blood, but if you're doing an acupuncture facelift, those you can bleed from because there's a lot of blood vessels...

ILENE: Can we do that?

(They laugh.)

STACEY: Next time! We can definitely do that.

ILENE: You see, I got a reaction from this one also.

LR: Yes, I get them usually in my hands and in my feet, or my ankles.

STACEY: (nods) Those are very sensitive points in Chinese medicine.

LR: Well, thank you so much! If you want more information, check out our website...