The Wellness Point -- Life Balanced



Frequently Asked Questions


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We are providing this comprehensive website, including our different FAQ pages, to help you understand the full range of services offered by The Wellness Point. Thank you for visiting.


Acupuncture

What is acupuncture?
Does acupuncture hurt?
Is acupuncture safe?
Does acupuncture work?
Why have acupuncture?
What can acupuncture treat?
Is acupuncture used only for pain relief?
Can acupuncture help me quit smoking?
What about weight loss?
What can acupuncture do for infertility?
How widely is acupuncture used in the United States?
Who can practice acupuncture in the state of PA?
How long is my visit?
What is my visit like?
How should I dress for my appointment?
How many treatments will I need?
Do I have to believe in acupuncture?
Does my insurance cover this?


Osteopathy

What is a D.O.?
What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)?
What can you treat with OMM?
So, are you essentially the same as a chiropractor?
Does OMM hurt?
Is OMM safe?
How long is my visit?
How many treatments will I need?
Does my insurance cover this?


Counseling

What is an M.S.W.?
What kinds of issues do you address?
How do I know if we click in a therapeutic relationship?
What is unique about your counseling services?
How would you describe yourself and your style as a therapist?
How long is a counseling session?
How long is my treatment?
Do you offer group therapy or classes?
Does my insurance cover this?
Is what I say confidential?


Hours and Fees

Do you offer same-day and next-day scheduling?
Do you have early morning, night and weekend hours?
Do you accept bartering as payment?
Is there a sales tax on your services?
Are your fees tax deductible?


Other Questions

Are you a licensed physician?
Are you a Naturopath?
Do you also counsel about Herbal medicine?
I see a chiropractor. Can I still come to you?
Are you my primary care physician?
Are you practicing General Family medicine as well as specializing in holistic treatments such as acupuncture and OMM?
What made you want to do more “alternative” medicine?
What is unique about your clinic?
Do you provide services in any other languages?






Acupuncture


Q. What is acupuncture?




A. Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. Acupuncture is a system of healing that has developed over thousands of years as part of the traditional medicine of China, Japan, and other Eastern countries. The earliest records of acupuncture date back over 3,000 years. Today, there are over 3 million practitioners worldwide. Acupuncture is becoming increasingly more accepted and popular in Western medicine as well. In fact, the program from which I obtained my certification is the same program that has hosted researchers from the National Institute of Health, as they are studying acupuncture with particular interest as its use increases dramatically in the United States.

Traditional acupuncture is based on the principle that our health depends on the balanced functioning of the body’s energy, known as Qi (or ch’i). When we are in perfect health, all the energy runs harmoniously throughout our body. When an illness arises, the flow of energy becomes disturbed and this can manifest in a diverse array of symptoms. Using very fine needles, acupuncture aims to correct the flow of energy; and by doing so, symptoms are lessened or eliminated. Anyone who has enjoyed the benefits of exercises like tai chi or qi gong can appreciate the philosophy of energy healing.

Areas of the body that are tender to the touch or discolored may correspond to blocked Qi (energy). These clues help practitioners know which points need to be treated in order to bring the body back into balance.

The term itself (acupuncture) describes a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques. American practices of acupuncture incorporate medical traditions from many parts of the world including China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The acupuncture technique that has been most scientifically studied involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation.

Acupuncture isn't just about using needles. In fact, some patients prefer not to have needles. Other techniques may also be used such as acupressure, cupping (not a service I provide), or moxibustion.



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Q. Does acupuncture hurt?




A. Some people say that acupuncture is a sublimely relaxing experience. Some people have it done regularly for the same reason many people get regular massages—to relax and feel rejuvenated! Some say you don’t feel the needles at all. And some say that it feels like a tiny mosquito bite.

When many people think of needles, what often comes to mind are the big syringes used for taking blood, or perhaps painful memories of being poked and tested in the hospital. Acupuncture needles are very different. They are hair-fine! I have treated many patients who fear needles yet derive lots of benefit from acupuncture treatment. Consider this, if you have a real needle phobia, you wouldn’t even be reading this website. Acupuncture needles are very fine. Acupuncture needles are often described as being not much thicker than a human hair. Insertion of the needle is usually completely painless, although occasionally you might feel something—depending on what is being treated and the needle technique involved, you may feel a mild ache, numbness, or a sensation at the needle. This generally isn’t unpleasant and is a sign that the acupuncture is working.

Having acupuncture treatment is not painful or scary. And bear in mind if you really don’t want to try acupuncture treatment with needles, then we can always try massage or acupressure.

For an inside look at one person's experience with acupuncture, read this article at CNN.com.


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Q. Is acupuncture safe?




A. Absolutely yes. Acupuncture has one of the best safety records of any form of medicine. Obviously, it is important to make sure you go to a licensed acupuncturist who is properly trained for safe and effective application. Studies show that not only is acupuncture safe, common side effects/reactions include feeling relaxed and feeling energized.

Also, I abide by strict hygienic procedures and use only sterile, disposable needles.


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Q. Does acupuncture work?




A. Yes. According to the National Institutes of Health Consensus Statement on Acupuncture, there have been many studies on acupuncture's potential usefulness and promising results have emerged, showing efficacy of acupuncture, for example, in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are also other conditions--such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma--in which acupuncture may be quite useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative. It can also be included in a comprehensive management program.

An NCCAM-funded study recently showed that acupuncture provides pain relief, improves function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee, and serves as an effective complement to standard care. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.

A 2007 study performed by German researchers shows that acupuncture is nearly twice as effective as traditional treatments (anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, exercise, etc.) in treating low back pain. Nearly half of the patients that received acupuncture treatments had measurable pain relief after 6 months. Only one-quarter of patients receiving traditional treatments could say the same.

I am an open-minded person and I am also a traditionally trained and licensed physician and as such, am ostensibly held to a higher standard of care. I don’t practice any treatments that aren’t widely accepted and proven to be effective. I do believe that if something works, whether or not it is a “placebo” at the core essentially doesn’t matter, so long as it provides relief and healing. That being said, I do not believe that acupuncture is placebo. I strongly believe that acupuncture really does work very well for many, many conditions. And I’m very happy to be able to offer this service to our community.


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Q. Why have acupuncture treatment?






A. There are many possible reasons for considering acupuncture treatment and, of course, everyone has their own motivations. Here are a few of these reasons:

  • Acupuncture is both a safe and effective form of medicine.
  • Acupuncture is holistic and aims to regulate the energy of the body and bring it back into balance.
  • Acupuncture treats both the symptoms and the root of an illness or condition.
  • Acupuncture can identify imbalances in the body at a very early stage.
  • Acupuncture can treat signs and symptoms that may not have a clear Western medical diagnosis.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine has been practiced for over 2000 years, offering a well-established medical system that has developed from observation as well as practice.
  • Acupuncture can help you wean off of certain prescription drugs (with your Primary Care Practitioner’s consent).
  • Acupuncture can be a useful alternative for those who do not wish to take prescription drugs for whatever personal or medical reasons.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a unique perspective of how to view the body and can therefore often give more understanding about a disease process and how it may have developed.

Acupuncture may be another alternative after trying everything else! It is not uncommon for patients to come to the clinic as a 'last measure.'


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Q. What can acupuncture treat?




A. The basic answer is that acupuncture can treat MANY conditions, but a much longer answer follows complete with a list of conditions. Basically, acupuncture can treat just about anything and acupuncture is especially effective in treating pain.

In an official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials (PDF), the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the following symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture:

Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
Biliary colic
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)

Acute bacillary dysentery
Primary dysmenorrhoea
Acute epigastralgia (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
Headache
Essential hypertension
Primary hypotension
Induction of labor
Knee pain
Leukopenia
Low back pain
Correction of malposition of fetus (breech position)
Morning sickness
Nausea and vomiting
Neck pain
Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
Periarthritis of shoulder
Postoperative pain
Renal colic
Rheumatoid arthritis
Sciatica
Sprain
Stroke (can speed recovery/rehabilitation as much as 50%)
Tennis elbow

The WHO goes on to list diseases, symptoms, or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed:

Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
Acne
Alcohol dependence and detoxification
Bell's palsy
Bronchial asthma
Cancer pain
Cardiac neurosis
Chronic cholecystitis with acute exacerbation (Gallbladder disease)
Cholelithiasis (Gallstones)
Competition stress syndrome
Closed head injury
Non-insulin-dependent (Type 2) diabetes mellitus
Earache
Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
Female infertility
Facial spasm
Female urethral syndrome
Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
Gouty arthritis
Gut motility problems
Hepatitis
Herpes zoster/Shingles
Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
Insomnia
Labor pain
Lactation deficiency
Non-organic male sexual dysfunction
Ménière disease
Post-herpetic neuralgia
Neurodermatitis
Nosebleed (without generalized or local disease)
Obesity
Opioid, cocaine and heroin dependence
Osteoarthritis
Pain due to endoscopic examination
Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
Polycystic ovary syndrome (stein-leventhal syndrome)
Postextubation in children
Postoperative convalescence
Premenstrual syndrome
Chronic prostatitis
Pruritus (itching)
Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
Primary raynaud syndrome
Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
Schizophrenia
Drug-induced sialism
Sjögren syndrome
Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
Acute spine pain
Stiff neck
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Tietze syndrome
Tobacco dependence
Tourette syndrome
Chronic ulcerative colitis
Urinary retention
Urolithiasis
Vascular dementia
Whooping cough (pertussis)

The WHO then goes on to list diseases, symptoms, or conditions for which there are only individual controlled trials reporting some therapeutic effects, but for which acupuncture is worth trying because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult:

Chloasma
Central serous choroidopathy
Color blindness
Deafness
Hypophrenia
Irritable colon syndrome/Irritable bowel syndrome
Neuropathic bladder in spinal cord injury
Chronic pulmonary heart disease
Small airway obstruction

The WHO also lists diseases, symptoms, or conditions for which acupuncture may be tried provided the practitioner has special modern medical knowledge and adequate monitoring equipment:

Breathlessness in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Coma
Convulsions in infants
Coronary heart disease (angina pectoris)
Diarrhea in infants and young children
Late stage viral encephalitis in children
Progressive bulbar and pseudobulbar paralysis


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Q. Is acupuncture used only for pain relief?




A. Acupuncture is used for pain relief and much more as the previous list clearly illustrates. It is a fairly common misconception that acupuncture is just about pain relief. It is true that acupuncture can be used very effectively in this way; however, when it is performed well, it can cause both structural and functional changes in our bodies. For example, in the treatment of back pain, acupuncture needles are inserted into problematic areas and doing so will cause the muscles to relax. As the muscles relax, there will be a subtle change in the spinal vertebrae since the muscles are no longer pulling the spine out of alignment. As the spine moves, it is possible that another area in the back may tighten up and this is treated accordingly. Therefore, it is possible to unravel a type of ‘holding pattern’ that will have formed due to a combination of poor posture, injuries, stress, etc. This is a good example of acupuncture causing structural changes.

An example of a functional disorder is dysmenorrhea (painful periods). Some women suffer from very painful periods that may arise for a variety of reasons. If they are particularly severe, your PCP may prescribe birth control pills. This treatment may be very successful in helping the symptoms subside; however, the periods are being artificially regulated and this does have its inherent dangers. Acupuncture treatment aims to restore the correct movement of menstrual blood by regulating the flow of energy in the acupuncture channels. This is a good example of acupuncture causing functional change.


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Q. Can acupuncture help me quit smoking?




A. Yes. Acupuncture is useful in the treatment of any addiction, nicotine included. There are, of course, no guarantees that any smoking cessation treatment (nicotine gum, patches, etc.) will work for every person every time, but as long as you have the desire and motivation to quit smoking, acupuncture can help in your efforts. Typically the treatment starts with daily treatments for about 2 weeks. During this time you should notice that your cravings are significantly less in frequency and intensity. After the initial 2 week treatment you may call and schedule an appointment whenever you feel you need a "tune-up." The treatment period lasts a total of 6 months.

Since opening our office in 2007, we have helped nearly 3 dozen patients successfully stop smoking.

See our Services and Fees section for current pricing.


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Q. What about weight loss?




A. If you are looking to rapidly lose weight before the swimming suit season, acupuncture is probably not the right solution for you. If you are looking for a way to supplement your own nutrition and exercise program, acupuncture can certainly help. Acupuncture treatments are most useful in curbing cravings and increasing will power. Treatments can be tailored to your individual needs, and are typically arranged in a monthly schedule. We will begin with a thorough consultation, followed by six treatments scheduled over a 3-week period. Each month we will repeat this sequence, adding other visits as necessary. We can continue these treatments for as long as you feel it is helpful. You may also opt to have daily e-mail contact as part of your treatment program. See our Services and Fees section for current pricing.

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Q. What can acupuncture do for infertility?




A. Infertility can be a difficult and emotional problem to deal with. At The Wellness Point we strive to provide a supportive and encouraging atmosphere as you pursue treatment options. Acupuncture works best as a supplement to traditional infertility treatments. It will address not only the infertility itself, but also the wide range of emotional concerns that go along with this condition. The usual treatment regimen consists of twice weekly acupuncture sessions for three months. If you are using in vitro fertilization (IVF) these sessions would occur in the three months prior to an IVF attempt. Whatever treatments you are currently pursuing for infertility, we will be happy to work along with the physician addressing your condition so as to coordinate our efforts.

A 2006 German study of 225 women undergoing IVF compared those who got real versus sham acupuncture and found that nearly 34 percent of the acupuncture group got pregnant, compared with 28 percent of the other group.

Since opening our clinic, four patients have undergone acupuncture treatments for infertility. Three of these women had successful pregnancies. A 75% success rate is very impressive in the world of IVF. Local infertility specialists refer patients to our office because they recognize the positive effect acupuncture can have.

See our Services and Fees section for current pricing.


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Q. How widely is acupuncture used in the United States?




A. In the past three decades, acupuncture has grown in popularity in the United States. The report from a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 stated that acupuncture is being "widely" practiced--by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners--for relief or prevention of pain and for various other health conditions. According to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey--the largest and most comprehensive survey of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by American adults to date--an estimated 8.2 million U.S. adults had ever used acupuncture, and an estimated 2.1 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture in the previous year. (Source: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/#used)

These numbers are ever growing. Acupuncture has recently gained a great deal of publicity and attention on the Oprah Winfrey show. You can read about Oprah’s 1st public experience with acupuncture here: http://www.healthy.net/scr/news.asp?Id=8961 (great article with some excellent points about acupuncture).


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Q. Who can practice acupuncture in the state of Pennsylvania?




A. Pennsylvania is one of the most restrictive states in the United States with regard to who is allowed to practice acupuncture. There are only two groups of professionals that can practice acupuncture in the state of Pennsylvania--Licensed Physicians (M.D.s or D.O.s) who have undergone 200 hours of training through an accredited program and Licensed Acupuncturists.

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Q. How long is my visit?






A. Your first visit is an hour long. During this consultation, we will discuss not only your presenting issue, but also your medical history, including any medications or treatments that you are receiving from your primary care physician. In keeping with our holistic philosophy of health, we will also take time to discuss your diet, exercise, emotional well being, and overall life satisfaction. After our discussion, you will receive your first acupuncture treatment. Any subsequent visits are generally 30 minutes long.

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Q. What is my visit like?




A. Dress comfortably for your visit. When you arrive, you will be promptly seen. Please try to arrive a few minutes early for your appointment. We are very careful to keep on schedule, so that it is highly unusual for you to be seen more than a few minutes past your scheduled time. Arriving early allows you to rest a few minutes and it also allows your pulses to calm for the visit. When a patient rushes to make an appointment, it disturbs the qi and pulse.

We want to make sure that you benefit fully from a complete treatment session, and this is another reason to come a little early. In order to be fair to other patients, we do not extend the treatment into another patient's appointment if you arrive late.

After a brief discussion of your condition and well-being, we will begin the session. Most of your session involves relaxing on the table while the acupuncture needles are inserted and stay in place for a while. Half way through your visit, I will twirl the needles and they will stay in place again for the rest of the visit.

During your treatment I may need to leave the treatment room in order to assist other patients as they arrive for their appointments or need to check out. This will always be done in a way to maintain a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Expect to already feel better after your first visit. Acupuncture is both relaxing and energizing—remember that some do acupuncture exclusively for these benefits.


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Q. How should I dress for my appointment?




A. Most acupuncture points I typically use are located between the elbow and hand and also between the knee and foot. Therefore, for a lot of conditions it is only necessary to roll up pants & shirtsleeves, provided what you’re wearing is comfortable, loose clothing (which we recommend for this reason).

Obviously, there are occasions when it is necessary to treat areas such as the low back. This is done by simply having you lay face down on the treatment table and sliding up the lower hem of your shirt just a few inches. For women, we recommend that you wear a sports bra or similar athletic clothing in the event that we need to treat your upper back. That way, I can treat the muscles and acupuncture points on the back while you lay face down on the table. I am extremely respectful of patients’ modesty and always leave the treatment room so that you may have privacy in the case that you need to change into more comfortable clothing for your treatment. I have never had to place needles in areas more intimate than what I have described above.

It is important to us that you feel comfortable during your treatment sessions. If you would like to bring someone with you for moral support or to learn more about acupuncture, you are welcome to do so. We have extra chairs in the treatment rooms for this reason.



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Q. How many treatments will I need?




A. The number of treatments necessary depends on the condition being treated. We will discuss this together during your consultation. We strive to treat a person holistically so that all aspects of life are considered as part of the treatment and consultations. A basic rule of thumb is that recent injuries and conditions seen at an early stage will often improve immediately and those conditions that have been present for longer periods may require more treatment (even more serious and chronic conditions will require more extensive therapy). Again, we can discuss this together at your consultation.

For many disorders, symptoms often reflect underlying conditions that may have to be treated beyond the point at which the symptoms themselves have improved. If treatments are stopped too quickly after symptoms begin to respond, the condition may eventually return and more quickly, too.

To give you an idea, a course of treatments for recent and/or acute problems in a generally healthy person may range from 2 to 5 visits. In more extreme cases, like a person with many health problems and/or a chronic disease, as many as 7 to 15 sessions may be required before an initial response is seen. Our goal is to help you as completely and efficiently as possible with the appropriate number of visits--no more, no less.

You may have friends or family members who say they tried acupuncture once and it did not work. Don't let this discourage you. While you will see some improvement in as little time as one treatment, a vast majority of conditions will require multiple visits. We will discuss the specifics of your treatment plan at your initial consultation.


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Q. Do I have to believe in acupuncture?






A. Quite simply, no. Of course, a positive attitude and state of mind will help any healing process, but it is certainly not prerequisite that you believe in acupuncture for the treatment to be successful. Interestingly enough, acupuncture is also used successfully on animals such as horses and dogs (and whether or not they believe in it is open for debate).

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Q. Does my insurance cover this?






A. Some insurance companies do cover acupuncture as it’s becoming more and more accepted by western medicine. Many, however, do not. Most insurance policies now offer a limited sum of money for complementary medicine that has proven to be effective, such as acupuncture and osteopathy. Some insurance companies require a referral from your Primary Care Practitioner (PCP) in order to qualify. If your PCP is willing, then this can be arranged. I am happy to write to your PCP with your consent. Presently, Medicare and Medicaid do not pay for acupuncture. Participants in these programs must agree to be responsible for all fees. 

Payment is expected in full at the time of each visit by cash or credit card. No billing or payment plans are accepted. We are not affiliated with any insurance plans, though we do provide you with a detailed receipt that you can submit to your own insurance company in the case that they reimburse treatment for our services.

We are approved acupuncture providers for the Lebanon VA Medical Center. Talk to your VA primary care provider about obtaining a referral for our services. We are also often able to work directly with workman's compensation providers and auto insurance companies when dealing with injuries covered by these plans.

If you have a Medical Savings Account (MSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or a Medicare Medical Savings Account, you will be able to use these funds for acupuncture treatments.

Remember, acupuncture is yet another way to improve your health and well being, much like exercise, diet, and vitamins.


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Osteopathy





Q. What is a D.O.?




A. A D.O. is a physician that has attended an osteopathic, rather than an allopathic, medical school. Simply, D.O. stands for “Doctor of Osteopathy.” When people go to medical school to become physicians, they are either M.D.s (allopathic) or D.O.s (osteopathic). People may also choose to attend a school of naturopathy to become naturopaths. The initials “M.D.” is often used interchangeably with the word “physician,” but it is a misconception that all physicians are M.D.s.

D.O.s are physicians and go though the same training as M.D.s with a couple of additional areas of training and slight differences in philosophy. Firstly, the emphasis in an osteopathic medical school is a philosophical one. During medical school and training, D.O.s often hear the phrase, “Treat the person, not the symptoms.” There is a strong emphasis on holistic health and treatment. Secondly, D.O.s are trained heavily in musculoskeletal medicine. This means, there is a great deal of training and attention given to the way that problems with muscles and bones affect overall health.

Osteopathic physicians consider the whole person when making a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan as opposed to focusing solely on the symptom or disease process. Osteopathic physicians are trained to know that structure influences function, so they look for areas of the body where the structure may be altered and helped through osteopathic manipulation in order to improve function to a particular body region, thereby influencing the entire body.

Osteopathic physicians believe that the body has innate self-healing mechanisms that are key to restoring well-being and maintaining health and that the physician’s job is to provide the proper supportive therapy or preventive measures to help the person return to health or to maintain health. Osteopathic physicians are trained that rational patient care is based on integration of all of these principles.


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Q. What is Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)?






A. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is hands-on care that involves using the hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury. Using OMM, your osteopathic physician (D.O.) will move your muscles and joints using techniques including stretching, gentle pressure and resistance.

OMM is a valuable tool for family doctors and specialists to have. In my experience in family medicine, I’ve often been able to treat a patient with less medication and surgery by using OMM as an alternative or complement to other treatments.

Often what precludes a D.O. from using OMM with his or her patients is the time crunch many physicians face as they strive to keep up with the pressures of insurance company demands. Part of the reason I’ve decided to open this kind of practice is to give me more time with my patients and to be able to care for them using both traditional and alternative treatments without the constraints placed upon so many good physicians in practice today.


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Q. What can you treat with OMM?




A. OMM, also referred to as OMT (Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment) can increase one’s range of motion, help ease joint and muscle pain and tension, and relieve both acute and chronic pain using multiple techniques. Other applications of OMM include treating just about any medical condition from ear infections to asthma to irritable bowel syndrome to carpal tunnel syndrome to many, many other conditions. These treatments are individualized for every patient.

In many cases, OMM can provide immediate pain relief. OMM can also treat most conditions quickly and effectively. And often, OMM, especially as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, can be used in place of medications and surgeries. If OMM can fix something, that’s certainly a better alternative to medications and uncomfortable side effects.


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Q. So are you essentially the same as a chiropractor?






A. Oversimplifying, one might say that OMM is similar to chiropractic care except that there is a lot of “soft tissue manipulation” (massage, counterstrain, “non-cracking” manipulation, etc.) as well as spinal adjustments (“cracking”). However, it is much more than this.

Let me assert that chiropractors offer a very valuable service and I do not view osteopathic manipulation as being in competition with chiropractic care. The focus in health care ought to be on health and well being, not on competition. Chiropractors’ patients tend to have a great deal of respect and appreciation for the care and relief they receive from their chiropractors. As I’ve stated before, any health service that helps a person feel better and enjoy good health is to be greatly valued.

When people hear about osteopathic manipulation, they often compare it to chiropractic adjustments or massage therapy. There are some similarities and there are some differences. Both professions have the goal of overall health and wellness. Most practitioners in both professions have a natural and holistic approach and underlying philosophy.

However, in reality, osteopathic manipulation is also different from both of these types of manual therapy in many ways. The primary difference between osteopathic manipulation and other forms of therapy is that osteopathic physicians have the training to apply the underlying philosophy of osteopathic health care together with comprehensive medical training in all systems of the body, thus setting the stage for how manipulative medicine can be used and individualized with each patient.


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Q. Does OMM hurt?




A. No, OMM does not hurt. Most of the time it feels like gentle massage or repositioning. Sometimes a day or two after treatment, you may feel sore (similar to how you might feel after a workout at the gym), but that’s about the extent of it. OMM generally provides immediate relief.

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Q. Is OMM safe?






A. Absolutely, yes! There are a very few cases where certain types of OMM aren’t right for people based on certain medical conditions, but because we do a full medical history and discussion together, this shouldn’t be a problem.

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Q. How long is my visit?






A. Thirty minutes.

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Q. How many treatments will I need?






A. Many conditions will require only 1 treatment and some will require 3 or 4 treatments. As always, each person receives an individualized treatment plan.

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Q. Does my insurance cover this?




A. Some do and some do not. As with acupuncture, we can provide information that each person's insurance company will need to determine if they can be reimbursed. If you have a Medical Savings Account (MSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or a Medicare Medical Savings Account, you will be able to use these funds for OMM treatments.



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Counseling


Q. What is an M.S.W.?






A. M.S.W. (Master of Social Work) is the designation for the graduate degree conferred on those who complete a Master of Social Work program. I have an M.S.W. with an emphasis in behavioral health. I also have a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities/English Literature (B.A.).

By choice, I am primarily a stay-at-home wife and mom and I enjoy doing therapy on the side. As part of this choice, I’ve also chosen to forgo licensure as that involves an additional 2 years of full-time work. I have been and am primarily home as my husband has obtained his licensure and training. What does this mean for you? Well, there’s a lot of talk out there about the need to get a licensed counselor, hence my addressing the issue here.

Here are my thoughts on it. As with any field, you can find some pretty awful licensed therapists and you can find some really phenomenal therapists who are not licensed. Licensure is touted as being protective of clients. Some feel it is simply a way to generate more money in an already convoluted system. Sometimes reasons are given as to why it’s important to find a licensed therapist. I submit that a therapist who is not licensed can also offer the same kinds of professional, ethical, and impressive services. Similarly, just because a therapist is licensed is no guarantee.

I believe it is important to choose a therapist carefully. It is important to find someone you can trust, someone with whom you feel comfortable spending time, someone who matches your philosophy, someone who is good at what they do, and someone who can make a positive difference in your life—someone who can help you. You have my word (which, with anyone, means more than a license, in my opinion) that I do my best, always keep up on continuing education, and am extremely compassionate.

It is also important to note that the state of Pennsylvania does not require that counselors be licensed.


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Q. What kinds of issues do you address?






A. Technically, I am trained and qualified to address just about any emotional and behavioral issues. However, I primarily counsel individuals and groups dealing with depression, anxiety, stress management, relationship issues, self-esteem issues, and parenting. I personally don’t care much for labels—I focus more on possibilities than pathology.

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Q. How do I know if we “click” in a therapeutic relationship?






A. This is an excellent question. I truly believe that it takes great courage to seek help in such deeply personal and intimate areas. You see, I, too, have sought counseling for myself. Having been there, I’ve found that choosing someone out of the yellow pages to whom you’re going to pour out your innermost feelings and struggles seems almost absurd in its inherent vulnerability. As a counselor, I very much want my clients to be comfortable, feel at ease, and certainly to feel a connection with me so that we can have good and productive sessions together. Because this is so important to me, I offer some unique ways to ensure that we can establish a good therapeutic relationship together (please see next question).

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Q. What is unique about your counseling services?






A.  The short answer is I offer:

1. Free get-to-know-you sessions,
2. Regular email accountability, and
3. Affordable services

1. Free get-to-know-you sessions—The unique aspects of my counseling services stem from my own experiences as both a client and a therapist. Because I know firsthand how intimidating and vulnerable it can feel to choose a counselor and because sometimes it can take “trying out” a few counselors until you find one with whom you feel comfortable, I offer a free 20-minute "get acquainted" session. My honest-to-goodness policy regarding this is, “If we click and you’d like to continue seeing me, great! If we don’t click and you’d rather not continue, absolutely no offense is taken and you’ve figured out something important as you seek help!” Either of those outcomes is fine and fulfills the purpose of the free get-to-know-you session offer.

2. Daily email accountability—Another aspect of counseling that can, in my opinion, facilitate and further good results is accountability and regularity. Often in therapy, there are specific things on which clients work between sessions. At subsequent appointments, those things are discussed. Often during the week or so between appointments, it’s easy to fall back into old habits or not keep up with new skills. Daily accountability would be so beneficial, but what counselor could possibly keep up with talking to all of his or her clients on a daily basis between sessions?! In today’s day and age, I love that we have technology to help us. Therefore, as yet another unique aspect of my counseling services, included in the cost of our sessions together, if you choose, is daily email follow up.

3. Affordable services—I offer affordable services. Whereas most therapists charge upwards of $100/hour, I charge significantly less. I know firsthand how draining and stressful and overwhelming it can feel to deal with emotional issues and prohibitive cost shouldn’t ever be what prevents people from getting help and making their lives significantly better. My low cost also stems in part from my observation that those who are considered low income often have a myriad of programs available to them at little to no cost and the wealthy are able to more easily afford paying for services they desire. Often it is the struggling “middle class” that gets lost in the shuffle. Though my services are for all, I especially hope to help those that get lost in the shuffle—those who don’t qualify for free programs yet can’t easily afford paying for full price services themselves. I purposely offer low cost services so that those who might not otherwise be able to afford help are able to.


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Q. How would you describe yourself and your style as a therapist?




A. I am passionate about emotional health and well being. I am a genuinely caring therapist and a nonjudgmental friend. I am often told that people feel very at ease and comfortable around me. Many have told me that it feels good and natural to be open with me and share and talk. I’m grateful for this. Also, besides my professional qualifications, I've personally dealt with depression and anxiety.

I offer caring, compassionate therapy while still being direct and to the point, as necessary, to better help you. I am open to both traditional and alternative approaches. I personally know the pain and angst of depression as well as the debilitating effects of anxiety. You are not "crazy." Your feelings and experiences are very real! That is why I've entered this field--I know how terrifying and consuming it can be and I am committed to helping people overcome it. I have incorporated many cognitive and behavioral skills that work in my own life and I am genuinely happy and excited to share them with others. There are some in the mental health field who believe it isn’t a good idea for a therapist to be open about personal struggles like this, but I guess I’m a little unconventional that way—I think it makes me more human and in no way diminishes my skills and abilities to better help my clients. I want you to know that I genuinely care. Please know that you are not alone.

I have worked in various areas in this field. My passion is in helping people overcome depression and anxiety though therapy, stress management, affirmations, cognitive-behavioral approaches, taking care of yourself and your own self esteem, validation, setting boundaries, and so forth. I also work with interpersonal and relationship issues, parenting issues, stress management, and more.

I have facilitated individual and group sessions in various areas from parenting classes to therapy for those dealing with depression, anxiety, OCD, Borderline Personality Disorder, relationship issues, job issues, marriage issues, and more. I have worked in different settings from individual counseling to marriage counseling and from group therapy to intensive outpatient therapy for those who have been hospitalized with suicidal ideation and attempts.

Different things affect people differently, but please know that whatever is affecting you, while trivial to some, is very real to you, and therefore, very real to me.


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Q. How long is a counseling session?




A. Typically, counseling sessions are one hour long. We can together decide on alternate strategies if necessary or desired.

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Q. How long is my treatment?




A. This, we decide together. It’s difficult to give an estimate or idea since every individual’s experiences vary, so let me say this--I don’t believe in rushing things through nor do I believe in indefinite appointments. I believe in fair, caring, ethical, responsible, and reasonable treatment. This is your treatment—I believe you ought to have a say in that.

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Q. Do you offer group therapy or classes?




A. Yes! In fact, I enjoy facilitating groups very much and believe that it is a highly effective and efficient way to treat emotional and behavioral issues. The group dynamic often adds a richness to the therapeutic experience.

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Q. Does my insurance cover this? 




A. Some do and some do not. As with acupuncture and OMM, we can provide information that each person's insurance company will need to determine if they can be reimbursed. If you have a Medical Savings Account (MSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or a Medicare Medical Savings Account, you will be able to use these funds for counseling.

There are various reasons why people choose to pay out-of-pocket rather than using insurance reimbursement when seeking counseling, including lack of coverage, desire for privacy, attempting to avoid the stigma of being one who deals with emotional issues (this societal stigma is a pet peeve of mine), desire to decide for oneself, and freedom to choose a therapist not on a provider list.


Q. Is what I say confidential?




A.  Absolutely. It is very important that you feel comfortable sharing anything you feel is important, and I want you to know that the feelings and thoughts that we discuss are kept within our sessions. This is the only way we can really establish a relationship where we can trust each other. Also, laws require me to keep all of your information private.

There are a few specific cases, however, where the law does require that I report information you may share in session with the appropriate agency. These include:

  • If you tell me, or lead me to believe, that you intend to harm yourself.
  • If you tell me, or lead me to believe, that you intend to harm another person
  • If you tell me about a situation where a child, elderly, adult, or other dependent adult may be being abused or neglected


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Hours and Fees


Q. Do you offer same-day and next-day scheduling?




A. We try to get you in as soon as possible. You hurt when you hurt—that’s not easily planned. We believe you should be able to get in as quickly as possible. To be clear, we are not a walk-in clinic. However, prompt scheduling, as much as possible, is one of the reasons we run our own clinic—we feel strongly about providing this kind of service to the community.

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Q. Do you have early morning, night, and weekend hours?






A. Our clinic is open on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. We prefer to see our clients during these regular business hours. If you need to see us outside of normal office hours, feel free to call and we can try to arrange something that works for both of us.

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Q. Do you accept bartering as payment?




A. Yes. We are happy to negotiate an exchange of useful services in lieu of cash payment. Please know that since we belive in being honest and law-abiding on our taxes, we do report any of our bartered services. We encourage you to do the same.

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Q. Is there a sales tax on your services?




A. No, there is no sales tax on professional services.

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Q. Are your fees tax deductible?




A. Yes, health expenses can be itemized on your annual tax return.

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Other Questions


Q. Are you a licensed physician?




A.Yes, I am a fully licensed physician.

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Q. Are you a Naturopath?






A.No, I am not a naturopath. However, as a traditionally trained and licensed physician, I do also incorporate CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) principles in my consultations with my patients.

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Q. Do you also counsel about Herbal medicine?




A.Yes. While this isn’t my main focus or emphasis, I can certainly advise about herbal medicines, vitamins, and general health. I emphasize general wellness and have completed the East-West Herb Course as well. I have helped many of my patients wean off of medications by using diet, exercise, and herbs where appropriate. This is, of course, done in coordination with your primary care provider.

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Q. I see a chiropractor. Can I still come to you?




A.Absolutely! In fact, several chiropractors in our area regularly refer clients to me. I provide services that are complementary to what other professionals offer. Acupuncture, in particular, can certainly complement and aid your health and recovery in conjunction with your chiropractic (and other health professional--reflexologists, massage therapists, etc.) visits.

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Q. Are you my primary care physician?




A.No. I do not, at this time, provide primary care. I provide specialized services that are complementary to what other professionals offer. Acupuncture, in particular, can certainly complement and aid your health and recovery in conjunction with your other health professional visits. I am pleased to enjoy a good relationship with area physicians and am happy to offer additional services, in a cooperative rather than a competitive manner, for which they can refer their patients. In addition, I will communicate with your Primary Care Provider about the treatments you are receiving. Everyone is welcome, with or without a referral, but to be clear, I am not offering primary care at this time.

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Q. Are you practicing General Family medicine as well as specializing in holistic treatments such as acupuncture and OMM?




A. Both acupuncture and OMM certainly fall under the umbrella of family practice, but I am not providing general family medicine services per se at this time.

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Q. What made you want to do more “alternative” medicine?




A. Balance. Balance for myself and my family as well as for my patients. I enjoy and am good at what I do—I enjoy medicine and my patients. However, I’ve become a bit disillusioned with “the system” and delivery of medicine. The red tape of insurance companies, inefficient system of delivery, and long hours have gotten in the way of medicine and health, in my opinion. I disagree with rushing my patients in and out the door in the name of some agency’s dictated quotas. I’ve seen the frustration among patients and doctors alike and I’ve decided to be proactive about it, hence the decision to have our own practice that is flexible and cash-based, rather than dictated by insurance company regulations. This is also a great benefit to myself and my family as we are able to also enjoy flexibility and balance ourselves.

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Q. What is unique about your practice?




A. Many things are unique about The Wellness Point:

  • Greater personal touch
  • More time with patients
  • Same-day and next-day scheduling
  • No long waiting times
  • Focus on wellness
  • Services not otherwise offered in the area
  • No insurance company hassles or regulations
  • Cash-based services
  • Affordable treatments
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Seminars and Lectures on various topics


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Q. Do you offer services in any other languages?




A. Mark is fluent in English and Japanese and, while not claiming fluency in either language, knows enough Portuguese and Spanish to "get by."

Stacy is fluent in English and Portuguese. Because Portuguese and Spanish are so similar, and because of her past experiences using Spanish, she is able to communicate with Spanish-speaking clients.

Spanish-speaking patients are welcome.


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©2007 The Wellness Point, PLLC