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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Dr. Jennifer Kegel: Inviting the Community to Share in an Integral Approach to Wellness

Jan 02, 2016 08:17AM ● By Gisele Siebold

An encounter with the book Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and subsequent training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, changed Jennifer Kegel’s perspective on health and wellness, and led her to a new life path. A medical doctor who has practiced diagnostic radiology for 18 years, Kegel became interested in integrative medicine following a personal diagnosis of breast cancer. Through four breast surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, it became clear to her that there was more to health and wellness than what was taught in medical school.

Interested in integrative medicine and the link amongst mind, body and spirit for true healing, Kegel started an Integrative Medicine program for cancer patients that blended complementary treatments—such as yoga, nutritional counseling and meditation—with conventional medicine. She also wrote articles for a medical journal about integrative medicine and its effects on healing.

Her positive, personal experience with acupuncture, coupled with an interest to personally interact with patients beyond sharing medical image diagnoses, motivated her to research acupuncture training programs for medical doctors. After completing training in medical acupuncture at Harvard Medical School, she opened Lancaster Medical Acupuncture in July 2014, with the mission of helping patients tap into their bodies’ innate ability to heal.

Kegel practices a Japanese style of acupuncture, known as Palpation-Based Structural Acupuncture, which uses smaller, 0.16- to 0.20-mm needles, and places emphasis on touch before needle placement. The patient is an integral participant during treatments. Kegel uses palpation, or touch, to determine areas of pain or tightness. Using acupressure and the patient’s guidance, she will find the acupoints that release the pain or tightness, and place a needle in the exact location and angle where the acupressure was applied. The number of sessions are determined according to individualized needs, with the goal to enhance wellness and resolve the ailment in as few sessions as possible. “It is immensely satisfying to hear a patient say, ‘I feel so much better,’” shares Kegel.

An initial visit lets the doctor and patient become familiar with one another, and includes a conversation to gauge the physical and mental well-being—as well as complaints and needs—of the patient. Kegel’s sincere and thorough evaluations incorporate whole health. Nutritional counseling for vibrant well-being, and yoga for strengthening the connection between mind and body, may complement the acupuncture sessions of a recommended treatment plan. As a certified yoga instructor, Kegel offers private instruction and small group classes.

Acupuncture supports the body, and is helpful for anxiety, depression and infertility. According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture has been proven to be an effective treatment for addictions, allergies, headaches, osteoarthritis, post-operative pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and high blood pressure. Six particular benefits of acupuncture include: stress relief, an increased sense of peacefulness and well-being, clear thinking, anxiety relief, increased relaxation and restful sleep.

Personal wellness inspires Kegel to share and create greater community awareness of alternative treatments that complement traditional Western Medicine. “It is my hope that I can influence physicians, as well as members of the community, to become aware of treatments and services that are available beyond medical intervention,” she says. “I believe there is a large population of people in Lancaster County who would benefit from receiving acupuncture treatments. Working together with physicians to educate about complementary medicine—and then to receive recommendations from physicians for patients who are interested in acupuncture as an alternative treatment—is a personal goal of mine, and one I know can be attained.” 

Cost: $140/diagnostic evaluation and initial treatment; $90/subsequent treatments. Location: 90 Good Dr., Ste. 201, Lancaster. For more information, call 717-575-9816, email [email protected] or visit LancasterMedicalAcupuncture.com.

Gisele Siebold is a contributing writer to Natural Awakenings, Lancaster-Berks edition. Connect with her at [email protected]

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