Catherine Cusumano is a Licensed Acupuncturist. She has treated everything from acid reflux to migraines to insomnia. The common thread is usually stress related. Stress impacts everything from how well we sleep to how well we digest our food and everything else we take in.

What is the difference in philosophy between Eastern and Western Medicine? Catherine Cusumano, acupuncture nyc

Catherine feels the primary difference is in Chinese (Eastern) Medicine focuses on finding the origin of the problem, whereas Western Medicine focuses on the symptoms – as a result Chinese medicine tends to be a more long-term solution as it has dealt with the root cause. People don’t realize that a major health issue that arises has been coming for a long time, and their body has been trying to repair itself all along – Chinese Medicine is very effective for balancing people.

Specifically how does Acupuncture help people?

Catherine sometimes regards Acupuncture as a ‘Circuit Trace’ – an acupuncture chart that has all the lines and intersections (or Meridians) on it is quite like looking at an electric circuit. The approach of Acupuncture is to determine the points in the body where problems are arising, and to dial up or dial down the energy movements at these points to regulate the body functions. Both Western and Eastern medicine agree that energy movement are electrical signals between the major organs of the body.

How do Emotional issues manifest themselves, and how are they treated?

One of the first things that happens is an emotional reaction is that you automatically jump into a fight or flight mode. The problem with anxiety is that there is no physical threat and your brain puts you into fight or flight mode, and you’re stuck – but there is no threat, and therefore no resolution. Acupuncture and Meditation treatment can be combined here to treat very successfully. Meditation is very effective to bring the mind to a more settled place here. The brain builds bridges and reinforces positive or negative thoughts, and if you keep returning to the positive and reminding yourself that the negative is not where you really are it can be a very effective treatment.

What about the Acupuncture experience itself?

A lot of people’s fear of needles when it comes to Acupuncture is simply a mindset. The needles are very fine, they are not hollow, and they are solid and nothing like a hypodermic needle. The sensation of a sprained ankle slowly relieving can be compared to the sensation that acupuncture brings as it slowly starts to relive the pressure in the affected part of the body. Often tingles in the body can be felt as energy moves around – but it is totally normal. If people’s expectations can be managed and reassurance given that the sensations experienced are normal, it can be quite a straightforward and rewarding experience.

How does the muscle release work?

Acupuncture comes into play when no amount of conscious effort to let a muscle relax is working. Using a specific treatment involving trigger points, a practitioner will find the points where the muscle is constricted and won’t let go and causing pain patterns, insert a needle and cause the muscle to get to the point where it releases. In the case of emotional conditions – which are caused by a muscle retaining emotion – it’s necessary to ask the question if the tension is released, can you let go of the emotion behind it. This is why Catherine also does spiritual advice as well to treat both the physical and emotional effects of treatment. Patience and perseverance is required.

Is health a practice?

When you say you meditate you say ‘I practice’ meditation, just like Yoga, Ball games etc… why would your health be any different? You practice feeling and being healthy. Nothing that lasts is a quick fix – you must practice continuously.

Can Acupuncture benefit healing of old existing injuries?

Acupuncture can thread under a scar and break up scar tissue and cause blood flow to flow through and help to heal. On a bigger scale part of scarring is not just an external component, it can be internal that can limit peoples ability to move. Whereas the scar tissue is easy to breakup, the mental component of the injury is not. Acupuncture can release muscle tension, but it is also an energetic shift, which can break up the emotional scar. It can get to the bottom of whether an issue is physical or if it’s actually only in your head.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“You’re not a drop in the ocean, you’re the entire ocean in one drop” – Rumi. Its not strictly advice. Catherine has had deep meditative experiences where she did not ‘leave her body’ per say, but had the experience of separation where her skin tricked her into believing that she had. The best advice she was give was thus experience of experiencing ‘Boundary – lessness’ and the feeling that she was part of everything. Its very hard in the world we live in with the realities of everyday life to realize that with all the boundaries we set up for ourselves that we really are without boundary. If you can really let yourself go and believe in this it is an incredibly liberating experience – this is why that quote “You’re not a drop in the ocean, you’re the entire ocean in one drop” means so much to Catherine.

How can we connect with her?