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Episode #2 Health Unlimited Podcast-Can Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine Help Me?




Transcription: Episode #2- Can Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine Help Me


Disclaimer: The below is an auto-generated transcription from today’s podcast.  Typos and grammatical errors are possible.

Announcer  0:00  

Welcome to the Health Unlimited Podcast, the only podcast that unlocks your unlimited health potential. Here’s your host, Dominic Sembello.

Charlie McDermott  0:13  

Well, welcome everyone, Charlie McDermott, producer of the show co hosts, at least as long as Dominic allows me to do this, Dominic, how you doing?


Dominic Sembello  0:21  

Hey, Charlie, you still got another job lined up? You’re good. Good to see it.


Charlie McDermott  0:27  

Great to see you. Congratulations again, episode number two here. And we covered some great ground last episode for your listeners. If you didn’t catch episode number one. Make sure you listen to that after this one. I think today is kind of a groundbreaking episode as well, because we’re going to cover some of those questions that you get asked all the time, I’m sure. But the sad part is many people never ask you, because, one, they don’t know what they don’t know. Or they assume that what you do is the same as everyone else. So let me start with that. Big, big question. Can acupuncture help me?


Dominic Sembello  1:11  

That should be the number one question that everyone asks. So when we’re talking a little bit before, there’s “frequently asked questions”, and there’s what “should ask” questions. Those people are asking questions that are more frequently asked, right? Does my insurance cover this?  Do you know how many treatments do I need? But they’re asking the front desk, right or receptionists and they’re great, but they’re not going to know that. So what you alluded to there was can you help me? That should be the number one question asked, Can you help me?


Charlie McDermott  1:48  

Bottom line? Yeah, can you get me out of pain? Can you give me my life back in many cases which you’re a master at doing with all the folks that I know, we’re going to get one in future episodes. So go ahead, you know, so can acupuncture help me?


Dominic Sembello  2:04  

Right? And the answer is most of the time, yes, with a few caveats. For one, you still need to be evaluated. Everyone presents a little differently, right? Five people could come in for back pain, for example, but their back pains are all different. Different causes, perhaps, you know, someone could have surgery, someone could have fusions, someone maybe tried injection, someone has a bulging disc, someone has three herniated discs, so just the symptom of back pain alone is not going to be enough to determine if we can help them. That’s where the evaluation comes in first and foremost, because in order to really answer that question, you need to be evaluated first.


Charlie McDermott  2:47  

So what’s that evaluation? Yeah. How’s that? What’s it look like? How’s it feel? Fill us in there?


Dominic Sembello  2:53  

Yeah. So many times, because we’re often unfortunately, and I just had a new patient, literally, yes, last night. That said, You’re my last hope. I have been everywhere else. And again, this is a common theme that I hear. But most times because we see people, unfortunately, after they’ve had a chronic problem, we review their X rays or MRIs if they have them available, if it’s for their condition, or possibly review their blood work. But really, more importantly, it’s really about the person, right? You are not a diagnosis, you are a human being. And that is our sole focus in our office. Because how you present, that’s what we need to deal with, whether it’s from a bulging disc or muscle spasm, that will determine maybe your frequency of care needed, or maybe the length of time that I expect before progress could be seen. But the evaluation is really about you. It’s solely focused on you, how you present, how your life’s affected how your symptoms show up for you. And that’s where the evaluation starts. And ultimately, is the main important piece. You’re the main piece, right? You’re the person.


Charlie McDermott  4:08  

So are you able to then, you know, kind of diagnose in that initial evaluation.


Dominic Sembello  4:16  

Typically, typically, people already know what they’re diagnosed with when they come in. I have. So again, the new patient last night came in, she literally just had surgery, she now has a rod in her low back in her lumbar spine. So we kind of know what was already going on in her particular case, but most people know or they have a diagnosis or a name. It’s very, very unlikely that most people come in these days without knowing what they have. But remember, you’re a person, not a diagnosis. So to me, you’re not, you know, you’re Charlie Charlie coming in with back pain and this is how Charlie’s back pain looks. And this is his history. And this is his presentation and these are the treatments he’s already tried, right versus someone else like the woman last night. She has multiple screws in her back and hip. Right. And that’s been going on for this long. And now she literally can’t sit more than 15 minutes without pain. We had to do the exam, in fact, standing up because she can’t sit down.


Charlie McDermott  5:18  

Wow. Yeah. amazing Wow. So we have listeners who, you know, one could definitely use your help. But there are a lot of choices out there. And you mentioned the woman who came in recently who said, You’re my last hope I know, that’s something you hear on a regular basis, unfortunately be. And a big part of that is, you know, they’re there air quotes conventional ways. And then there’s your system. And I don’t know if that’s the right word for it. But I know, you go way beyond, you know, from your kid, I’ve labeled standard acupuncture. You know, you’re, Go ahead.


Dominic Sembello  6:00  

Yeah. Well, I mean, in my particular training, yes, I am standard trained in traditional, you know, acupuncture systems. However, my background specifically is my undergraduate degree was in sports medicine. So I’ve combined the ancient wisdom that’s been around for 1000s of years, that works and continues to work with more cutting edge technologies and scientific devices that we use in conjunction with the acupuncture for more of an integrative approach. Because when we combine these two, the results are, are far superior that we get.


Charlie McDermott  6:42  

So, integrative medicine, you know, pulling in your knowledge, your experience, and it really, at the end of the day, creates a completely different practice. Which leads me to that next question, which is, yeah, I’ve done acupuncture before, but it didn’t work, have you? You know, for whatever reason, it just didn’t work for me, have you heard that,


Dominic Sembello  7:05  

You’re gonna think this is probably funny. I’m gonna say a good I don’t know the exact number, but I’m gonna say good 25 to 30% of people that I see, have tried acupuncture before. And interestingly enough, some of them have gone to local providers and or they’ve had it in other areas. So they’ve tried it, but no two people are not the same. Right, their training is different, maybe their interest is different. For me, again, with my background, I have a very medical and scientific background. And I just happen to believe that holistic medicine, and your body is able to help itself. So I, you know, I geared more toward acupuncture for my medical training, after college. However, the integrative approaches, again, are more modern solutions. But then I created exclusive protocols in my practice that I’ve been using for years that combine both of them in specific ways and specific timeframes. So almost like phases of care. And by doing that, we’ve done both. We do acupuncture, and the integrative aspects. Going back to your question, though, in regards to the acupuncture, a lot of people have tried acupuncture. And even like when I travel, sometimes if someone asked me, What did you do, and I say, Oh, I just use acupuncture. Because if I’d say, integrative medicine, a lot of times they don’t know what that means. And they’re like, Oh, I tried it once. And I’m like, Oh, well, what do you mean once? And they say, I didn’t really notice much. And I said, Well, why did you only go one time, you’re gonna need to go more than one time. And they didn’t. And they weren’t told to they many times it comes down to for one education. Does the practitioner actually explain to you from the very beginning what your process and systems going to look like? One visit is not going to do it? Again, you’re you’re from the health background health. The fitness, you know, world, it’s the same thing as exercising, right? Are you going to work out one time and magically look like Arnold Schwarzenegger? It’d be nice. I mean, I would love that. But that’s just not how your body works.


Charlie McDermott  9:19  

On that program. Yep.


Dominic Sembello  9:21  



Charlie McDermott  9:21  

Yeah. Yeah. So you’re ready. It’s a commitment. And I think a lot of that is and I know I’m walking on on thin ice here because I’m not in the medical profession, but you hear things like the placebo effect and, and, and it’s amazing, the percentage of folks that are healed from a sugar pill because they believe right, and I I gotta believe that the folks who try anything once whether it’s a diet or workout or things like that, they’re not committed. They don’t have the mindset and I What I love about you in is that you, you help transform folks, you give them hope, I guess is what I’m looking for that word, right? You know is that you’re like, You’re my last hope. And with all of your successes, I think it is just my guesstimate that because of that, if I’m at that point, whether it’s I have a recent pain or pain that I’ve been dealing with for years and years and years, it’s like, if I’m going to go to a brain surgeon, I probably want the guy who’s been doing this for decades, rather than the guy who just got out of medical school, and or even better, you know, the one who has raving success. And in your case, the ability to kind of just continue to piggyback off of those successes, so your patients probably come in feeling confident. And, you know, I think that all plays into, at the end of the day, then walking out after a number of what do you call appointments sessions with you? Yeah, yeah, treating


Dominic Sembello  11:08  

Treatments really is more what it’s all about. So, I mean, we have to talk about physiology for a second without getting too too deep, right? Physiologically, your body, it takes time to heal, right? Again, let’s go with a basic account, you have a cut, there’s a scabbing process that goes on and a healing process that goes on, and eventually the scab goes away, and now all the sudden it’s better. So with acupuncture and all the services we do, it’s still about treating your body to give your body that chance to heal. And that takes time. And in a general rule of thumb, the longer you have something, typically the longer it takes to achieve the result that you want. And that is just human physiology. And we can go even further and talk more about cells, right? Or every our body has millions and millions of cells, all cells die off and are replaced. As we get older, that replacement gets less or if you’re injured, or you have other issues, when that starts to break down. That is when disease occurs. And different cells do different things, right, like a heart cells do different than your blood cells. Right, every organ has cells, they all have different cells, they also have all different timeframes in which they rejuvenate or regenerate. So nerve cells are different than skin cells. So you have to take again, science and biology and understand that, hey, if so and so is coming in with this problem. We’ll use peripheral neuropathy as an example. We know that that’s nerve damage of the peripheral nerves, typically in the hands and feet. And we know that nerves are the slowest to regenerate in the body. So we know that that’s going to take time. And so knowing this information, it is my job to communicate it with the patient. There’s a very good chance we can help you. And just understanding the expectation. Yeah, this is not magic, it’s medicine. And it works really well if applied correctly.


Charlie McDermott  13:23  

So you’ve kind of already answered this, but I think it’s important for me to just ask this alone, because you do have patients I know coming from a far away distance to work with you. Is all acupuncture the same?


Dominic Sembello  13:43  

The short answer is absolutely not. It is not the same. For one in school, you’re taught there’s lots of different techniques and styles of approaches, okay. And people tend to gravitate toward whatever I guess their main interest is my main interest is getting you the results that you want. I am not glued to a technique. Does that make sense? I use whatever is going to work to help that person. And so that is the that is why it’s not the same for everyone. Or not all acupuncture is the same.


Charlie McDermott  14:23  

Yeah, yeah. Well no, I think you you nailed it number one. But anything that we missed from a you know, a general, what should someone I mean, you’ve got listeners probably way out there in California and Alaska. I mean, where are they seeing you is just not did you buy that private jet yet? Are you? Okay, you’re not flying them in yet from the West.


Dominic Sembello  14:52  

I’m working on that chart.


Charlie McDermott  14:55  

Anything more that those folks should know? Before they meet with There, acupuncturist


Dominic Sembello  15:01  

I mean, the first thing would I would tell people is do your research first. I mean, in today’s modern world, right, you should be looking at a minimum, online, at whatever maybe clinic you’re considering. And, you know, look at things like Google reviews, for example, as just as some type of starting point, right? If you’re, if you have a choice of 10, in your geographic area, and one has a bunch of reviews, that’s a good sign that somebody’s they’re doing something right. Right. But again, that’s just Google reviews. And it just tells you one, one little bit of the story. The second part would be, of course, if you’re really interested in I always say you go in for an evaluation, I think that’s the biggest thing. Because you might not like the clinic setting they’re in a lot of people work by themselves. They don’t have, you know, staff or team members to help them. Some people work out of their office, I’m sorry, their home office, right. So it’s like a maybe a room or two in their house. Some people might like that, some people might be uncomfortable with that. So you know, they’re setting to be situated. Most states are regulated from a license perspective, you can easily look that up as a person that you’re interested in potentially seeing, you know, are they licensed and current current with their, you know, their state requirements, that’s easy to find. But more importantly, I always say, meet the person, right? I have people come in, meet with me, and let me meet you. And let me determine if or how I can help you. If I can’t help you, I’m gonna do my best to guide you in the right direction of perhaps another provider, perhaps is just to get some additional tests done, or another doctor’s office. My concern is always number one about the people right in front of me. All this other stuff, Charlie really can be replaced. But the human being part that can’t be replaced. And that’s something that I really focus on the most. You’re like I said earlier, you’re not a diagnosis. You’re a human being. And many times, especially today, in our modern medical doctors offices, the woman I saw yesterday, perfect example. The doctor thinks that her surgery was a success. Because he’s looking at it from a very narrow view. She has no quality of life right now. She can’t sleep very well, she literally can’t sit for more than 15 minutes. You ask her? She’s like, well, the doctor said, everything looks good. And I said, But how’s your life going? She goes, Well, that’s a completely different thing. So to me, what I’m working on is that human being in front of me and doing the best we can, with our integrative approaches, to get her body as best as possible, get the nerves calm down, get inflammation down and try to get her as much relief as possible. Knowing that we have, you know, in her case, the all that surgery that’s been done in their mind well, and also setting a proper expectations. We can do a whole other whole other show on expectations, because I think that’s something that we really could devote its own time. So maybe maybe we’ll do that to some on the future episodes.


Charlie McDermott  18:33  

Charlie. made a note of it. Yeah. Well, we need to get you back to serving those folks in South Jersey. Really appreciate you sharing that knowledge Dominic, and we’ll see in the next episode.


Dominic Sembello  18:48  

Okay. Thank you, Charlie. Have a great day. All right, buddy. Good seeing you. Yeah. All right.


Announcer  18:52  

Thanks for listening to the health unlimited podcast. To learn more about Dominic or his private practice, go to

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