From Healed to Healers
Personal Experiences Inspire Local Acupuncturists
by Elisa SmithRachel Rizzi, M.S., L.Ac., of Great Spring Acupuncture, had such a positive experience with acupuncture as a young adult that she decided to pursue it as a career. “I felt better physically and emotionally and wanted to be able to help others in the same way,” she says.
Fueled by her experience with the renowned Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, where she helped establish its successful acupuncture program, Rizzi works in conjunction with patients and their other healthcare providers. “In my practice, I tie together seemingly unrelated symptoms within the framework of Chinese medical theory. Acupuncture is a wonderful complement to other therapies, including working with Western Medicine and other modalities such as psychotherapy, physical therapy, yoga and massage therapy.”
Her experience with patients has taught Rizzi that it’s important for people to “listen to their bodies and honor the information being given. Patients can help themselves greatly in the healing process, even with simple changes; they have more power than they may realize.”
Bridge Acupuncture’s Grace Rollins, M.S., L.Ac., and Paolo Propato, L.Ac., also began their acupuncture careers as the result of their own positive experiences, Rollins finding relief from chronic back pain, skin problems and fatigue, and Propato from a serious chronic sinus condition.
The clinic specializes in Japanese acupuncture, which Rollins says produces better results for their patients. Both Rollins and Propato have studied under Kiiko Matsumoto, the internationally acclaimed founder of Kiiko style of acupuncture, which relies more on palpation for diagnosis and treatment. "Because palpation is heavily used, we get to know the patients’ bodies and spirit very intimately,” Propato notes. “That alone may create a space for someone to begin the healing process.”
The clinic’s adjunct therapies include meditation and qi gong, Shiatsu and Tui na styles of bodywork, moxibustion (a technique used to stimulate symptomatic areas with heat by burning the leaf of the mugwort plant), auricular acupuncture (often used for smoking cessation, pain and stress/relaxation), micro-electrical techniques (useful for acute injuries, pain/inflammation, sinus and skin problems), Gua Sha (a form of cutaneous friction therapy), and cupping (which uses a vacuum effect to remove deep-level stagnation in points and tissues). Patients also receive nutritional guidance.
Through her experience as both patient and healer, Rollins sees acupuncture as “a practical, safe and inexpensive medicine that deals with the whole person. Clearly it has endured through the ages because it works.”
Great Spring Acupuncture is located at 455 Pennsylvania Ave., Ste. 290, in Fort Washington. For more information, visit GreatSpringAcupuncture.com or call 215-559-4655.
Bridge Acupuncture is located at 30 Garden Alley, in Doylestown. For more information, visit BridgeAcupuncture.com or call 215-348-8058.
Elisa Smith is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings. She can be reached at [email protected]. January 2016.