Calvin “Bud” Lenox used to live in fear — of walking.
Each step was a risk for the lanky 75-year-old. Arthritic hips had left him walking with canes and avoiding stairs at all costs, and he didn’t like how that affected his life.
“There’s a feeling — a fear of falling, a fear of being helpless,” Lenox said. “You don’t realize how much you count on your legs until you can’t use them.”
And then, with a few strategically placed needles, the pain was gone, and so were the canes.
“I’ve gone from being a helpless cripple to feeling pretty cool about myself,” he said.
Lenox is on his 15th acupuncture treatment, and he said that his arthritis symptoms are 100 percent gone, though the pain does come back a little if he overdoes it. He attributes his pain relief to Wang Dong at the Florida Natural Healing and Medical Arts Clinic in Winter Park.
The clinic is the only one in town that specializes in I-Ching, a form of acupuncture that only focuses needle placement around the navel, where most of a person’s qi, pronounced “chi,” is located.
Because they treat at the most concentrated area of qi, healing is faster than with traditional acupuncture, said Daniel Zee, owner of the clinic. The philosophy of acupuncture is to balance and regulate this qi, which is a person’s vital energy or life force, and it affects their spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health.
“The whole universe is a balance,” Zee said. The body is the same way.
“If there is imbalance that causes problems.”
With expert placement of acupuncture needles, the clinic claims it can treat many things, including pain, infertility, neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, diabetes and even cancer.
There have been many studies done to determine the efficacy of acupuncture to treat pain. While there are promising results on some conditions, more research needs to be done before the claim can be proven, according to Natural Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a branch of the governmental agency National Institutes of Health.
But patients of the Winter Park clinic, who have been treated with Western medicine with no results, were willing to take a chance on acupuncture.
“The worst case is you’ll get no results; the best case is you’ll be 100 percent better,” said Winter Springs resident Helene Funk. “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Funk, who’s been treated for multiple sclerosis her entire adult life, dropped Western medicine for more natural healing a year ago. Her first painful flare-up came a couple weeks ago, and she came to the clinic for relief. Not only did Dong relieve that, he also treated a pain in her shoulder that doctors and pain medicine haven’t been able to help.
“Western medicine treats symptoms; Chinese medicine looks for the root of the problem,” Zee said.
Zee said that while their main goal is to treat their patients’ problems, they are also there to give hope to those who have struggled with problems not able to be helped by modern medicine. This is true for Winter Park native Elinore Ross, whose cervical dystonia could only be corrected by a risky surgery through her brain.
She also was in remission from cancer, but when that cancer came back, the surgery had to be postponed. This left her to live life with the condition, which tilts her head so her cheek permanently rests on her shoulder, unable to move.
She came to the clinic with little hope. But with two acupuncture treatments, her head is almost completely upright, and she hopes to be able to drive again soon.
“He’s a great man,” Ross said of Dong.
This philosophy of hope is what also keeps Lenox coming.
“The thing I most admire about this place is the care and sincerity and the love they generate,” he said.
The Florida Natural Healing and Medical Arts Clinic is located at 1355 N. Orange Ave. in Winter Park. Call their office at 407-790-4433 for more information.
Zee said the first treatment is half off and costs $38. Subsequent treatments are $76 with insurance. They do have monthly plans and frequent patient plans.
Acupuncture is one of the key components of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. According to TCM, maintaining a body’s balance means maintaining health. Disease is caused by imbalance in the body.
According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 3.1 million U.S. adults and 150,000 had used acupuncture in the previous year.
—Natural Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: