East meets West for pain relief

Robert Barry, owner and operator of Acupuncture and Therapeutic
Massage, knows from personal experience the impact pain can have on
our lives.
Robert Barry, owner and operator of Acupuncture and Therapeutic Massage, knows from personal experience the impact pain can have on our lives. A professional musician for a long time, Barry has suffered through back and neck pain.

“I tried a whole gamut of traditional Western medicine but nothing helped,” he said. “Finally, I went for acupuncture and massage treatments, and the pain was gone.”

Barry said he’s always had an interest in Chinese culture. When he started to get involved in acupuncture and therapeutic massage, he got very interested in the way the body works and decided to go into medicine.

“I looked carefully at both the traditional Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, he said. “In 1997 I went into a four-year program to get my masters in traditional Chinese medicine. With most schools, after a four-year graduate program you get a Ph.D. In the United States, with traditional Chinese medicine, a four year program gets you a master’s.”

After intensive training that included certification in both traditional Chinese medicine and massage, Barry’s name is followed by “Dipl.Ac., L.Ac., CMT, QME.” Not only does he have his own practice, he has continued his education by teaching others.

“I love teaching,” he said. “It’s a big part of what I’m about. I not only treat people, but educate them.”

According to Barry, acupuncture has been used by eastern cultures for about 5,000 years. The oldest book on acupuncture dates back 2,500 years.

The central concept of acupuncture is that everyone has energy flowing through their bodies called Qi (pronounced “chee”). When this energy is interrupted because of stress, poor diet, trauma or other conditions, illness and pain results. To get the Qi flowing properly, acupuncture is applied.

“There is a system of meridians, or lines, running through the body,” Barry said. “Then there are all these points on the meridians. Through centuries of research it was discovered that if you press on these points, or put in needles, it activates the Qi, helping the body to get back in balance. By putting a needle in the body, it activates nerves and alters biochemical and physiological of the body.”

There are those who believe that acupuncture doesn’t work, but Western research techniques are proving that it does, Barry said.

“For example, they put a person in an MRI and put needles in the area related to optics. This part of the brain then lit up,” he said. “Another test they did was to take somebody’s blood, analyze it, then put needles in their body and take their blood again. There was an increase in white blood cells during the second readings.”

Barry said his goal is to give his patients the best treatment possible. Often, this means working with the best of both Western and traditional Chinese medicines.

“It’s all about helping people,” he said. “I tell my patients that I’m going to try my best to help them. When they come in my office for a treatment, the first time we do a complete health history. I’ll explain how acupuncture works. They lie on the table, I’ll put the needles in. It’s common for people to fall asleep.”

One woman Barry treated had chronic sinus problems for 25 years and had tried all the traditional Western medicines. With one acupuncture treatment, her sinuses stopped draining. Barry said, though, that such a result is a best-case scenario.

Barry commonly treats chronic and acute pain, headaches, stomach ailments, stress, anxiety and gynecological problems. Acupuncture is also very effective for cravings, such as smoking or food addictions, he said.

“Health is about balance. When things get out of balance, it shows up in our meridians,” Barry said. “Acupuncture can help us get back in balance.”

Robert Barry’s office is at 956 San Benito St., Suite B. (inside Stone’s Chiropractic and Neurology Center). Patients are seen by appointment only. Call (831) 207-9086 for an appointment.

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