Acupuncturist brings services to Margaretville
By Julia Green
Choir practice isn’t the only thing going on in the Margaretville United Meth-odist Church during the week these days. Now, on Friday afternoons, the church is home to an acupuncture clinic offered by Julia Rose, a licensed acupuncturist and board-certified Chinese herbalist who operates the Phoenicia Healing Arts Center.
Rose was working in her Phoenicia-based private practice when, last spring, she started a sliding scale clinic after hearing of others that had been successful.
“It just made sense for the economy and for the area,” she said. The “sliding scale” aspect of the clinic means that patients pay what they can afford within given parameters; treatments take place in a quiet, comfortable and calming communal environment.
And, based on popular demand, she was encouraged to consider offering a similar clinic in Margaretville.
“I had clients coming from here, and I had been doing private sessions in Margaretville since 2006 or 2007,” she said. “Some clients kept saying when I opened the clinic in Phoenicia, ‘You should really do it here.’”
So she did, first in the Commons building on Main Street and then in the BodyWorx massage therapy building before finding her current home in the Methodist Church this past winter. She hopes her numbers will grow to match the 20-25 patients a week she sees in her Phoenicia clinic.
“The familiarity with [acupuncture] is become more and more as it’s in the news, and it’s starting to catch on a little more,” she said. “People I wouldn’t necessarily expect to see have started to come to me a little more, so that’s great. And there have been some amazing recoveries that have shocked even me. I’m amazed by this medicine every day.”
Born in California and raised in Tokyo, Rose worked as a road manager in the music industry before finding her way to Chinese medicine.
“One day I decided I’d had enough of the road,” she said. “It was like it came down from the heavens and hit me in the head. After a tour, I said, ‘I’m going to go to acupuncture school’ – and I haven’t look back since.”
That was in 1999, and Rose enrolled in the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York, where she completed a four-year program and earned her Master of Science degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine. She complemented her classroom education with a year of study with a senior acupuncturist and bonesetter, another year of study with a fertility specialist, and a mentor in Japan with whom she has had a relationship for a number of years.
She practiced in the city for two years and then practiced in both the city and Phoenicia before ultimately leaving the city to practice solely in Phoenicia; all the while, she continued studying.
“It’s a 3,000-year old medicine,” she said. “How can you learn it all? That’s partly what’s so exciting – there’s no ceiling.”
More than a pincushion
The science of acupuncture involves the use of ultra-fine, sterile, disposable stainless steel needles to unblock areas where Qi, the life-force energy, has become blocked. Just one aspect of Chinese medicine, acupuncture works along the concept that Qi flows through the body primarily along specific meridians, or channels.
“What we’re doing with acupuncture is manipulating the energy to reestablish the harmonious flow of energy throughout the body,” Rose said. “Energy could be blocked, which causes pain or causes energy not to get to the place or organ where it’s needed.”
In addition to the flow of Qi, Chinese medicine looks at the body, mind and spirit as a whole and as such, organs are seen as having not only specific physiological functions but also emotional, spiritual, energetic and physical functions.
“For example,” Rose explained, “the lungs bring in air and oxygen to the body. But with Chinese medicine, they also help to circulate Qi through the body, as the force of breath forces energy through the body. And emotionally, they allow us to bring in things and to expel things; it’s about accepting and letting go of things that don’t serve us anymore.”
And, while acupuncture is most commonly associated with pain management, it is also used to address a variety of other health-related issues, including: smoking cessation; weight loss; hormonal issues such as fertility, menopause, and menstrual issues; internal medicine disorders such as colitis and gastroenteritis; asthma; emotional issues; and anything related to the organs. The view of acupuncture as solely for pain management is perhaps one of the most common misconceptions about the practice of the medicine.
“Acupuncture does deal with pain management, but that’s just part of it,” Rose said. “It’s a full medicine with its own pathophysiology, physiology, and its own diagnostic criteria and treatment protocols.
“Western medicine is more than just, ‘Oh, no, it’s broken, let’s fix it,’” she added. “Western medicine tends to be more palliative than curative. Chinese medicine strives to get to the root of the matter. Symptoms are a manifestation of a problem, not the root of the problem. And unless you get to the root of the problem, you’re not going to solve the problem.”
Acupuncture is also highly beneficial in easing stress, as it helps to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems; that is, the “fight or flight” side and the “rest and digest” side.
Rose added that over time, patients who undergo acupuncture treatments become more in tune with their bodies and their health issues, in part because of the communication involved in the process.
“We need a certain amount of feedback, so we ask patients to pay closer attention so we know which way to go,” she said. “For instance, is the headache sharp, dull, aching? People really have to pay attention.”
Rose identified diet as the most common way people abuse their bodies, and a major factor in some health issues.
“Food is something we are constantly putting in our bodies three, four, and five times a day,” she said. “But somewhere along the way, our food culture became boxed and canned and full of preservatives. We’ve falsely created a mega-industry that’s ruining our health and ruining our food supply and polluting the earth.
“Food is medicine and food is poison, depending on what you eat.”
In addition to the physical benefits, Rose said that acupuncture treatments are good for the mental aspect of wellness, as they offer a sense of empowerment and a degree of command over one’s own physical health.
“It’s about taking responsibility for our own wellness, and being more in tune, and that’s really empowering. It’s teaching people to take responsibility for their health and teaching them that they can make changes. I think people have given over control and thrown their hands up; it’s nice to know we do have control.”
To make an appointment or for more information, contact Julia Rose at the Phoenicia Healing Arts Center at 688-2323.