Get­ting to the point of heal­ing

Lo­cal acupunc­tur­ist and prac­ti­tioner of ori­en­tal medicine shares story

The Boyertown Area Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Martha Gehringer For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

She was the third per­son Ryan called after he fell off scaf­fold­ing 30 feet up.

Dar­lene goes to keep her blood pres­sure and anx­i­ety un­der con­trol.

Ju­lia’s ap­point­ments keep her al­ler­gies and headaches from reach­ing de­bil­i­tat­ing lev­els.

Stan came to her to man­age the pain from chemo­ther­apy and min­i­mize the as­so­ci­ated hot flashes.

Heidi’s fam­ily sought her out to help with the dif­fi­culty mov­ing as­so­ci­ated with Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

And Julio had had fa­cial pain which in­ter­fered with sleep and af­fected his qual­ity of life for 20 years.

They called Sally Tomme, an acupunc­tur­ist and prac­ti­tioner of ori­en­tal medicine, be­cause they were frus­trated by western medicine’s lack of qual­ity re­sults.

Ryan, 36, a con­trac­tor and small busi­ness owner ini­tially opted to try acupunc­ture be­cause “western medicine wasn’t touch­ing my headaches,” he said. Ryan suf­fered de­bil­i­tat­ing headaches for over five years. Dur­ing that time his doc­tors sent him for MRIs, jaw surgery, and phys­i­cal ther­apy. When those treat­ments failed they pre­scribed ‘heavy duty drugs,” Ryan said. Not only did those drugs and treat­ments not cor­rect the headaches, they made it dif­fi­cult for Ryan to work due to their side-ef­fects.

After the ini­tial four acupunc­ture treat­ments, spaced over two weeks, Ryan’s headaches started to sub­side. And after a month he was able to re­sume a nor­mal work schedule. Know­ing what acupunc­ture could do, it was only nat­u­ral for him to call Tomme again to min­i­mize the pain he knew was com­ing from his fall.

“Acupunc­ture is all about get­ting en­ergy mov­ing,” Tomme says. “Chinese be­lieved stag-

na­tion was the source of prob­lems. If the en­ergy isn’t mov­ing, pain and dys­func­tion re­sult. The Chinese also rec­og­nized the cor­re­la­tion be­tween mind and body. Emo­tions are a form of “Qi”, and as such, they af­fect the phys­i­cal func­tions of the body.”

Acupunc­ture fo­cuses pri­mar­ily on the en­docrine and ner­vous sys­tems. It uses very fine nee­dles to stim­u­late spe­cific points in the body to al­low en­ergy to flow along path­ways, merid­i­ans. These points re­lease en­ergy, or qi (chee), Tomme ex­plains. “Qi is the vi­tal en­ergy of the body. The Chinese didn’t have the tools to mea­sure the flow of en­ergy, but by ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and care­ful ob­ser­va­tion, they were able to de­ter­mine which points in the body af­fected var­i­ous symp­toms. The Chinese al­ways amazed me with how they could de­ter­mine these ef­fects with­out mod­ern in­stru­ments.”

Acupunc­ture points on the body have been shown to re­lease 24 times as much adeno­sine (an amino acid which is a com­po­nent of adeno­sine triphos­phate (ATP)) as the sur­round­ing area. ATP is one of the things re­leased in the Kreb’s cy­cle, the en­ergy cy­cle. It is serves as an anti-in­flam­ma­tory and anal­gesic agent, and, as part of the en­ergy cy­cle of the cell, is able to af­fect the cell’s abil­ity to heal, Tomme ex­plains.

Tomme be­came a be­liever in acupunc­ture when in 1996 her son was di­ag­nosed with a brain tu­mor and lost most of his vi­sion when it pressed on his op­tic nerve. “Noth­ing was help­ing him so out of des­per­a­tion we tried acupunc­ture. And it helped,” she re­calls. The acupunc­tur­ist also rec­om­mended Chinese herbs to help with the swelling and pain. At the same time, Tomme’s daugh­ter started ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mi­graines. Again, acupunc­ture made a dif­fer­ence in the pain and helped in the heal­ing. “And that got me ex­cited about it.”

At that point, Tomme had been a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist for 30 years but de­cided to pur­sue her acupunc­tur­ist cre­den­tials. After 4,000 hours of class­room and prac­ti­cal ed­u­ca­tion, she at­tained her li­cense and master’s of sci­ence de­gree in Acupunc­ture and Tra­di­tional Ori­en­tal Medicine in 2010 from the Pa­cific Col­lege of Ori­en­tal Medicine in New York City.

“Even though I know what it can do, I’m still amazed by the re­sults,” she says. She notes that one of her first pa­tients was a 30-year-old man who had been to many doc­tors to re­solve the neck pain he had had for six years, rat­ing the pain at a 7 out of 10. “After the first treat­ment he got off the ta­ble and said he had no more pain. I tried not to look sur­prised, but this is rare.”

Nor­mally, she rec­om­mends one or two weekly treat­ments to start. As she sees the re­sponse, she will ad­just the treat­ment schedule. “The ef­fects are cu­mu­la­tive so each treat­ment will build upon the pre­vi­ous ones. The body’s en­ergy pat­terns need to be brought back into bal­ance and block­ages re­moved.”

While Tomme sees the re­sults, mod­ern tech­nol­ogy has also mea­sured the re­sults. “They have mea­sured changes in the brain when nee­dles are in­serted. Dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the brain are stim­u­lated with needling of dif­fer­ent points on the body. There is a strong re­lax­ation re­sponse that is of­ten seen, as well as pain-mod­u­lat­ing ef­fects.

“There is no set re­sponse, no guar­an­teed re­sults,” Tomme ac­knowl­edges. Some com­mon ail­ments that acupunc­ture can help with in­clude: pain, stress, in­som­nia, anger, de­pres­sion, asthma, acute and chronic gas­troen­teri­tis, al­ler­gies and blood pres­sure.

She is quick to note that it isn’t a cure-all. And she refers pa­tients back to med­i­cal doc­tors if she thinks acupunc­ture can’t help or if a syn­er­gis­tic ap­proach would be most ben­e­fi­cial.

Dar­lene, 72, has been ben­e­fit­ting from acupunc­ture for four years. “Arthri­tis was the ba­sic thing I came for but it also helped my blood pres­sure, drop­ping it from 206/100 to 118/70.” To­day, she is on a lower dose of blood pres­sure med­i­ca­tion and off all arthritic med­i­ca­tions. She went from weekly acupunc­ture treat­ments to bi­monthly. Dar­lene was so im­pressed with the re­sults she brought her daugh­ter with se­vere mi­graines in for treat­ment. “One treat­ment and she was painfree.”

Ju­lia, 74, ex­pe­ri­enced al­ler­gies and fre­quent si­nus in­fec­tions for over 20 years. She suf­fered from mold, sea­sonal al­ler­gens that caused headaches, blocked her si­nuses and ag­gra­vated her ears and throats. But for the past five years, with the ben­e­fit of acupunc­ture, she is breath­ing easy. At the start of al­lergy sea­son, she vis­its Tomme for treat­ments twice a month, then ev­ery three weeks and then monthly. She sup­ple­ments the treat­ments with herbs, rec­om­mended by Tomme, and over-the-counter al­lergy medicines.

Julio ex­pe­ri­enced a 95 per­cent re­duc­tion of his fa­cial pain after sev­eral months of treat­ment.

Tomme eval­u­ates each case, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion fam­ily his­tory, sever­ity of prob­lem, prior treat­ments, and length of the prob­lem, and de­ter­mines the best course of treat­ment — ei­ther with acupunc­ture other Ori­en­tal prac­tices such as cup­ping, mox­i­bus­tion, or herbal medicine. She op­er­ates her clinic, Vil­lage Acupunc­ture PLLC, in the former Bally Case and Cooler of­fice build­ing at 20 Front Street in Bally.


Sally Tomme, an acupunc­tur­ist and prac­ti­tioner of ori­en­tal medicine, places nee­dles in a pa­tient to help the pa­tient man­age pain which re­sulted from a 30-foot fall.


Sally Tomme, who op­er­ates Vil­lage Acupunc­ture LLC at the former Bally Case and Cooler on Front Street in Bally, places nee­dles in a pa­tient to help with her arthri­tis and keep her blood pres­sure in check.

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