Theodore Levarda, M.S., L.Ac, is a licensed acupuncturist and board-certified in Oriental Medicine. He studied at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York. He is the founder of Morningside Acupuncture on the Upper West Side, where he specializes in treating pain and stress related disorders with three different styles of acupuncture along with Chinese herbal medicine.
Read our interview with Theodore about his take on acupuncture treatment below.
Q: What is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is the insertion of thin, sterile, single-use only needles into specific points on the body to address specific symptoms based on the principles of Chinese medicine.
Research has shown that acupuncture can reduce pain and inflammation, release muscle tightness, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, help balance the nervous system, and improve circulation.
To me, acupuncture is a way to bring self-awareness back to the body and release stored areas of tension. These areas of tension can form in myofascial tissue from things like poor posture, overuse, and chronic stress.
I individualize each treatment based on a comprehensive physical assessment and health history. I incorporate three styles of acupuncture, dry needling, trigger point release, electroacupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, gua sha, and recommendations for Chinese herbs as needed.
Q: What drew you to the field of acupuncture?
A: My story is similar to that of many of my patients. I was dealing with chronic pain from a hip injury and tried many other healthcare modalities before eventually finding that acupuncture was the most effective for reducing my pain, and, more importantly, keeping me out of pain.
As I got better, I became interested in understanding how acupuncture worked. The idea of becoming an acupuncturist actually popped into my head while I was getting a treatment. I eventually decided to leave my career in finance to pursue a career in which I could share this newfound knowledge with others in the same situation.
Q: Who should see an acupuncturist?
A: Anyone dealing with acute or chronic pain or chronic stress and anxiety should consider acupuncture. It offers a drug-free treatment approach by releasing the body’s natural pain relieving endorphins without the side effects of prescription medications.
The American Pain Society has endorsed referrals for acupuncture for chronic musculoskeletal and osteoarthritis pain which provides long-lasting treatment effects not attributable to a placebo effect.
Acupuncture is effective in treating the symptoms of over 100 medical conditions. Besides the conditions I focus on (pain and stress), it can treat symptoms pertaining to a wide range of ailments including digestive issues, insomnia, allergies, headaches, infertility, and autoimmune conditions.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: I enjoy introducing people to the benefits of acupuncture, especially after my own experience going through the frustration of dealing with chronic pain.
I work with many first time acupuncture patients and oftentimes they have tried everything else they could think of before turning to acupuncture. By that time many people start to feel hopeless, frustrated, and that they will never get better. Offering patients a way to feel better when they have been through so much is always rewarding even though it can be difficult. Getting to know people on this deeper level and being part of their journey to better health is something I never take for granted.
Q: What is the most surprising aspect of your work?
A: The most surprising aspect of being an acupuncturist is the lack of awareness of what acupuncture is and how it can help treat the symptoms of a wide variety of health conditions, either alone or in conjunction with other forms of healthcare like orthopedic treatment, physical therapy, chiropractic, and exercise.
I spend a lot of time educating people on the benefits of acupuncture in ways that they can understand to help bridge this gap.
Q: What do you like to do in your time off?
A: I am a new dad so most of my free time is spent bonding with and taking care of my four month old daughter. I am also an avid soccer player in various leagues around New York City.
Book an acupuncture appointment with Theodore Levarda on Qwell.