“Honestly, is that normal?”

During the intake process on an initial acupuncture visit, the word normal is used many times by a patient. I thought to myself one day, what is “normal” and looked up the definition. On many websites, both noun and verb descriptions sound so negative. If you look up the word normal, you will see definitions such “not abnormal”, “average in psychological trait”, “free from infection or disease or malformation”.

With this in mind, I try to have a patient change their mind set and use words like regular, routine or common. So when a patient uses the word normal, I get into a deeper discussion. For example, a patient may say they have challenges with their sleep schedule which is “normally from 2am to 11am.” You may be thinking wow this patient should go to bed at 10pm to get better sleep. However, there are individuals who are musicians or work 12 hours shifts and rotate, like police officers so they can not go to bed every night the same time or at 10pm. This does not mean they are not “normal”, it simply demonstrates their “regular sleep cycle” is a different time than your sleep schedule.

This is what I love about acupuncture and the theory behind a treatment plan. The elite group of patients I work with have taught me a lot. I can have five patients with low back pain and all five patients may have different treatment plans based on their answers to the intake questions.

Back to the original question, “Honestly, is that normal?” The answer is absolutely! People come from different countries, states, backgrounds… jobs, no jobs, have kids, no kids, pets, no pets but when we are together we all have one common goal, to be healthy. You are unique in your own way so essentially no one fits the description of “normal”. Next time you hear the word, “normal” or use it, try to think of a more positive word replacement.

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month!

Many children who are sent to the doctor by a school scoliosis screening program have very mild spinal curves. However, when intervention is needed, the pediatrician may send the child to an orthopedic spine specialist. Specialist treatment options may include observation, bracing or surgery.

I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 12. I had a curve that was considered an “S” curve since the spine starts to form the shape of an “S”. The pediatrician sent me for X-rays and referred me to a Scoliosis Specialist named Dr. Hugo Keim. I had x-rays taken every few months to monitor my curve. Originally I was not considered an operative case but my curve had progressed 13 degrees in one month. The specialist recommended surgery to correct the curve and stop it from worsening while I was still growing.

Many surgical techniques can be used to correct the curves of scoliosis. The main surgical procedure is stabilization, by fusion of the curve. My surgery was many years ago and I had to be in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for 3 weeks. In my case, I had a 9 inch Harrington rod that is no thicker than a pen. The rod fused to my thoracic vertebrae and stops at the first lumbar vertebrae. After surgery, I had to wear a fiber glass trunk cast for 8 months.

The cast was cumbersome, hot and drove me crazy since I was a very active child. I would frequently just put on my bathing suit pants and wear the cast since it fully covered my trunk. The two facts that bothered me about having the surgery was, I was no longer going to be able to do back hand springs and Dr. Keim said one of my restrictions in the future was I could not jump out of an airplane.

Even though my spine is fused, one of my hips is slightly higher than the other, one shoulder blade protrudes more than the other and the right side of my ribs extend higher than the left. I am extremely grateful that I was able to stop my curve from progressing. Moderate to severe scoliosis can be really debilitating and really painful, not to mention dangerous to lungs and the heart. I am able to remain very active in life and control my back pain with proper body mechanics and monitoring movements that increase back pain. When I do encounter back pain, acupuncture is my saving grace!

Thankfully, many years later, surgical procedures are now less invasive with faster recovery times. It’s important to have an early diagnosis and there are a number of different resources for education like “Catch the Curve”,  which is a scoliosis video for young people. To learn more, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQmBIhnHnAE .

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

Do you have a special day that you are preparing for? Do you just want to look your best? Facial rejuvenation acupuncture may be right for you!

This unique specialization in acupuncture may be relevant for any individual with fine lines, deep wrinkles, bags under the eyes, sagging in the face or eyelids, double chin, large pores, irregular skin tones. Facial rejuvenation treatments may erase years from the face, with results apparent after just a few treatments. Fine lines may be entirely eliminated and deeper wrinkles diminished. Bags under the eyes may be reduced, jowls firmed, puffiness eliminated, droopy eyelids lifted and double chins minimized. Also with an increased local circulation of blood to the face, firmer skin and muscle tone, tightening of enlarged pores, brightening of the eyes, improved hormonal balance to help acne, will mostly likely occur.

Once a patient has their initial consult, there are specific acupuncture points that are stimulated depending on the area of the face that needs attention. The treatment goal is to focus on the face while simultaneously treating possible underlying factors that may contribute to the aging process. In summary, along with facial points, the treatment also focuses on the “inner beauty”. The very small and thin needles, are inserted in the face, ears, feet, legs, neck, hands, and trunk. Points are chosen to manipulate the movement of energy in the body according to the individual’s needs.

A course of treatment usually consists of 12 sessions. The effects may become most noticeable and lasting on or around the seventh session. Each patient responds differently, depending on their condition as well as lifestyle prior to and during the treatment sessions. Following the initial course of 12 treatments, maintenance sessions may prolong the results. In addition to Facial Rejuvenation acupuncture, other factors such as facial self massage, acupressure, exercises for the face, and a healthy diet may also enhance the longevity of the treatments.

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is contraindicated for patients with migraines headaches, some cardiovascular disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, or for individuals who have a problem with bleeding or bruising. Facial rejuvenation acupuncture should not be administered during other types of cosmetic procedures, like Botox, during pregnancy, a cold or flu, acute allergy, or if experiencing an acute herpes outbreak.

For more information, visit http://www.eliteacupuncture.net or to schedule an appointment, call 201-661-0595.


Elite Acupuncture is located in the Vanguard Surgical Center Building at 113 Essex Street, Suite 203 in Maywood, NJ.


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated in ancient China and has evolved over thousands of years.  In the United States, people use TCM primarily as a complementary health approach. Acupuncture is presently considered an alternative or complementary form of medical treatment. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states there have been extensive studies conducted on acupuncture, especially for back and neck pain, osteoarthritis/knee pain, and headache. However, researchers are only beginning to understand whether acupuncture can be helpful for various health conditions. Acupuncture is a safe, painless alternative for treating a wide range of conditions.


Carleen Implicito is a licensed acupuncturist in New Jersey and New York. She completed a graduate degree in acupuncture at the Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine in Montclair, New Jersey.  Her education at the Eastern School has made her understand that not only does acupuncture treat modern day ailments or injuries, it also enhances recuperative power, immunity, mental and emotional balance. Acupuncture addresses the root of the disease as well as the symptoms. Health is achieved, and disease prevented, by maintaining the body in a balanced state. The mind and body are not viewed separately, but as part of an energetic system.

Carleen’s passion lies in educating and empowering patients about their health.  She believes that providing patients with knowledge about their health issues and lifestyle choices aids in achieving better health and overall well-being. With an undergraduate degree in Athletic Training, from Purdue University, Carleen has worked with athletic injuries in various sports. She specialized in orthopedics, sports medicine and musculoskeletal injuries. Her background in Athletic Training has given her an extensive understanding of anatomy and physiology. Carleen’s goal is to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western medical treatments and to further enhance the communities’ education in East/West therapies.

Flexible scheduling appointments available upon request by calling 201-661-0595.

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