Solana Beach physician optimizes patients’ health with Chinese acupuncture
By Diane Y. Welch
East meets west in the medical practices of George Rodriguez M.D., a Solana Beach-based acupuncturist and emergency department physician at Scripps Memorial Hospital, Encinitas.
While the two may seem at opposing ends of the medical spectrum, Rodriguez has successfully blended his expertise in western healing with that of Chinese acupuncture with one goal: to optimize the health of his patients.
“Western medicine, which is what I was originally trained in, has a reductionist theory. You try to get to the least common denominator, the one thing that causes the problem, while Chinese medicine takes a whole body view — a holistic approach.”
Rodriguez, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Claremont McKenna College, received his degree in medicine from UCSD in 1980, with post graduate education completed at USC/Los AngelesMedical Center. He is board certified in emergency medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He has treated more than 100,000 patients in the emergency department.
Over this period Rodriguez developed an interest in Chinese medicine after hearing, repeatedly, the frustration of patients whose illnesses defied diagnosis using traditional western methods.
“The last thing that they had been told was that their illness was all in their head and they needed to see a psychiatrist. I thought, ‘This can’t be fact.’” To help unravel the mystery Rodriguez studied Chinese acupuncture—the placement of tiny needles into specific energy points in the body—a practice that has a 5,000-year-old track record.
He graduated from the Institute of Classical Five Element Acupuncture in Santa Monica, then in 2007 became certified by the American Board of Holistic Medicine and is a member of the American Board of Medical Acupuncturists.
The therapy is based upon Qui — pronounced “chi” an energy in the body, carried along pathways known as meridians — that maintains health and balance. The classical five element approach differs from other acupuncture as it seeks to attack a disease at a core level and to stimulate self healing.
Two years ago, Sherrie Berry-Kromis came to Rodriguez when her health was the worse it had ever been and traditional medicine had failed to help. “I felt hopeless,” she said. A friend recommended acupuncture to her but she was fearful of the needles. “But she dragged me to Dr. Rodriguez’s anyway and while he was working on me, he talked to me, he encouraged me to express myself, and offered me wisdom at the same time that he gave his treatment. It was very powerful and I immediately felt a shift, I knew it was working.”
Today Berry- Kromis continues to see Rodriguez as a preventative measure and maintains good health. In fact, acupuncture was originally used in China as preventative therapy, said Rodriguez.
“A patient saw the acupuncturist five times a year and paid him if they were healthy. If they became sick they stopped paying him because he wasn’t doing his job. It’s a different paradigm than the western approach, where you get paid to do endless tests to treat an illness.”
When Rodriguez practices emergency medicine a knowledge of acupuncture allows him to take a holistic approach to the patient. “While we may call it customer service, it’s meeting the needs of the patient, understanding that they are more than a disease process, there’s a person behind that who is affected mentally and spiritually, as well as physically,” he explained.
Because of his years of practice in western medicine Rodriguez is well versed with a lot of different illnesses. “I understand them and what western medicine may do. If need be I can write a prescription. But I also understand where the gaps are in treatment and how adjunctive Eastern therapies can fill the gaps,” he said.
Rodriguez sees a future with eastern and western medicine practiced in a hospital setting. “My idea is to integrate the two with patients seen by both holistic practitioners and physicians working together to optimize the care,”he said.
He is currently in the process of getting acupuncture privileges at Scripps Memorial Hospital, Encinitas where he served up until recently as chairman of emergency medicine, a six-year engagement. “Surgeons are talking to me about doing it pre-operatively and post-operatively for patients. Obstetricians are very interested. They realize that this is a tool that can be used.”
To find out more about Rodriguez’s acupuncture services, call him at (858) 336 2961 or email him at email@example.com. His office is located at 243 N. Highway 101, Ste. 17, Solana Beach; or visit www.doctoracupuncture.com.
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