Tracy Kalson would like nothing better than to dispel the prevailing myths about acupuncture.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Tracy Kalson would like nothing better than to dispel the prevailing myths about acupuncture. Not only because she said her own health has improved because of it, but also because she is a licensed acupuncturist who opened Sound Shore Acupuncture last year.
To the naysayers who declare they don’t believe in it, she counters, “Acupuncture is not a belief system. It is a complete health care system used extensively all over the world. In the United States, it is being used in hospitals and in pain management, detox, and in vitro fertilization clinics, as well as for cancer and stroke patients. The US Olympic team has acupuncturists traveling with them to help keep athletes fit and pain free.”
To the skeptics who oppose needles, she proposed: “They shouldn’t be called needles at all.” They are more like sterilized, hair thin filaments, she demonstrated, that can’t possibly hurt. Moreover, Kalson assured that although these needles are harmless, they aren’t merely placebos. On the contrary, MRI scans of the brain indicate acupuncture’s efficacy is undeniable.
In western medicine terms, the fine needles stimulate nerves that transmit impulses to one’s brain, releasing endorphins, hormones, and cortisone, boosting the immune system and enabling the body to heal. In an eastern medicine nutshell, the 2,500-year-old practice is based on restoring the free flow of vital energy, or Qi, throughout the body.
Kalson only discovered acupuncture several years ago but had her sights on being a health care provider long before. Initially, she earned a Master’s in Speech and Language Pathology, but found it wasn’t for her. She went on to pursue nursing, but as she completed her coursework, she got sidetracked with children, as well as with her ailing father’s diamond jewelry business. By then, she and her husband David had relocated to Rye from New York City.
“We drove around looking at many towns and this one looked so cute,” she said. “And it was on the water. Why live anywhere else?”
Their daughters were educated in the Rye City schools and, for 35 years, the Kalsons have owned a home here. They downsized recently to a smaller house, but Kalson hasn’t scaled back any. Not only does she dabble in collage art and have her three grandchildren from Canada over every August because “we can’t not see them,” she decided she’d become a licensed acupuncturist.
“Doing yoga and being around people with more eastern thought, while having elderly parents and friends with cancer got me thinking about alternative medicine that could be used alongside western medicine,” she explained.
At the same time, she kept coming across acupuncture success stories, from her husband whose neck and shoulder pain disappeared to a brother-in-law who was able to quit smoking as a result. Kalson, herself, was positively impacted.
“I had sciatica problems and nothing cured me, not physical therapy or chiropractics. I even tried to yoga it away and nothing worked until I got an acupuncture treatment. I was cured 2½ days later,” recalled Kalson, who went on to earn a Master’s degree from the Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York City.
“I felt so privileged to be able to learn from the best practitioners in the world,” she commented. “The Tri-State School is also one of the few places that teaches trigger-point therapy, a needling technique that goes into the belly of a muscle and is excellent for athletes and sport related injuries.”
After 3½ years of attending classes during the week and on weekends, including 2,000 hours of clinical training, she graduated in June 2013. A few months later, she passed the two required acupuncture-licensing exams and set up shop in her home.
Through word of mouth, an affiliation with Wainwright House, and a comprehensive website, soundshoreacupuncture.com, she has been steadily growing her business. “I’ve had tremendous success with migraine headaches, golf and tennis elbows, sinus problems, insomnia, and every kind of neck and lower back problem,” Kalson said.
“It was important for me to have my office at home in order to offer more flexible hours and to keep the prices down,” added Kalson. Sound Shore Acupuncture charges $90 for the initial session at which she offers the first treatment after determining the root of the problem and a treatment protocol. Subsequent sessions are $70.
“Acupuncture is sadly often used as a last resort in our health care system when it should be the first treatment one undergoes. It’s the least invasive,” she noted. “There are no drugs, no surgery. This is a treatment that makes patients feel peaceful, yet energetic.”
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