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Students Learn about Growing Alternative Medicine Fields

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Students Learn about Growing Alternative Medicine Fields

Acupuncture needles.

Acupuncture needles.

Xhienne from Wikimedia Commons

Acupuncture needles.

Xhienne from Wikimedia Commons

Xhienne from Wikimedia Commons

Acupuncture needles.

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Kristopher Sparacino, holistic health practitioner and alumni of BCC, spoke to massage therapy students Nov. 15 about the up-and-coming field of alternative medicine.

“As coordinator of the massage therapy program, I’m always looking around for holistic health practitioners who are willing to come in and speak to the class,”  said Sharyn Ross. “I think it’s very important for the students entering this field to know about alternative health practices. Kris has an office in Lincroft and is well known and was very receptive to the idea of presenting at Brookdale.”

During the session, Sparacino’s talk began with introducing topics about acupuncture, dry needling, cupping, guasha, essential oils, acupressure, meditation, reiki, medical Qigong, Qigong exercise and alternative health modalities that he feels work well alongside of western treatment and massage.

Sporacino had a live showing of an acupuncture session for the second part. He used essential oils in the treatment to amplify the experience. He then proceeded to speak about protection in the work environment. This involved understanding how to separate from the patient’s health issues and or emotional moods and keeping themselves healthy and judgment free while approaching patients.

“Acupuncture, herbal and energetic forms of medicine have few to no side effects and have been healing people for thousands of years. They are tried and true,” Sparacino said. “These modalities have been used as the primary forms of medicine in healthy, happy, growing and aging populations, which greatly speaks to their efficacy.”

Acupuncturists in New Jersey are required to have undergraduate degrees, three-year graduate degrees and are required to pass three nationally regulated tests. They must be trained in first aid and trained in Clean Needle Technique (CNT) for the proper application of the one-time use sterile needles.

Sparacino’s first involvement with alternative medication came about when he was treated with acupuncture and cupping for a lower back injury. He saw beneficial results and learned about his body throughout the process.

According to Sparacino, there is a need for “alternative” therapies. Disease and the human body are so complex that while the allopathic model and modern diagnostic tools have provided much insight, there remain many diseases that go unexplained and are simply treated, not healed, with pharmaceuticals.

Many people Sparacino sees in practice are on a long list of harsh pharmaceuticals. Each contain their own side effects.

“I feel that just because we have new techniques for treatment it does not mean we need to throw out the old ones, especially since they have no side effects and work where some modern techniques have failed,” said Sparacino. “I have also seen many times that all of these forms of medicine work very well together. I believe this is the future of healthcare.”

According to Ross, alternative medicine is gaining in popularity.

“This is a profession that is growing at a rate of about 22 percent per year. It’s not for everybody, and it’s a lot of hard work but well worth it if you are drawn to the healing arts,” Ross said.

Sporacino is excited that acupuncture is gaining traction in the U.S. and wants to help lead that charge and educate people.

Sparacino opened his office three years ago and has specialized in several practices, such as, dry needling, Reiki, medical Qigong, reflexology, aromatherapy and meditation.

“I have always had an affinity for the intensity and refinement of the Chinese culture,” Sporacino said. “I had been practicing Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercise several years prior to going to acupuncture school, and I had felt the benefits it provided me as an active hiker and a fairly avid surfer and snowboarder.”

According to Sporacino, these other forms of medicine can be the difference of a disease progressing, can provide patients with more energy, a better mood, a better outlook and ultimately can provide the patient the ability to get more enjoyment out of life.

“You should study and practice acupuncture because you love it and you want to help others,” said Sporacino. “It is a long road but worth the effort and the real learning begins after school. Find what you love and pursue that.”

Brookdale offers a massage therapy course, which takes between nine and 12 months to complete. This 609-hour program prepares the student for a license in professional massage and bodywork in New Jersey. The massage therapy program student clinic begins in March and will be offering massages for a small fee.

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