Larisa Turin, 59, a licensed acupuncturist and owner of River North’s ChicagoAcupunctureTM, sees patients every day “on whom Western medicine sort of gave up.” They hope alternative medicine will finally provide some answers.
Turin is determined to do just that.
“I treat patients under the same health conditions as Western medicine, just with a different diagnostic approach and treatment tools,” she said. “Everything you see in a doctor’s office, you’ll find in an acupuncturist’s office.”
Acupuncturists insert hair-thin, sterilized needles at specific points on the body to restore balance and health. An ancient element of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a form of natural healing used to both treat and prevent diseases. Acupuncturists treat a wide range of disorders from headaches (and other types of pain) to allergies, stress, insomnia, hot flashes, dizziness, nausea and asthma.
There are more than 800 acupuncture points on the body. Each is connected to vital organs and affects one or more specific bodily functions, Turin explained. When an acupuncturist correctly locates and stimulates the right points, this influences the processes going on in the body.
David Kato, 47, a licensed acupuncturist and owner of Lincoln Square Acupuncture, a community clinic that’s part of the cooperative People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture, said most acupuncturists work in private practice. They may own a clinic or rent a room in an established clinic. Others work in fitness centers, chiropractors’ offices and day spas, or make house calls. Cruise ships even hire acupuncturists, Kato said.
Interest is growing steadily, said Turin, who sees far more patients today than when she started in Chicago more than 14 years ago. Mainstream medicine seems to have accepted acupuncture, too. Some hospitals now have acupuncturists on staff. The integrative medicine department at Northwestern Hospital includes acupuncturists, and more doctors’ offices are hiring them, especially those offering fertility treatment, Turin said.
Candidates must first earn a bachelor’s degree, then attend acupuncture school for a master’s degree, Kato said. For those with no previous training in basic Western medical science, it takes 4-5 years to complete their schooling.
When Kato was studying at SAMRA University, Culver City, CA (2000-2004), his Asian-medicine-specific curriculum included subjects like Chinese medical diagnosis, point locations, point energetics, point prescriptions, Chinese medical terminology and needling techniques, along with chemistry, physics, biology, pharmacology, Western medical terminology, anatomy and physiology.
Acupuncturists must be licensed to practice in Illinois. The basic requirement is graduating from an accredited acupuncture college and passing a National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine exam, which Turin called an “all-day, very stressful and difficult test.”
Turin has first-time patients fill out intake forms and sign HIPPA patient privacy agreements, much as they would for a conventional physician. The first visit includes a discussion of health history and diagnostic tests. She analyzes each patient’s constitution (such as being thin or overweight) and their level of well-being and energy, including vital bodily functions.
“When I make my initial diagnosis, new patients think I’m a magician because with a trained eye, I can tell what issues (they) have just by looking at (them) and examining their (bodies),” she said. “My diagnosis is always confirmed by objective tests and medical history. The color of the face, skin and tongue, and checking the pulse tell me as much, if not more, than a blood test.” Turin also pays close attention to even small changes in a patient’s behavior, movements, posture, smell and eyes.
After making a diagnosis, Turin formulates a treatment plan. She may also recommend dietary and lifestyle changes. Relief can be immediate or take several sessions.
“I love working with patients and getting them happy,” Turin said. “The best reward for me is to see how my patients improve after my treatment, how they smile, their eyes laughing and bright, being full of energy and plans.”
Kato has also had many rewarding moments with patients. In just one treatment, he was able to eliminate shoulder pain that had bothered one patient for months. A woman who’d been given a 1 percent chance of natural conception was able to conceive within a month of starting treatment. Kato treated his own heel pain with just one needle.
“Who wouldn’t be rewarded knowing that you were instrumental in helping to speeding someone’s journey on the road to health,” he said. “And you did it with just a few needles.”
Salaries dictated by training, experience
Acupuncturists promote healing by inserting fine needles at precise points in the body and applying heat, pressure or electrical stimulation. The needles unblock channels of energy that run in patterns through the body, according to MedicalAcupuncture.org.
In addition to administering treatments, acupuncturists counsel patients about emotional and lifestyle issues that may be affecting their bodies and explain the importance of proper nutrition, exercise and stress-releasing meditation. The job often involves consulting with other medical professionals, reviewing and writing patient medical reports, and managing the practice.
Today, more acupuncturists are joining group practices that may include chiropractors and traditional medical doctors.
There are approximately 18,000 licensed acupuncturists nationwide, according to Acupuncture.com. Of those, an estimated 12,000 are actively in practice, with over half working on the East and West Coasts. Acupuncturists are considered primary-care physicians in several states, the site notes.
Salaries vary, but a licensed acupuncturist who’s been practicing for a year can expect to make an annual salary of $45,000 a year or more, according to the site. After five years, income could approach $100,000.
To practice acupuncture, candidates must graduate from an approved and/or accredited school of Oriental Medicine or Traditional Chinese Medicine. Sixty semester units or 90 quarter units of accredited college courses are required to be admitted. Students must graduate from a school approved by the licensing board in the state where the student intends to practice. Hopefuls must then pass a state licensing exam. An additional national certifying exam is required in some states. Training typically lasts 3-4 years and often includes an internship.
Graduates of accredited acupuncture schools earn a master’s degree, while non-accredited schools may offer certificates. Some schools now offer a clinical doctoral degree in Oriental Medicine, although this is not required to obtain a license.
Locally, accredited acupuncture masters degree programs are offered at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, both in Chicago, and the National University of Health Sciences in Lombard.
© 2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC
New ESCAPE FROM THE LABYRINTH
For years her patients kept asking for this. They wanted LARISA TURIN to write a book with common sense explanation of how acupuncture works – the same amazing explanation they heard during their appointments and treatments.
This is how this book was conceived. When LARISA TURIN decided to write a book about the benefits of acupuncture her greatest advantage was a skill set that spanned the annals of Western and Eastern medicines. While there may be no dearth of books that attempt to explain this 5,000-year-old discipline, none can claim a deep understanding of both philosophies. It is this crucial difference that sets her book apart.
TURIN comes from a long generational line of medical doctors, and with 30 years of combined experience in both allopathic (Western-style medicine that focuses on treating disease) and alternative modalities (Oriental medicine whose focus is disease prevention) TURIN’s book is uniquely positioned to penetrate the resistance that still plagues Westerners from seeking help and regaining optimal health.
TURIN’s book is easy to read and accessible. Written in a style that’s part memoir— touching on the years that shaped her in Soviet Russia, practicing medicine, and of following her diplomat husband to Mongolia, where she studied at the prestigious Mongolian State University—ESCAPE FROM THE LABYRINTH convinces readers that, when properly and knowledgeably applied, the two medical philosophies can and do complement one another.
Says LARISA TURIN, “Don’t get me wrong, I deeply disagree with some acupuncturists who think Oriental medicine can do anything. There are cases when Western medicine cannot be replaced…By combining the two I believe patients can enjoy much better health.”
Female readers can especially take heart. In her acupuncture practice TURIN has made it her specialty to treat women’s health issues with a depth of understanding that gynecologists who are limited to Western-style practices will find enviable. From fertility issues through menopause and natural facelifts, TURIN’s depth of knowledge will make you a believer.
In ESCAPE FROM THE LABYRINTH, TURIN’s voice is both authoritative and compassionate as she demystifies and synthesizes Eastern concepts and terms for readers, often using Western correlates that are easily understandable for readers. Additionally, you’ll learn practical advice on dieting, herbal remedies and avoiding medications such as antibiotics and more.
LARISA TURIN is a true visionary and a beacon of light. Whereas clients were once forced to make sense of it all in a field plagued with misperceptions, and criticisms leveled out of the greed of pharmaceutical and insurance companies, they now can make educated choices on matters of health.
Finally a book that offers hope to people who are looking for safe and effective treatment options! Says LARISA TURIN, “You may feel that you are journeying through an endless maze, a labyrinth with high walls and dead ends. I want to let you know that you don’t have to feel that way. There is a way out! Use the knowledge in this book to find a new path to your health that doesn’t involve countless drugs and doctor visits.”
For more information and to schedule an interview:
CONTACT: LARISA TURIN
PHONE: (312) 399-4919
For those looking to preserve or recapture their youthful appearance but aren’t ready for injections or surgery, cosmetic acupuncture might be the perfect alternative, one that brings results not only to the face but also throughout the entire body. According to Oriental medicine, the strengths and weaknesses of various internal organs are reflected in the face. For that reason, acupuncture can do double duty by addressing health issues as well as beauty concerns. “You cannot have a good face without a healthy body,” affirms Larisa Turin, OMD, acupuncturist, herbalist and owner of Chicago Acupuncture. “Any issues in the body will manifest on the face. You can’t have constipation, poor digestion or poor blood circulation and have good facial color. Everything is connected. We have to treat the whole body to see results in the face.” While the primary goal of cosmetic acupuncture may be reducing fine lines, relaxing muscles that cause deeper lines, reducing dark circles and bags under the eyes, and firming the skin, treating other health issues can help support the benefits of facial rejuvenation. By addressing organ function, stress, insomnia and other issues, acupuncture can increase a patient’s overall wellbeing, which ultimately results in healthy skin tone and color, higher energy levels, and a more youthful appearance. Cosmetic acupuncture is not a facelift; rather, it’s a course of treatments designed to bring about gradual improvement of skin condition and tone. “If a patient has sagging skin, acupuncture cannot pull it back,” Larisa says. “But cosmetic surgery cannot change the quality of the skin. If you have pale, dry skin, it will be the same. I can improve the blood circulation to bring more life to the skin.” A typical protocol calls for twice-a week treatments for approximately five weeks, but patients often notice immediate changes after the first treatment. And unlike more invasive procedures, the risk/reward ratio is low. “With acupuncture, the worst case scenario is you will have some bruises,” Larisa says. “But you’ll have a quicker recovery time and fewer complications. And, unlike Botox, you can still make expressions.”
ACUPUNCTURE FOR LIFE
Unlike Western medicine, which treats conditions only after they’ve manifested, Oriental medicine takes a proactive approach to cosmetic and general health concerns. “Oriental medicine deals with small issues when they’re just starting,” says Larisa. “It’s much easier to do it then because it hasn’t dug deep roots into the body – it’s much easier to get rid of. That’s why it’s important to start when you see early signs and symptoms.”
Clinically tested, scientifically proven, and gaining increasing acceptance by more and more Western medicine practitioners, acupuncture is offers a natural, effective way for maturing women to approach the inevitable. And thanks to its capacity to treat more than one issue at a time, not only can acupuncture achieve the goal of a healthy pregnancy or a younger look, it can also enhance a patient’s overall health and well-being.
Larisa Turin was featured on a 30 minute recorded segment about acupuncture on Univision.
Larisa Turin was featured on Univision in a program about Acupuncture and various traditional Chinese treatments. Univision did a two part report on Larisa and her downtown practice where a member of the Univision staff received a series of treatments from Larisa. The report that aired on May 9th and 10th talked about how acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions and ailments with great success.
People turn to acupuncture when Western medicine fails or to avoid the side effects from drugs. Others are simply looking for natural, more holistic treatment. Since pain responds so well to acupuncture, it’s the most common health reason people seek out this modality for backaches, migraines, arthritis and menstrual cramps. The World Health Organization (WHO) also lists asthma, colitis, drug and alcohol addiction, digestive disorders and stress, along with gynecological, obstetric and sexual problems, among the four dozen conditions treated successfully by acupuncture, either alone or in conjunction with other Eastern and Western therapies.
Some usages surprise. Considering a face lift? “Cosmetic acupuncture with herbal supplements and Chinese contouring massage is very effective as an anti-aging treatment,” says Larisa Turin, LAc, OMD, a licensed acupuncturist in Chicago. “It increases blood circulation to the skin of your face and rejuvenates it with visible results—skin regains its glowing color, small wrinkles disappear, deep ones become smoother and eyelids regain elasticity.”
How does a bunch of little needles do all this? Western science can’t fully explain how acupuncture works, nor can it prove or disprove the existence of qi. However, numerous studies have shown that inserting needles into some of the 400 acupoints located along the meridians stimulates nerves in the muscles located there. This stimulation sends electrical impulses up the spinal cord to the brain’s limbic and midbrain areas, and to the pituitary gland, all of which signal the release of chemicals such as endorphins that block pain. Another theory of how acupuncture works involves the thalamus, an area of the brain that relays pain signals. Acupuncture can increase blood flow there, altering the sensation of pain.
Gravity had become Kim Schneider’s foe. So when her son was to be married last year and she wanted to look her best, she did some research. “I’m not one to do Botox, I’m more of an alternative-medicine kind of person,” said Schneider, who works as a massage therapist and hair stylist. Still, she looked into plastic surgery. But at the consultation, she said, doctors used scare tactics to lure her under the knife.
“They tried to make me feel bad,” Schneider said. “They told me that if I wanted to do it, I had to do it now, and that [I should have plastic surgery if] I wake up every morning and hate to look in the mirror. I said, ‘Wait a minute. I don’t hate to look at myself.’ But I have been walking around for 53 years,” she said with a laugh. “So I have some sagging, especially collecting around the jaw line.”
Instead of forking over in excess of $6,000 for a “mini facelift” and confronting weeks or months of unsightly bruising and swelling, Schneider opted for a virtually risk-free natural alternative: an acupuncture facelift. She is pleased with the results. The transformation caused not so much as a blip of disruption to her daily life, and on her son’s wedding day the compliments flowed like the champagne — with no one the wiser.
However, it was a “slow process,” she said of the acupuncture facelift treatments she received from Larisa Turin, O.M.D.
The Science Behind It
Not all acupuncturists are trained to perform natural facelifts. Turin, who received her education abroad, is one of the few in Chicago to be trained in the technique. And while the results can be astounding, the real beauty behind this new breed of cosmetic therapy is that it doesn’t just zap wrinkles or tighten sags.
Traditional Chinese medicine holds that all organs are connected by meridians that evenly distribute blood and energy through our bodies. Healing occurs by restoring overall balance where there was once stasis, or inactivity of the life process. It’s said that the needles activate the flow of blood and energy into the many vessels and nerves on the face. This creates a circulatory passageway on the skin’s surface to smooth wrinkles, improve metabolism and provide nutrition to the muscles.
If you go to Turin for an acupuncture facelift, however, it’s likely she won’t talk much about your fixing droopy jowls. “It’s impossible to treat just the face, because it’s just a symptom, a mirror to what’s going on in the body. You have to work on the basics,” Turin said. “I’m not against it, but my belief is plastic surgery is visible. They will pull up the skin, but if you don’t have normal blood circulation, your face will look dull. Plastic surgery can never improve your facial appearance, give it a nice pinkish color. You’ll look lifted and that’s it.”
Many who contemplate plastic surgery are rightfully concerned about the pain of submitting to a major medical procedure. Schneider, who had weekly treatments (at $150 each) for about three months, speaks fondly of her experience with Turin. “That hour felt so luxurious,” Schneider said. “It was always such a treat because I really felt like I was taking care of myself. [Turin] talked to me about menopause and my diet, she did massage with crushed pearls and she gave me herbs.”
“You’ll start noticing a change after two or three (treatments),” Turin said. For lasting results she suggests between 10 to 12 treatments. “After that, it depends. Most of my patients have maintenance treatments every half-year to every few months.”
The Path Eastward
It’s not just her patients who have undergone a transformation in the name of acupuncture. Turin and her husband moved to America from their native Russia in 1997, with two young sons in tow, not in a calculated career move, but for love. Turin, 50, met her future husband in 1984, during her final year of medical school at the world-renowned IM Sechenov Medical Academy. He was a foreign-service student who hoped to be a diplomat. The rub was that Turin, originally from the Ukraine, is Jewish and her husband is not. As citizens of a country cloaked under a veil of anti-Semitism, she said, no one wanted to let them forget it.
“I didn’t want to marry him because he’s a brilliant man and I knew what it meant for his future,” Turin said. When he told his colleagues whom he was marrying, things became more difficult. “For him to marry a Jewish girl meant my husband’s career came to a standstill. Russia became a dead-end for us.”
Switching careers wasn’t an option for her husband. “It’s not like in this country,” Turin said. In Russia, “If you go to school for one thing, you have no choice but to do it.” So they packed up and moved to the only place Turin’s husband could find diplomatic work — the sparsely populated and largely isolated country of Mongolia.
In an accent bathed in her Slavic roots but precise in its English delivery, she said, “It was a place for losers.”
Turin continued her medical practice in Mongolia, where the couple would live for five years. Though she still believed strongly in Western medicine, what she saw there eventually changed her life’s work. “First, I was just curious,” she says. But she came to a realization. “Unfortunately, Western medicine doesn’t know everything. I got lots of cases where all the tests came out fine, but the person felt unwell.”
She enrolled in the Mongolian Institute of Traditional Medicine, where her teacher as well as the students were medical doctors. “In Europe and even China, you have to be a medical doctor to practice acupuncture because you have to be able to diagnose,” Turin said. After her formal training, she was given an apprenticeship where she learned her cosmetic skills.
After the economic reforms of perestroika were introduced, the Turins returned to Russia. The country was still in turmoil, however, and after one of her sons was nearly abducted, they moved to the U.S. Turin spoke no English at the time. By 2000, her husband had gotten his law degree and she opened her acupuncture practice, where she uses her diagnostic skills but treats from an Eastern point of view. She offers this global perspective acquired from her travels: “Eastern people take such good care of themselves when it comes to anti-aging issues. They start to work on prevention many years before.”
Time Out Chicago Article
Scratching the surface
Even among the Chinese, gua sha has a bad rap for hurting. The ancient treatment employs (mostly) round-edged tools and applies them, pumice-style, usually to the back. Gua means “to scrape” and sha is the bright-red rash that rises to the surface, the result of dispersing stagnant blood-evil chi. In western parlance, pathogens rise and are expelled. Traditions vary, but it’s believed that if conditions are caught at the onset it can be effective for anything from muscular problems to infections. Lucky you, we found a practitioner who gets results gently and effectively. Larisa Turin, 1150 N State st between Division and Elm Sts (312-399-4919, www.chicagoacupuncture.com).-RS
Chicago Magazine Article
Among would-be parents who need a little help conceiving, Chicagoans are better situated than most: Illinois is one of 14 states that require insurance companies to cover fertility treatments (although several loopholes exist, including for companies with fewer than 25 employees or with religious objections, such as Loyola University).
This is good news for local parents, since in Chicago, the average fertility treatment can range from $500 for pills to $12,000 for in vitro fertilization. That is about 10 to 20 percent more than for comparable treatments on the West or East Coast, where an abundance of HMOs drives the cost down, says Dr. Joel Brasch, medical director of Advanced Reproductive Health Centers/Chicago IVF. Annually, aspiring parents in the greater Chicago area (which includes metro Chicago, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northwest Indiana, and southern Michigan) spend $100 million on fertility treatments, out of $2 billion spent nationally, according to Brasch.
Of course, potential parents could consider some less expensive alternatives first, such as over-the-counter ovulation tests; these cost about $50 for a pack of two. Acupuncture is another option. Larisa Turin, a licensed practitioner who owns ChicagoAcupuncture in the Gold Coast and in Northbrook, claims to have a 65 to 75 percent success rate. Turin says in her experience a two-month regimen, for which she charges about $1,700, is the average time it takes for conception