Christina Robich has been a Registered Nurse for over 20 years and has practiced in some of New York’s most valued institutions. In the early 90′s, she desired to enhance her education and entered the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program at Mercy College. In August 2000, Christina received a Master’s degree and became a Diplomat in Acupuncture. Christina is currently licensed in the State of New York as an Acupuncturist and trained herbologist with her own practice in White Plains, New York. Salonpas sat down with Christina to learn more about the benefits of acupuncture:
What led you to practice acupuncture?
I always had an innate curiosity in regard to the human body and illness. So, after high school, I took the conventional route and became a nurse. I enjoyed nursing, but I always knew that there was more or other ways to help people. In essence, I always had this sense that I needed to do more and learn more. It was an insatiable feeling. Interestingly, as I was raising my four children I met many natural practitioners and they were more than willing to teach me and I would sit at their knees savoring every bit of knowledge that came my way. Then one day, I was invited to an open house for an Acupuncture program and I instantly knew that it was my destiny. I applied to this unique program and my life has not been the same since.
What types of maladies can acupuncture address?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is just that, a medicine. Acupuncture and herbs can treat any pathology that is presented and I often tell patients that an acupuncturist is similar to a primary care physician, but we have a 5,000 year track record.
The ideal is to use TCM for prevention. By using different diagnostic tools, an acupuncturist can literally “see the future” and assist the patient with preventative measures. It is quite common to have someone come to my office for stress reduction; the precursor of most pathologies.
How long does a patient go to an acupuncturist? Is it one session or does a patient commit to multiple sessions?
Textbook is 4-5 treatments for pain relief. Most patients experience resolution of their pain during the first or second treatment, however it is wise to add more visits to make sure that the root of the problem is resolved.
Why do acupuncturists check the patient’s pulse and tongue?
Tongue and pulse diagnosis are two of the more important diagnostic tools in Chinese medicine. They are both used to derive a TCM diagnosis for a condition which is used to plan a treatment schedule. The tongue is the only internal organ that we can see and will show the depth and nature (hot, cold, etc.) of an imbalance and it is less affected by short-term influences such as nervousness. The tongue is also useful as a measurement tool to gauge the progress of a disorder. The pulse provides immediate and specific information that can help clarify contradictory diagnostic information and symptomology. Simply put, it is interpreting the flow of blood in the radial artery at the wrist. In the hands of an expert practitioner, the pulse can reveal anatomical problems and a myriad of other patterns or diseases.
Tell us more about the adjunct therapies your practices does including Cupping and Gua Sha.
There are many ancient, adjunct therapies that are used in TCM. Gua Sha and cupping have many uses but are primarily used for pain. When pain is felt, it is due to a lack of oxygen to the cells regardless of the cause or type of pain. When the blood and lymph circulation is sluggish or compromised in an area or cannot be spread to the cells waste by-products start to clog up the system. The Chinese call this “blood poison” or Sha. Diagnostically, pain and lowered range of motion is a sign of Sha as well as blanching when the flesh is pressed. If Sha is suspected, then either cupping or Gua Sha is indicated. Both or these are usually carried out on the back, with the patient prone or sitting, leaning forward. Both treatments promote circulation and normalize metabolic processes. It is a valuable treatment for both external and internal pain, and is an excellent treatment for acute and chronic disorders. Cupping exerts suction to the skin to draw and Gua Sha is pressure that enables the stagnation to dissipate. The mark that is left after this treatment is temporary and is the result of toxins coming to the surface.
How does acupuncture and oriental medicine improve a woman’s reproductive health?
Acupuncture affects the central nervous system to regulate the pituitary and the hormonal system. Acupuncture also promotes circulation of blood and energy throughout your body, especially to the reproductive organs (ovaries, uterus, testicles), which is extremely important to help you achieve optimum reproductive balance. The first book on gynecology is The Complete Book of Effective Prescriptions for Diseases of Women. It was published in 1237 A.D.
Are you a nutritionist as well? Do you recommend a specific nutrition plan for optimal health?
Lifestyle and dietary changes are part of the healing process. I was trained in various dietary disciplines and often suggest implementing or eliminating certain foods or supplements. Most pathology can be easily traced back to the diet. I am also a trained herbalist and I include herbal therapies if necessary.
Tell us about some success stories you’ve seen with patients.
This is the hardest question of all because there are so many. How do we define success? Most patients receive pain relief; I can look back and remember how they came in the office bent over or unable to walk, and then see they come back with smiles and a lilt in their gait. I have many pictures of my “Grandchildren” on the office wall because their mom’s sought natural treatment. There are so many young girls that no longer suffer with menstrual pain or other gynecological problems. There were 2 people that came here on separate occasions because they were going blind and because of TCM the pathophysiology was stopped. A man that had his spinal tract severed during surgery that could not put one foot in from of the other when he walked; He can now run with his daughter. Depressed people that now smile, tremors stopped, MS kept at bay, chemo reactions quieted, migraines resolved, ear problems abated, etc., etc. All of these stories are wonderful, but my favorite is when someone comes in my office starting a new journey of health and self-discovery. This happens a great deal and I enjoy watching the transformation. A person that does this will most likely not come back with other problems and enjoy life to the fullest.
What are your resolutions for the New Year?
As before, I resolve to teach people that they have healthcare options and they need to know what they are. I want to generate good healthcare consumers. Personally, my new resolution or adventure is a NO GRAIN eating program. So far, so good!