Since leaving New York and going to acupuncture school, Arlene has had a vision of planting a tree that would send down very deep roots and grow into a well-established part of the community. She wanted to treat families and friends of patients and connect with other practitioners in the community to form a solid network of wellness resources for everyone.
So, in addition to her own acupuncture offerings, she has been fortunate over the years to have a variety of extremely talented and professional practitioners work along side her. The practitioners offering associated therapies bring a wealth of treatment modalities and skill to the area. After 30 years, the tree is planted, growing, and thriving!
Here is how it all began...by Andrew Cunningham
Acupuncturist Arlene Myers understands stress. After eight years as a freelance woven fabric designer in New York City, in the high-pressure fashion industry, she was facing some major health problems.
"I loved the work, but not the industry, and my health really suffered as a result of all the pressure," she says. Her problems included chronic urinary tract infections, which were quite severe. "And there was absolutely no way that Western medicine was able to prevent them," explains Myers. "The constant prescribing of antibiotics just made me sicker and sicker. I discovered Oriental medicine while looking for a cure for my own problems."
Her search brought her to Shiatsu, an Asian practice using finger pressure on points of the body. She learned that balancing her body energies could help in the way her body processed stress, and that it was the stress, not bacteria, that was at the root of her problem. At that point in her life, Myers was seeking avenues to get into a more compassionate and people-oriented career. Compassion was a quality she saw a lot of while growing up in the heart of the Midwest, and one that had a major impression on her early in life. So she began to train in Shiatsu. "It taught me the principles of Oriental medicine and why people really get sick and what makes them well."
But as much as she loved Shiatsu, Myers knew that she needed to study Oriental medicine to a much greater extent to work on deeper problems in the body, so she enrolled in acupuncture school. In those days-the early '80s-there was no licensure in New York State, and only about 12 schools in the country that taught Oriental medicine, so Myers moved to Boston and attended the New England School of Acupuncture, in Watertown.
While still in school, she was invited to come to the Cape to teach Shiatsu to a wonderful group of ladies. She went one weekend a month for nine months and was introduced to these generous, interesting people who lived a life that was very attractive to her. "They were so excited to have another acupuncturist on the Cape, they told everyone they knew and it filled my practice almost immediately! I'm very grateful to them." She started small, working out of her home for four years, before moving to her current busy office in Mashpee.
Her own experience with stress spawned a strong interest in internal medicine and treating chronic conditions, which is the primary focus of her practice. "I use a combination of acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.
While Myers recognizes the value of Western medicine, she has also seen first-hand its limitations. "It definitely has amazing things to offer us," she says, "but there are a lot of things that Western medicine doesn't treat very well. Those are the cases that have filled my office for many years." Myers sees them as conditions that are "outside the box."
"I treat the large quantities of problems that start in the energetics," explains Myers. "These are the ones that are not yet deep enough in the body to cause a disease, but yet, the person just doesn't feel well."
She feels that a vital part of her treatments is compassion, and that each patient receives her individual attention-an important part of Oriental medicine. Myers understands what it is like to have a chronic condition and to have someone treating you who cares about you as a person, not just as another statistic. "I love every one of my patients," she says. "They are such interesting and wonderful people."
Myers feels that the public's awareness of alternative medicine has increased exponentially. Ninety-five percent of her patients come via referrals from other patients or health care providers-a testament to her effectiveness. "People who come in here are well-informed and motivated. They get well because of their awareness. They know they are responsible for their own health."
It's been an interesting journey from her roots in Iowa and Nebraska to New York City to the Cape. "It's been a very rich and rewarding experience here on the Cape. I feel privileged to work with the people who come to me, and to be able to share in their lives."