The Spa on Green Street has a new practitioner of Chinese medicine, expanding its services to now include acupuncture, Tui na therapy and Tai Qi lessons.
Teryl Worster, the spa’s director, said she wants to make locals aware of the benefits of functional medicine, such as acupuncture, that can help address acute health problems as a more cost- and time-effective alternative to a doctor’s visit.
“The neat thing about acupuncture, I’ll tell you, is that you can actually address acute situations.” Worster said. “Headaches, you can have a migraine, indigestion, you can even have, for women, menstrual cramps, and instead of trying to take a bunch of Aspirin or Tylenol, an acupuncture session can actually relieve those symptoms within minutes.”
Steven Collins, who joined the Spa on Green Street in March, has been practicing Chinese medicine since 2001. One of his primary goals in working with patients in the Gainesville area is attempting to change opinions about treatments like acupuncture.
“I want people to understand the medicine,” Collins said. “I joke about shaking chicken bones, but there’s a population that thinks this is two steps above voodoo. This is medicine. Because it’s clinically relevant, it’s important for me to have people understand that this isn’t just sticking needles into people. There’s nothing mystical or magical about this medicine.”
Tai Qi Lessons
What: Weekly lessons in the Chinese martial art of Tai Qi, which helps with physical wellness.
When: 9 a.m. Saturdays
Where: 635 Green Street NW, Gainesville
How much: FreeMore info: www.spaongreenstreet.com
According to Worster, services like acupuncture and Tui na, a Chinese massage-like therapy, are meant to be quick and efficient ways to alleviate symptoms outside of pharmaceuticals and insurance-driven care. She wants people to be aware that there are alternative treatments available to them in the Gainesville area that won’t leave them with costly hospital bills after the fact.
“In today’s medical world doctors have less and less time to spend with their patients, and it’s gotten so expensive, even with insurance, to get your drugs and to get the things that you need. But people need to know, especially people who are having trouble dealing with rising medical costs, that there’s other options for them to keep them well and keep their immune system stronger instead of worrying about how much they’re going to need to put aside for hospitals later.”
Worster was clear that these types of treatment are not a replacement for potentially lethal illnesses. To The Spa on Green Street, these two practices are meant to work in tandem with each other.
“We actually kind of work with the medical community,” Worster said. “We’re not believers that you should do one or the other, and that’s why we really want people to know about their options.
“You work the preventative path in the holistic field. … When you are in an acute situation that could be life threatening you’ve got to go to a doctor for that. That’s when you’ve got to use your wisdom to decide what’s the best path.”
Collins echoed Worsters’ sentiment, saying that while Chinese medicine allows practitioners to treat some symptoms, it’s important for everyone to understand the limits and also perks of both Eastern and Western medicine.
“If you were having a heart attack in front of me, does Chinese medicine have a treatment for it? Well, it’s been around 30 centuries, yes we can treat it,” Collins said. “Would I treat you? I might be crazy, I’m not stupid. No, I recognize that if you’re having a heart attack, you’re getting a ride to the hospital.
“Can I treat you before? Yes. Can I treat you afterwards? Yes, but in the moment, absolutely Chinese medicine takes second place to Western. That being said, there’s some things that Chinese treats very well, probably more superior than Western. Then the cool thing is that the two medicines complement each other, and that’s why, for me, credibility is very important.”
The Spa on Green Street hosts its free Tai Qi lessons on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. Acupuncture treatment is available by appointment, and are booked “weeks in advance,” according to Worster.