Holistic Acupuncture

Dr. Allan Bazzoli, M.D.


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Spilling Coffee

Dave came to see me Tuesday about numbness and pain in his lower legs and feet.  I’ve known him for years and knew he was a Vietnam veteran and a diabetic.  We talked about his leg and foot problems at length.  After performing electrodiagnostic testing, it was clear that Dave had a peripheral neuropathy related to Agent Orange exposure while serving in Vietnam.

While discussing the limited treatment options, he remarked to me that, because of his increasing right arm and hand tremor, he has not been able to drink a cup of coffee in the morning for years without spilling it on his nightshirt.  He even thought that playing golf this summer was very unlikely.

I mentioned that I see these tremors in anxiety disorders and sometimes with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and that I’ve had success using acupuncture.  Dave decided to try one treatment.  I told him, “You will see improvement in a day or two if the treatment is successful”.

The next day, I happen to see him on the other side of an indoor track where we both walk in the winter.  He shouts, “Hey Doc, look”.  He raises his right arm to show me the tremor is barely noticeable.

I run to catch up to him on the other side of the track.  He smiles as he tells me that he drank his coffee this morning without spilling a drop for the first time in more than two years.  “Not a drop on my nightshirt”, he says shaking his head with a disbelief in his excited voice.

Dave came to the office once a week for the next three weeks for acupuncture.  He was delighted with the outcome.  I did remind him that he may need a few acupuncture treatments from time to time.  He laughed and said that was such a small price to pay.

The goal of my medical practice is to improve a patients’ daily quality of life, not necessarily a cure for their underlying disease process. Dave is delighted to drink his morning coffee, every morning, with a dry nightshirt.  Playing golf this summer is probable instead of nearly impossible now that the tremor is almost gone.

Small improvements to some, but life is lived in those moments.  Moments like drinking coffee in the morning without spilling a drop.

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Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.

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Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is one of the simplest and easiest of all stress reduction techniques.  It can be performed anywhere, any time of day and costs nothing.  There are many approaches to deep breathing but the one I recommend for patients is a simple 4-8-6 breathing pattern.

Find a comfortable sitting position with your hands resting gently across your lap or on your legs, palms up.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.  Inhale deeply thru your nose to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 8 and then exhale deeply thru your mouth to the count of 6.  With practice, you will naturally focus on your breathing and won’t need to count.  I recommend 10 minute segments once or twice per day.

By focusing on the breath, you bring your awareness to the present moment.  The near constant brain chatter so many people experience daily quiets itself. The worries of yesterday and tomorrow are replaced by mindful breathing in the present moment.  The present moment is where life is lived.

Most patients find this technique very relaxing physically and calming mentally.  An added benefit is the increase of oxygen in the blood stream thru this concentrated breathing approach.  That helps relax tense muscles especially in the neck and low back areas, tight from our chaotic lifestyles.

Deep breathing is usually my first mind/body suggestion for helping patients find and restore a sense of balance in their lives.  I recommend this technique first before moving patients on to other mind/body approaches such as mindfulness and meditation.

Holistically, when deep breathing is combined with lifestyle changes such as an exercise program and improved nutrition, significant positive health benefits are seen.  These include lower blood pressure, lower incidence of heart attack and stroke and a calmer, more balanced feel for life.

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Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.


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Real Listening

Real listening is the foundation of any good doctor-patient relationship.  It allows patients to tell their story, which is essential in any healing partnership.   Having a physician who really listens to you and your story is so important during an illness or difficult period of life.  One of the most compassionate gifts we can give a patient is our attention thru listening.

We all want someone who cares enough to take the time to listen to our deepest fears and sorrows.  Someone who won’t judge us, won’t belittle us, won’t blame us.  It means that physicians need to stay mentally clear and calm when a patient is telling their story.  Most times, we think we are listening, but actually we are only thinking about what to say next or how the story affects our own lives.  Physicians need to step outside their thoughts and value the healing power of listening.

Sadly, listening is taking a back seat in medicine, along with the doctor-patient relationship.  The reasons are many but, from my perspective, the major one is that so many physicians are becoming employed by hospitals.  Employed physicians have no choice but to change their loyalties from patients to their employers.  Hospital administrators aren’t interested in the art of listening.  They are only interested in the art of generating revenue.  This transformation has severely eroded the doctor-patient relationship.  It has damaged patient care.

As a holistic physician, I am reminded often by patients how much they appreciate the relaxed, non-hurried visit to my office, where first visits sometimes last an hour.  Many patients comment that they feel better just from telling their story.  This type of patient centered care is at the heart of the dramatic rise in visits to alternate health care professionals, such as massage therapists, personal trainers or energy healers, all who generally spend an hour with their patients.  These patients really value that hour of listening, that  hour of caring.  Physicians rarely spend  an hour, half hour or even 15 minutes with a patient.

Unfortunately for patients, the new medical model for many physicians, especially hospital employed ones, is the eight minute office visit.  A visit with very little eye contact while electronic medical records are typed.  A test or two is ordered, maybe a procedure performed and a couple of prescriptions written.  No time for a patient to tell their story.   No time for real listening.  No time for genuine healing.   Just enough time for the art of generating revenue.

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Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.


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Circling around.

Starting a blog about Holistic Medicine seemed an easy task. I’ve been teaching about the subject thru radio programs and lectures for over 20 years. Just couldn’t get started until today.

What changed? I needed to spend some time alone in OSU’s med school. To let go of the past. Until today, I had always been with my son in Meiling/Graves Hall during his 4 years of med school. I needed to let go of the idea that his smiling face was just around the corner. He has moved on to an Emergency Medicine residency in Cleveland. I needed to move on as well.

We seem to lose our kids in phases from the time they start driving at age 16. But I had the luxury of having Chris close by for 8 years while he was at OSU, undergraduate then med school. The intellectual aspect of letting go is easy. At least for me. It’s the emotional part that is really tough.

But as I was letting go of Chris, I was also thrilled to spend a couple of hours with 1st and 2nd year medical students at OSU’s Graves Hall discussing the integration of holistic medicine concepts into a traditional medical practice . Eager faces and open minds wanting to hear my 30 years of clinical practice. Wonderful session. I love teaching. Always have. But more than once, I tried to see Chris’ smiling face in the back of the room, proud of me as I am so proud of him.

The med students want me back to discuss the “energy” issues surrounding healing. Perfect next step. I am a lucky man to get to teach the part of medicine I’m so passionate about. The universe takes care of us if we can just relax, breathe and flow. A never ending lesson for me.

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Dr. Allan Bazzoli, MD is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Holistic Medicine, and Physical Medicine in the Mt. Vernon/Central Ohio and Columbus area.  He is available for speaking engagements on a variety of holistic medical topics.  This material can be distributed free to the public as long as there is no remuneration and credit is given to the author.