When patients turn to acupuncture as a last resort, Sara Diaz, Acupuncture Physician at In2 Health in Melbourne, finds “this is when the magic happens” because they see positive improvement in unexpected areas. Diaz believes people are looking for alternatives to what they know as traditional medicine. “As patients learn more during their journey towards balanced health, they naturally become increasingly aware of the choices they must make to stay healthy, and prevent disease.”
According to the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM), which celebrates Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day on October 24, this ‘whole system’ of medicine integrates therapies that have been used to diagnose, treat and prevent illness for over 2,000 years. In addition to acupuncture and Chinese herbology, which are the most popular in the U.S., therapies include diet, nutrition, lifestyle counseling, and exercise (Tai Chi and Qi Gong) as well as manual therapies (Tui’na). The association which licenses doctors of Oriental Medicine (D.O.M.), has been working since 1981 to integrate this time honored system of health care into mainstream care in the United States. It begins by focusing on the factors that cause disease, rather than just treating symptoms.
David Rindge, a 12-year Acupuncture Physician and Doctor of Oriental Medicine with 35 years in the medical field and has served as President Emeritus for the Florida State Oriental Medical Association, attests to the growing interest in acupuncture. “More than ever before, Americans realize that good health care can only come through addressing core issues. Good health care means spending time with people. That’s been missing in most conventional settings for a long time. A good acupuncturist will take the time to explore and address the concerns.”
Oriental medicine acknowledges a vital life force called qi (pronounced “chee”). This energy flows along pathways related to the organs, the muscular system, and the nervous system. Oriental medicine focuses on maintaining the balance of qi to keep the body healthy. It operates on the principle that trauma, poor diet, medications, stress, hereditary conditions, environmental factors or excessive emotional issues can result in an imbalance of qi. Correcting these imbalances stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Susan Hathaway, 10-year Acupuncture Physician, explains “Sometimes we lose our center of balance when we have been suffering from pain, fatigue, or chronic infections.” She finds that acupuncture can assist the body in regaining that center of balance giving patients back their sense of well-being.
Acupuncture utilizes extremely fine, hair-thin, flexible, single-use sterilized needles placed at specific acupuncture points, or meridians, on the body, each corresponding to a pathway of qi. Many are surprised to find it is a quite relaxing sensation. The length and frequency of treatment varies for each individual, and treatments are scheduled according to the nature of a condition. With improvement, fewer visits are required.
Sheri D’Alessio, Acupuncture Physician at A Place For Health in Vero Beach, stresses Oriental Medicine as a gateway for individuals to identify with their specific strengths and weaknesses. She recommends balancing their body with the right foods, herbs, body work, and exercise. Each person is unique and acupuncture physicians will tailor their recommendations based on the patient’s situation. As an example, D’Alessio states that a person with a spleen deficiency as their constitutional weakness “will do well with aerobic and breathing exercises, a diet rich in warm and dry foods such as sweet potatoes, steamed veggies, a little red meat, and avoiding too many raw foods, dairy products and ice. Adaptogenic herbs like Siberian Ginseng or Rhodiola will be great tonics for these people and staying away from too much sugar and all refined foods.” D’Alessio suggests that digestive issues due to everyday stress are treated very successfully with Oriental medicine, along with allergies, any intestinal disorders, headaches, and joint pains.
Many are turning to acupuncture not just for themselves but for their pets as well. Acupuncture has been used on animals for over 4000 years and has been gaining popularity in the United States since the 70’s. Acupuncture for animals has become more common for treating a variety of conditions including hip dysplasia, arthritis, back problems, neurologic disease, allergic skin disease, chronic intestinal problems, kidney and liver disease. Dr. Marcia Craig, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, offers an integrative approach to patient healthcare with treatments including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and nutritional therapies. She observes that many chronic diseases not easily treated by regular modalities can be treated with acupuncture. “Dogs and cats usually enjoy having acupuncture and become very relaxed,” says Craig who encourages owners to be present with their pets.
With the growing demand for this time-honored system more people are making it their chosen career. Sylvie Morin, Acupuncture Physician in Melbourne, confirms the need for physicians. She notes that when her business, Health for Life, first opened in 2002, administering 20 treatments in a month was a busy month. “Today, it’s not unusual for us to see 30 patients or more per day,” she says. Morin feels there is an increased interest in practicing Oriental Medicine based on her past experience as an advisor for the Keiser University Massage Therapy Board. Morin reports she often has students contact her on how to further their education within Oriental Medicine. Even more compelling is her patient interaction, “I’ve also had the opportunity to see a patients’ health improve so drastically that they left their careers to enroll in Acupuncture College. That is profound change that is immeasurable.”
For more information, visit the website: the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, www.AAAOMonline.org;
Connect with Sara Diaz at In2 Health, 18 S. Riverside Drive in Indialantic or call 321-216-5118.
Connect with David Rindge at Center for Cooperative Medicine, 279 N. Babcock Ave. in Melbourne or call 321-751-7001.
Connect with Susan Hathaway at Dong Ye Acupuncture, 2105 Palm Bay Rd NE in Palm Bay or call 321-723-3017. The Dong Ye Community Acupuncture Clinic is located at 2130 W. SR 520, Cocoa, 321-549-2206.
Connect with Sheri D’Alessio at A Place for Health, 755 27th Avenue SW in Vero Beach or call 772-567-6700.
Connect with Dr. Marcia Craig Animal Medical Clinic, 4020 S. Babcock St in Melbourne or call 321-727-2421.
Connect with Sylvie Morin at Health for Life, 402 N Babcock in Melbourne or call 321-259-0555.