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Spotlighting Outstanding C.SMA Practitioners
Christine Marcarian — C.SMA of the Month (Sep. 2021)
Christine Marcarian, L.Ac, C.SMA
Christine Marcarian completed the SMAC program in September 2017, and is now a practicing sports acupuncturist in Cedar Grove, New Jersey.
Her experiences include working for a busy orthopedic practice in Hackensack and at St Joseph’s Hospital in New Jersey. She currently has a busy acupuncture practice, alongside her husband, serving any patient ranging from the elite athlete to the everyday individual seeking help with stress and musculoskeletal pain.
“My SMAC training gave me the tools to properly assess, diagnose and treat effectively a range of orthopedic injuries and chronic pain.
As a faculty assistant for five years at Tristate College of Acupuncture, I was trained well to treat acute pain with the treatment of trigger points and their referral patterns. I would treat chronic pain at times with good results until the problem surfaced again.
SMAC was the essential educational program that helped elevate my practice and give me the tools necessary to give patients a practical understanding about why they are sustaining a chronic condition and what I can provide, if possible, to completely heal.
SMAC excels in teaching innovative acupuncture needle techniques and movement therapies, such as PACE, to teach patients how to balance for example their hips or shoulders to keep them safe from injury. The program also incorporates manual muscle and orthopedic tests to better assess a patient’s problem and visually assess one’s posture to guide the needling protocol. It really highlights the importance of TCM and teaches practitioners how to beautifully weave in the selection of TCM points with motor points coupled with manual massage and kinesio taping when necessary.
Most recently, I used my SMAC training to treat a patient who was a mother with debilitating wrist pain; it was so bad that some days she could barely hold her baby or continue nursing. She had tried physical therapy, cortisone injections, however, none of those treatments held long-term.
On her initial visit, I used Finkelstein’s test to confirm DeQuarvains syndrome, which was positive. After carefully observing her forward head posture and elevated ilium, I gave the patient the figure four stretch and elbow press exercises to start with daily.
Given the patient’s lifestyle and lack of sleep, I diagnosed liver blood deficiency and stasis with Sp Qi deficiency and recommended Matt’s “favorite blood tonic for DeQuervains tenosynovitis,” Dang Gui Shao Yao San. Lastly, along with treating HTJ points, TCM points and involved motor points along the shoulder, needling the teres major motor point as it is the empirical point for pain along the large intestine primary meridian.
After treating this patient twice weekly for six weeks, the patient was fully functional with her wrist and reported zero pain. The SMAC program provided me with the tools to be able to give her a comprehensive treatment, effectively and efficiently and help improve her quality of life.
Using the diagnostic skills learned in SMAC help me get to the root of the problem sooner, which allows me to produce better results, gain respect from other practitioners and, in turn, that has increased the number of referrals from respected doctors in the surrounding area.
I have had the privilege to take the SMAC program in New York, Chicago and San Diego, with intermittent breaks for maternity leave and growing my family. I assisted Matt and Brian in the SMAC program most recently in person in 2019—2020 where we delve deeper into the cadaver dissections and course material. I’m so grateful for the information they share and inspired by their continual exploration in improving the SMAC program and contribution to the field of acupuncture.”