A new kind of family practitioner
Special to the Journal
Editor's Note: This is the third installment in an occasional series about young people who are staying in or moving to Vermont and running businesses.
Marc and Lisa Williams, a husband and wife team of licensed acupuncturists, have recently moved their Manchester Acupuncture and Herbs business into the former Homes Magazine showcase house on Routes 11/30, just north of the Eagles Club.
Originally from Ohio, Marc initially visited Vermont in 1996 while hiking the Appalachian Trail. After that adventure, he joined the Peace Corps in the Republic of Moldova, which is between Romania and Ukraine. While there, he developed a nerve blockage and partial paralysis of his fingers and arm.
"It was undiagnosed for a long time, but after a treatment of acupuncture and massage by a Soviet neurologist I was cured," he said. "When I returned to the U.S., it felt like a natural progression to study this field."
Marc and Lisa originally met while both were studying at Southwest Acupuncture College in Sante Fe, N.M. After four years of study, they both had a degree in Oriental medicine. In certain states in the U.S., acupuncturists are considered medical doctors and treatments are covered by insurance; however, Vermont does not currently recognize the degree. Marc was, however, recently accredited by the Southwest Vermont Medical Center in Bennington and is now part of their medical staff.
Starting originally in 2004 in an office in the Mountain Healing Arts building on Bonnet Street in Manchester Center, Marc and Lisa outgrew this space after two years. "We also wanted to branch out into herbal remedies and have a tearoom," said Marc, "so this move allows us to do that."
Chinese medicine has developed over a period of at least 3,000 years, where treatment is centered on the person rather than the disease. The philosophy behind acupuncture is that the body has fourteen main meridians, or lines, running through the body. Needles are inserted along these lines, to unblock the energy that naturally flows through the body.
"The acupuncture process works very quickly on the central nervous system so the body can be more effective in healing itself, and correct the basic internal balance," said Marc. "Some patients we see come to us for acute pain situations, others when they find Western medicine is not working for them."
"The process always starts with an in depth patient screening and evaluation of the whole person, mental and physical. By checking a patient's pulse in several places on the body and looking at the tongue, we develop a plan of treatment that the patient is comfortable with. It can be a simple acupuncture treatment or can include also a custom designed herbal remedy."
The needles are smooth, disposable, as thin as a hair, have a dulled tip and are designed so as to not tear any tissue when being inserted.
"Typically the insertion does not burst blood vessels, and so there is usually no blood at all," said Lisa. "The deeper the disease, the deeper the needles are inserted, however, it can depend on the person's age and the length of the illness. Treatments are typically about 20 minutes in length. The needles can feel different to different people, but some patients report feeling no pain at all."
The herbal side of Marc and Lisa's business has expanded in their new space. More than 200 jars of loose herbs imported from China line the shelves. "They are thoroughly tested for pesticides and sulfur content before they come to us," said Lisa. "We make up formulas for clients with up to 15 different herbs and then cook it up and formulate it into a tea or pill form."
Their office also has a loft area where customers can stop by without an appointment for a quick treatment that is more affordable. They also have two massage therapists on staff, Shannon Doty and Sandi Ameden. "I would like to be a family practitioner and see patients through their whole life to prevent diseases," said Marc. "I also want our center to be affordable and accessible to all. It makes me feel good about what I do, caring for people."
Manchester Acupuncture and Herbs is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and on the weekends by appointment.
Call 366-1001 or visit their Web site at www.manchesteracupuncture.com.
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