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Chappaqua Woman Turns To Acupuncture Career After Sticky Medical Ordeal

Toni King turned to acupuncture to relieve a stressful medical condition, and eventually turned the practice into her career.
Toni King turned to acupuncture to relieve a stressful medical condition, and eventually turned the practice into her career. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Toni King

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Pain seared through Chappaqua's Toni King during her freelance artist career. She found relief in acupuncture, became credentialed and now owns a thriving practice.

The path from freelance artist to respected Acupuncturist was a twisted one. King needed to find relief because pain hampered her work. “My right illiosacral joint was injured,’’ said King, who owns Spotted Tiger Acupuncture, which has offices in Chappaqua and Port Chester. “I would have two good hours in the morning when I didn’t have pain, but then it would begin to set in. When the pain became unbearable I would spend a few minutes lying on my back until it lessened, then go back and do it again, eating Advil like candy. Since I worked 10 hour days it was a problem.”

King tried physical therapy. “It wasn’t effective for more than a few days,’’ she said. “I tried acupuncture and started feeling better. The acupuncturist not only treated the condition, he treated the reason it kept coming back. I was fascinated.”

One day King came in for treatment only to find her Acupuncturist extremely stressed. “I said to him, ‘Maybe we should throw you on the table.''' She felt badly that she couldn’t help, and the idea that she could be an acupuncturist was born. Three months later, she was in school.

King earned her Clinical Masters Degree of Science from the Tri-State College of Acupuncture, considered one of the best in the nation. The school is unusual in that it teaches three styles of acupuncture, TCM, APM and KM. Most schools only teach TCM. She also completed three internships with respected New York and Connecticut Acupuncturists, attended a two-year herb program with TSCA, and a two-year professional development program with The Thousand Hands Institute. She tested nationally and earned her NCCAOM Diplomate of Acupuncture. She maintains her New York and Connecticut licenses with additional yearly training.

King works in all three acupuncture styles choosing what is best for each patient, but relies most heavily on KM style. This allows her to accurately find the right point with her fingers, enabling her to use smaller needles and less stimulation. Her commitment to patient education and pain-free needling distinguishes her practice from those who offer similar treatment.

“I believe an educated patient is the best patient,’’ she said. “Knowledge gives them the power to stay healthy. Often they’ll come in if they develop new health issues, injury, or for maintenance of chronic illness, like symptoms of diabetes, multiple sclerosis, migraines and fibromyalgia. I spend a lot of time on education from the get-go, and that makes me hugely different. ”

People struggling with chronic health issues often find their way to acupuncture as a last resort. Pushed into pain management, they are desperate for relief. The first session with King is two-hours. A complete medical history is discussed, followed by careful examination of reflexes and complaints. Then King begins treatment. “After the first needle most patients exclaim, ‘I was afraid of that ?,’’’ King said.

Acupuncture works by balancing out the energy in the body, and after the needles are in many patients fall asleep on the table. This is why acupuncture has the reputation of a “spa” type treatment.

“Acupuncture is a complete modality, people come for many different reasons.'' she said. "Some have injury or need post surgical care. Some come for support in cancer treatments. Acupuncture gets your body back into balance after it has received insult, and maintains health once you achieve it again. Acupuncture is a great weapon in a patient’s health arsenal.”

King generally sees patients once a week until symptoms resolve, twice a week for very acute conditions. How long a patient visits King depends upon personal needs and goals. Some of her patients, high-powered executives get weekly treatments to relieve the stress of their high stakes lifestyle. Others are homemakers, children, college students, or breadwinners. APM style or Acupuncture Osteopathy, is ideally suited to athletic issues utilizing trigger point fasciculation. King also treats PTSD successfully.

King understands the fear most people have of needles. “Their experience is with big hypodermics. Our needles are the size of a hair. Patients may feel some sensation, but these sensations are generally very comfortable.

King is also a nationally listed and recognized Virginia Doran Facial Rejuvenation provider. “The face is a microsystem, it affects the entire body and feeling good is healing to the Shen (spirit). This is the best method I have found. It literally lifts sagging skin- stimulating facial muscles to hold it up, increases circulation, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and improves texture.” She also offers expertise in “cupping” -- the procedure Michael Phelps made popular at the Summer Olympics -- and more.

She has recently found a little time to return to her art, this time without pain “I had great teachers,’’ she said. “What I do is challenging and rewarding, and I love it.”

For more information, click here to visit the Spotted Tiger website.

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