By Hunter Hine, Staff Writer
(March 23, 2023) Berlin has a new acupuncture practice coming to town.
Cynthia Kerr Salmond, DNP, CRNP, LAc, owner of Coastal Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine, said the practice will open March 28 in unit 108 of the Berlin Professional Center on Franklin Avenue.
Acupuncture is a holistic medical application where practitioners insert small metallic needles into a patient’s skin at certain acupoints, or particular spots around the body, in order to improve a patient’s Qi, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Qi is the flow of energy in a person that is responsible for their general health, so improving the flow of Qi is thought to improve patients’ health and wellness.
Salmond’s practice will focus on treating chronic illness like pain, stomach problems, neuropathy and more, she said.
While there are various styles of acupuncture, like Japanese, French and scalp acupuncture, Salmond practices Five Element acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM.
“I don’t have to use any chemicals. I don’t have to do anything beyond talking to somebody, using my diagnostic tools to come up with a diagnosis,” Salmond said. “There’s over 360 acupoints. I can create a combination of those to treat somebody. So the most exciting thing for me is that we can do something a little more naturally and patients get long lasting effects.”
Along with standard acupuncture, Coastal AIM will offer electroacupuncture, where electrodes are attached to acupuncture needles to transfer a small amount of electricity to the acupoint, according to WebMD. Salmond will also provide a treatment with patches that can be applied to a patient’s skin for electrical stimulation, she said.
“We are electrical beings,” Salmond said. “So this is another way that we can help the Qi move through the body.”
To diagnose a patient, Salmond reviews their medical history, checks what medications they are taking and gives them a physical exam.
A pulse reading helps Salmond understand a patient’s blood and Qi flow, and examining a patient’s tongue can act like a window into their internal state, she said.
“I was lucky because I come from Western medicine, so it was a little easier for me to kind of understand diagnosis and management in Chinese medicine, but it’s still a completely different arena and there were a lot of other things that I needed to learn,” Salmond said.
From these indicators, Salmond decides if acupuncture is right for a patient and, if so, chooses an acupuncture regiment that suits their needs.
Sessions last around 20-30 minutes, and patients usually return for regular appointments, Salmond said.
“When I’m treating you and your symptoms, I’m really helping a lot of other things that are going on in your body, which I hadn’t found to be true with Western medicine,” Salmond said. “Western medicine is very siloed. You have a gastroenterology doctor to take care of your stomach, your neurology doctor for your brain, a cardiologist for your heart, but they don’t always necessarily speak to one another, whereas the acupuncturist really sees the whole person and can identify things going on in different organ systems.”
Salmond will be the sole acupuncturist, but as of Monday she was onboarding two employees: a receptionist and a patient technician, who will prepare people for treatment.
With the opening date approaching, Salmond has already scheduled appointments and begun releasing advertisements.
“I’m looking forward to meeting all new people, all new patients,” Salmond said.
In her previous career, Salmond focused on pain management as a nurse practitioner in Baltimore. She worked in the Shock Trauma Center for four years and managed a team at two local community hospitals for another four.
When the opioid epidemic reared its ugly head, Salmond no longer wanted to be a part of a system that gave people medication endlessly, she said.
“So you think about symptoms like pain, chronic nausea, insomnia, those types of things, we as Western providers just want to give pills, but there are ways through acupuncture and other tools that we have, that we can offer relief from those things without needing to do something invasive or having to do with pharmaceuticals,” Salmond said.
Salmond made the shift from Western medicine to TCM because she had studied acupuncture in the past.
While achieving her doctorate in nursing practice, or DNP, Salmond wrote a thesis about how acupressure could help reduce anxiety and treat Acute Stress Disorder for orthopedic trauma patients.
Where acupuncture uses needles to stimulate acupoints on the body, acupressure uses only the touch and pressure of practitioners’ hands, according to Columbia University Department of Pediatrics.
Salmond attended Maryland University of Integrative Health in Laurel, graduating in 2021 with a masters degree in Acupuncture, and adding MAc to her qualifications.
“I chose not to do the doctorate (of acupuncture) because the curriculum was how to speak to Western practitioners. I’m already a Western practitioner, I talk to myself enough already,” Salmond said.
After acupuncture school, Salmond rented out space at East West Healing Arts in Annapolis. Her business was her own, but she shared the office with other practitioners.
A year later, Salmond heard the call of the beach, a place she’d visited every summer since she was an infant, and where she always dreamt of retiring.
Salmond originally searched for office space and housing around the Bethany and Fenwick area of Delaware, but after struggling to find a fitting space, she turned to Berlin.
“Berlin was the town that popped up with good office medical spaces, good place for me to live, and it’s such a great town. It made sense for me to land here, so I don’t regret it at all,” Salmond said. “But it really was like my gut saying maybe we should go there and I arrived and everything kind of fell into place, so I’m thrilled to be here. I’m so excited to be part of the community and meet other business owners and community members.”
Salmond’s office had no signage as of Monday, but it is in the works and she is hoping to have it by next week. Besides for some finishing touches, Salmond said that everything inside the office is set up.
“Thinking about a patient coming through the door and saying ‘I’ve had this leg pain for years, I can’t get rid of it,’ and then we do a treatment plan with them, and they’re feeling relief in some form or fashion, and they’re able to walk on the beach or the Boardwalk or play with their grandkids, whatever their hopes are,” Salmond said. “To get them through that, and to be able to arrive at a place where they say, ‘I can do one of those things,’ that’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
For more information, visit coastalaim.com, call 443-513-4639 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.