Growing up, I was always interested in a variety of things. Much like my father, a’h, I am a perfectionist to a fault. I get things done and do them well regardless of the task. I am sure at times I make my kids and husband a little crazy with being a perfectionist and an over achiever. While medicine has always been my primary focus, I also enjoy fine arts including painting, drawing, and especially designing architectural projects. This definitely helped when working on the Wellness Center project. I don’t like doing the same thing each day, or would consider it boring. Simply put, I like a challenge and like to keep things interesting. I love the vibrancy in the world around us and especially in people’s diverse personality traits, backgrounds, and ethnicities. I was raised not to be a judgmental person. I can learn something from anyone! Although sometimes it can be a learning lesson in what not to be and how not to act. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You never know the battle someone is facing daily in their private lives, whether it is with their health, family stress, or financial burden. I try to offer kind words and always offer understanding first. These traits are beneficial in my profession as an acupuncturist and in opening a wellness center.
No two days at AcuZen Wellness Center are alike. I thoroughly enjoy what I do and I know it comes across to my patients. Some days it’s a walk in the park as the primary things that acupuncture is better known to treat, and health concerns is part of my daily routine. Other days it can be super thought-provoking and inspiring. I often feel like I am living in a snippet of the former TV show House, trying to properly diagnose and treat patients with mystery illnesses who have had no relief. These challenging cases are the ones I don’t see very often, patients who are frustrated with chronic illness and unexplained symptoms. Those people suffering often break down to me when they begin to realize that there is a real solution. It is truly what I love most about my day. Being able to help someone who has been frustrated over a long period of time with no resolution, on their wellness journey, is nothing short of incredible. I feel so blessed and fortunate to be a messenger who can help.
The beauty of acupuncture and holistic medicine is that we treat the whole individual. We do not break you up into parts and send you off to respective specialists. Instead, we try to connect the dots. By seeing you as an individual, one thing left unchecked may be causing another and responding to otherwise unexplained symptoms. The focus is to get to the root of the problem that can explain multiple symptoms and ailments. Doing so you can stop the issues from recurring. Understanding the basic premise that we are using your body’s own energy to heal itself, explains why acupuncture has been successful for over four thousand years, treating such a wide multitude of ailments without any of the side effects seen with typical pharmaceutical medications.
So let me give you a little snapshot of a few hours in my day. Hopefully you enjoy the back and forth as much as I do. It certainly is never boring! I am literally pulling some of these examples off a typical day from previous weeks in my schedule.
My first patient is a middle-aged female. She has been coming to me on and off for a few years. I have successfully helped nurture back to health many of her family members and she trusts acupuncture and its incredible healing powers based upon the success she has had personally. When I originally started seeing her, she suffered from awful seasonal allergies. In her case it was so extreme that in addition to the typical runny, stuffy nose and itchy eyes, she had visual migraines as a result as well. They were so debilitating that she couldn’t get herself out of bed to work or take care of her kids. While she experienced improvement almost immediately after starting treatment, I initially treated her often over a few months. We wanted to make sure to really get to the root of the issue to resolve it entirely. I am happy to say that she has not had a visual migraine in years. She comes in for a booster treatment as the seasons change just to make sure she is being preemptive. Once in a while she will stop in for an overall wellness visit.
My next patient is a 70-year-old female. She has had a difficult personal life with a lot of loss. Her body took a hit time and time again as she was exposed to so many challenges. When she is overwhelmed by the stress of it all, her back is the recipient of this and gives out on her. Back pain and sciatica is something I treat on a daily basis. It is very responsive to acupuncture. I incorporate some stress relieving points, and use both acupuncture and electric stimulation, otherwise known as e-stim. I attach electrodes via a butterfly clip to the actual acupuncture needles that have been inserted into various meridians to open the back and relieve the pain. It functions similarly to a TENS unit used by many physical therapists and chiropractors. However, unlike the TENS unit, which works only on the surface of the skin, the e-stim penetrates into the soft tissue and deep into the muscle. The effect is incredible. The patient leaves feeling like a burden has been lifted, and her back is already so much better. I know over the course of the next few hours and next day she will continue to have improvement.
In walks a 32-year-old female who is struggling with secondary infertility. She was fortunate to become pregnant with little effort with her first child. Since then she has struggled for over three years trying to conceive again. She is extremely frustrated and very tearful and emotional. I just started seeing her and fully believe we will be able to help her in just a few cycles without any added intervention. When I explain how common secondary infertility is, she breathes a sigh of relief. Just knowing she is not alone, and that this is something women often experience, makes her feel hopeful.
Acupuncture is incredible for treating infertility on its own, as well as in conjunction with both IUI and IVF. It can enhance the success rate when the intervention is necessary. Most fertility specialists today recommend their patients utilize acupuncture simultaneously for implantation success, especially when you consider the costs involved of each round. As a mom, this is definitely one of my favorite things to treat. To be able to help someone achieve their dream of becoming a mother for the first time or growing their beautiful family, gives me endless pleasure. My camera roll on my phone is flooded with baby pictures and updates!
My next patient is a teenager. He has severe anxiety and depression. It stops him in his tracks. He is overwhelmed by life overall and feels like he does not belong in his family, at school, etc. He can’t find a place where he feels happy and a part of things. I work closely with the family as a relay between the psychiatrist and the psychologist whom he sees regularly as well. Sometimes the best approach is when we work in synergy. In this case, it is a steady climb to helping him feel more whole. He is beginning to see his future and respond to goals. After his treatment, his smile comes more easily. It is hard to put it into words, but he describes himself as feeling lighter.
My next patient is a middle-aged male who has inoperable lung cancer. He is one of the kindest people you will ever meet. If you ran into him on the street, you would have no idea how advanced his illness is. He is religious about his acupuncture treatments and rarely misses an appointment. We work on supporting his immune system, which can be compromised from his chemotherapy treatments. This is always an essential part of treating the side effects of cancer. It is vital that we help sustain energy and support to allow for the person to be able to handle their treatments. We also focus on the side effects that vary with the days after a chemo treatment. We have worked on severe fatigue, mouth sores and ulcers, as well as peripheral neuropathy where there is numbness and tingling and loss of sensation in the fingers and toes. This can affect a person’s ability to dress themselves, close buttons and zippers, as well as feed themselves. Quality of life is a huge factor in why this patient makes his acupuncture sessions a priority.
Often my patients tell me they can receive acupuncture in the oncology department of the hospital where they receive treatment. Acupuncture is recognized worldwide for its incredible influence in this area. These patients prefer to come to our wellness center, where they explain that they feel like they are going to a spa, rather than feeling like a cancer patient. A lot of time and energy went into my designing AcuZen Wellness Center for precisely this reason. I want each and every patient, regardless of what they are being treated for, to check their stress, anxiety, and pain at the door, and to come in knowing that they are in a place where their optimal wellness in mind and body is our primary function. In future articles, I will describe some of the other excitement happening at AcuZen including the magical salt caves that relieve stress, respiratory, and skin conditions as well as the state-of-the-art yoga studio.
I love the diversity in my day. It is certainly never boring or mundane. One thing that remains a constant is my appreciation and respect for the power of Chinese medicine, holistic healing, and the miracles I see in my practice every day. Stop in and check it out. Our doors are open to help you on your own personal wellness journey, and to help you heal in both mind and body.
Deborah Rothman is a licensed acupuncturist and a Diplomate of Acupuncture with a private practice in Woodmere. Comments and questions are welcome. She can be reached at 516-203-4500 or Deborah@AcuZen.com. Please visit AcuZen.com and follow Acu‑Zen on Facebook.