Pill-free

Center offers alternatives for pain management

The answer to dealing with pain at Cornerstone Integrative Health Associates isn’t “pop two pills and call me in the morning.”

Clients and patients often already know all about popping pills. It’s a way to stay away from those pills even when in pain that is their challenge.

Cornerstone Integrative Health Associates, which opened at 369 Fountain View Circle, Alcoa, in March, has a menu of other ways to deal with pain -- massage therapy, acupuncture, Reiki, stress reduction coaching and Rubenfeld Synergy.

The center offers narcotic-free pain management, and, from the growth they have seen in five months, it’s an option that resonates with the community.

Carolyn R. Weisenberger, BS LPN Reiki II, is director of the 4,800 square foot facility located in the former Dwight Price and Associates Realty Executives building.

“It has been tremendous,” Weisenberger said of the growth in clients and patients. “Dr. Diana Sarkar’s patients followed her from Knoxville, and Susan’s Maxwell’s clients followed her here, and we’ve added 142 new patients. That doesn’t include Susan’s new clients.”

Weisenberger said the professionals at Cornerstone Integrative Health Associates want to work with local physicians to compliment the care they are giving. “It’s a way to give back to community. The providers and staff here are very committed to patient care. That is what makes it work,” she said.

The center was started by Cornerstone of Recovery, a substance abuse rehabilitation center on Topside Road in Alcoa.

Cornerstone of Recovery president Dan Caldwell said over the last 10 years there has been an explosion in the number of people addicted to opiates. “They are addicted to prescription medication. People get painkillers, they get opiate medication and have a hard time turning it loose. They get addicted to it. They’re doctor-shopping or buying it on street,” he said.

Caldwell said he and the staff at Cornerstone of Recovery felt there needed to be an alternative to pain medication. “We graduate 1,000 people a year (at Cornerstone). What do they do if they need help with pain? Our idea was to start a pain center with an integrative, holistic approach. You get alternatives to surgery and pills using good techniques. It is designed to help people deal with pain without using addictive medication,” he said. “We started in March, and we are almost at capacity for occupancy, and we’re considering adding more.”

Weisenberger said the doors opened on March 15. “This started as a dream from working with Cornerstone of Recovery. Talking with Dan, so many patients are addicted to pain killers and are in recovery. They don’t want to take pain pills when they are in pain. We were exploring options, looking for what we could provide people to service that need,” she said. “How can we deal with pain without narcotics? We started working on this idea.”

Weisenberger said she and Susan Maxwell, who is a Rubenfeld synergist, started planning and putting together the foundation for what the center might look like in the fall of last year. One of the first professionals they recruited was Dr. Diana Sarkar, MD. She had been in the emergency medical field for 25 years in the local community and was a board certified medical acupuncturist.

“What we have here is a lot of different services to address needs for pain, stress and well-being through natural means -- as much as we can. We do not prescribe medication but will also work with patients who are on medication,” she said. “We work with primary care physicians to compliment the care they are giving.”

Weisenberger said services such as medical acupuncture can also be a supplement for dealing with arthritis pain or injury. “We have Rubenfeld synergy and two massage therapists. We have Reiki and stress reduction coaching.”

Reiki and Rubenfeld Synergy Method are energy healing modalities that work with points in the body the same as acupuncture to restore energy flow. “It’s not massage modality, but it can be light touch or off the body modality,” she said.

The Rubenfeld Synergy Method addresses what is happening in a person both physically and emotionally by combining talk with gentle touch and compassionate listening. This enables the client to see that physical and emotional experiences are connected, which leads to both physical and emotional relief, she said.

Weisenberger said massage therapist Marie Wilson specializes in sports massage, ashiastu and relaxation massage. Christy Fletcher specializes in pregnancy massage and reflexology as well as other massage modalities.

Patient and clients can call to make an appointment. The center can be reached at 865-983-7800 or via the web at www.cornerstoneintegrativehealth.com.

Classes to begin

Weisenberger said Cornerstone Integrative Health Associates would be offering specific pain management classes in September. The upcoming classes at Cornerstone Integrative Health Associates are:

• Sept. 2-23: “Reflexology for Parents of Babies with Colic.” Limited to six children no younger than 3 weeks old (both parents can attend); meets 6-7 p.m. Wednesdays. $75.

• Sept. 15-Oct. 6: “Strategies for Non-Chemical Pain Relief.” Two classes, limited to 10 people each, will be offered from 8:30-9:30 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. on Tuesdays. $75.

• Sept. 17-Oct. 8: “Healing the Emotional Body,” a workshop exploring the links between emotions and physical health and developing a personal care routine. Two classes, each limited to eight people, will be offered from 8:30-9:30 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. on Thursdays. $75.

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