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Pleasantville, NY: Charmaine Oakley

Fast facts
Practice type: Hybrid
Specialties: General wellness
Styles: Classical Chinese medicine

Why did you become an acupuncturist?
I always wanted to practice medicine. I studied pre-med at Dartmouth College, and in my junior year, I went to Calcutta to work in a street clinic. I met Mother Theresa and volunteered in her children’s shelter—in the process getting extremely sick. After hospitalization back in the U.S., I struggled with chronic illness. My road to wellbeing began then, and Chinese medicine played a significant, transformative role. I know from personal experience its capacity to benefit patients in myriad ways—not only in their bodies, but also in their experience of life, of themselves, and of their possibilities.

What distinguishes you from other acupuncturists?
My acupuncture practice offers nearly 20 years of experience in complementary medicine. I have practiced yoga, meditation and bodywork since 1996, and been a licensed massage therapist in New York for 11 years. I routinely incorporate craniosacral therapy, Eastern bodywork, and qigong healing into acupuncture treatments. I intern with Tom Bisio, an internationally renowned acupuncturist, martial arts practitioner, teacher and author, to continue my post-graduate studies. My medical qigong training began in 2000 with Master Yuwen Ru, a Tai Chi master and healer treating complicated illness.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
Chinese medicine is meaningful both in theory and application. I’m grateful to share its tools and insight with patients choosing to explore this powerful path to good health. I love doing the work, being a resource and seeing people feel better. It’s a privilege to engage with each person’s unique challenges, strengths and symptom picture as we work together to cultivate real wellbeing.

What is the biggest misconception you hear about acupuncture?
My father is a Western physician—old school and reasonably skeptical. He’s asked me thought-provoking questions over the years, and I’ve grown in both my willingness to answer and my general appreciation for people who want to know more about this very foreign medicine. The most common question I’ve heard is, “Isn’t it all just the placebo effect?” My usual answer is, “Well, acupuncture works for animals, who don’t experience that phenomenon.” Then I elaborate on how recent brain imaging studies, including at Harvard’s Mass General Hospital, show consistent and distinct neurological activity when patients receive acupuncture. These types of studies are increasing in number and may represent a more effective look at the mechanisms that make this medicine work than previous double-blind trials.

How do you stay healthy in your own life?
Daily meditation, good work, family time, laughter, good food, good friends, qigong treatments, acupuncture as needed; and listening to music, singing, writing, taking pictures, learning, keeping an open mind, and trying to cultivate appreciation for life’s ups and downs all help me feel healthy. Qigong movement, kitchen dancing, gentle yoga, breathing, and walking often are important too. I try to be relaxed about my health routines, because that’s a big part of wellbeing—being friendly with ourselves, feeling comfortable in our own skins, learning how to support our best intentions in any given moment. I think about what I read once, when I was allergic to everything: “It’s better to eat pizza with friends than sprouts alone.” Now I eat pizza.

Learn more and get in touch
charmaineoakley@gmail.com
(917) 923-9812
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426 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, NY 10570