Health ~ the general condition of body and mind
You might notice, this particular definition does not specify 'good' or 'bad'; it simply remarks about the general
condition of an individual. Therefore, the state of our health is solely dependent on the choices we make on a daily
Twenty-one years ago, I suffered a broken back after being thrown from a horse. With my allopathic upbringing and
pharmacy tech / dental background, there was nowhere for me to go but to the hospital; however, also having the
reputation of being a girl who marches to the beat of her own drum, I wasn't about to close myself off from seeking
additional care, if necessary. As it would happen, I could not lie down, sit or stand without this searing pain cutting
me off at the knees all the while piercing my eyes. In other words, there wasn't a medication given to me that helped
me deal with my situation.
Two days after the accident, I very good friend suggested I pay a visit to her 'out of this world' acupuncturist. At this
point, I figured, 'Why not? What have I got to lose?' The very idea of having needles strategically placed in
various points on my body did not begin to faze me. Let's face it, how could the sensations of these tiny hair-
like pins hurt anymore than what I was already feeling? If nothing else, the possibility of getting a nap in during my
treatment, barring any major discussions, was very inviting.
So, I paid Dr. Duckworth a visit, which, just let me say, was nothing short of amazing! Not only did I get my nap in,
something within me shifted. I wasn't quite sure what 'that' shift was; however, I clearly felt different. Without
hesitation, I agreed to continue seeing him. Long story short, I was COMPLETELY pain-free in two weeks;
although, I did continue to see him on a regular basis for several months to follow.
My experience with receiving acupuncture treatments didn't end there. In fact, I've maintained a relationship with
an acupuncturist ever since that time for such things as digestive issues, hormonal issues, MS symptom relief as
well as for additional broken bones; however, the number one reason for going in to see him or her was because I
simply didn’t feel right. This little concept was introduced to me by my business partner at the time. We had a
wellness clinic in Santa Fe and that was one of the biggest requests she made f her patients, 'Please, don't let
yourself get sick. If you're feeling 'off' one day, seek treatment. You'll be really happy you did.' I like to believe
that in adopting this philosophy, I saved myself from ALL the flu and colds I was ever exposed too, and with six plus
kids, there have been a few sicknesses during my time.
Not only did I determine the efficacy of acupuncture, I also discovered how well my practice
of aromatherapy worked with this ancient healing technique. It didn't take long to distinguish the degree of
enhancement in the combining of these modalities. Our patients were experiencing incredibly dynamic results by
assisting their systems in such a well-rounded matter; and, if this was the case with aromatherapy, how would it
go if we integrated other practices including conventional medicine? What a concept?!
Fast forward to 2010, and I remain fascinated by the idea of healthcare teams and the commitment these
practitioners demonstrate in supporting our wellness; hence the reason, I believe, I was 'introduced' to Caroline
Colonna (Willow Clinic) of Taos, NM.
Dr. Colonna's philosophy on health and wellness is very similar to mine and what inspired me to pursue an in depth
conversation with her on how she practices, her view on healthcare as well as her recommendations for this holiday
Tammy: What is the focus of your practice?
Dr. Colonna: I focus on vibrant health. I believe that all of us are entitled to feel great!!!
T: What is your client base?
Dr. C: I work with children, women and men of all ages.
T: What do you typically treat?
Dr. C: I treat a lot of pain, colds, flu, menopause symptoms, headaches, infertility, cancer and other complex
T: What all does your practice include?
Dr. C: I use acupuncture (qi gong needling technique--I can tell you more about that, it's absolutely critical to a
successful outcome), acupressure, pediatric massage, herbal and nutritional supplements, qi gong exercises and
other stretching and breathing exercises
T: What was your reason for getting into the field?
Dr. C: I got into the field because I had a knee injury from too much running and acupuncture cured it. I also
enjoy the philosophical basis of acupuncture, the idea of balance and harmony with nature.
T: What is your position as far as how 'we' manage our healthcare?
Dr. C: My motto is "dare to feel better!" I believe that a lot of folks are just afraid of their own health and rely too
much on MDs and other doctors instead of really understanding that their health is a personal thing. There are
very simple things that one can do to prevent disease and a healthy lifestyle is not so complicated. I try to talk to
my patients about that.
T: How well does acupuncture work with other complimentary modalities?
Dr. C: Acupuncture works with everything because it is based on harmonizing the body, mind and spirit. It is
much more than a physical treatment. Because the triggering of qi along pathways of energy in our body goes to
our core being-physical, emotional and spiritual. People get very relaxed during an acupuncture treatment and
that in itself can only help the body and mind heal further.
T: With the holiday season upon us, many of us enjoy indulging in the cornucopia of good food and drink.
Unfortunately, one out of three U.S. adults are currently living with high blood pressure. I'd like to take a moment
and discuss how acupuncture can assist with this condition as well as get any recommendations you have on how
to keep it under control as we partake in the holiday goodies.
T: What is the average length of treatment for HBP?
Dr. C: Treatment frequency and length will depend on the patient, their age, the length of time they have been
dealing with their ailment and the severity of the ailment. As an example: high blood pressure of 140/90 which is
considered mild. I can help bring it down to normal range with a couple of acupuncture treatments and herbs
within a week. In addition to acupuncture and herbs I go over dietary restrictions and other lifestyle
considerations. If the BP is vey high I can within a treatment or 2 bring it down but not usually within normal
range that quickly. It may take a couple more weeks with at least 2 treatments per week. Within a month I
usually bring it down to normal. Patients have to be compliant and take their herbs. Exercising helps greatly and
eating a balanced diet also. A lot of time stress will bring on high blood pressure so the acupuncture helps with
that as well. The most dangerous aspect of HBP is if it is combined with high levels of 'bad' cholesterol . Because
then the problem can become more serious. With clogged arteries and HBP patient is subject to getting a stroke.
T: Does acupuncture compliment conventional medicine & how well does it support the conventional techniques
for high blood pressure?
Dr. C: Conventional treatment of HBP involves taking a few drugs including a diuretic for an indefinite period of
time. It is not specific unfortunately and does not offer a" cure". Acupuncture, herbs, exercise and diet are the key
ingredients to getting better. It may take a little longer to get the BP under control but it offers a cure. So in this
particular case I highly recommend the alternative solution to conventional medicine.
T: In your professional opinion, do you believe high blood pressure is a condition that needs to be managed with
some type of treatment for life or can we deal with it using proper education and understanding?
Dr. C: Definitely the latter. Educating people on good healthy habits from a very young age is key. Governments
could save a lot of money that way!
T: What recommendations do you have for us? We want to enjoy the holidays and don't like the idea of giving up
all this good food!
Dr. C: Everything in moderation! Having fun eating and drinking is completely fine but try to not go overboard
and dance, too! What I mean by that is include physical activities to burn up the calories. When drinking alcohol
include lots of hydration in the form of water or other electrolyte drinks as in ‘Recharge’ or just plain apple juice.
If you cannot handle the sugar in these drinks then buy electrolyte capsules and take them with water. I like and
sell electrolyte capsules at the clinic. A good rule of thumb living at high altitude is for every alcoholic beverage
you consume, try and drink two times that amount in water. Actually, by doing so, you will feel fuller and may
end up eating less.
Clearly, good health is a choice. It takes intention and awareness; yet, on those days where we could use a little help
from our friendly acupuncturist, Willow Clinic is right up the street at: 1103 Don Juan Valdez Lane, El Prado. The
number is: 575.758.5070