Acupuncturists Emily Cronin and Thomas McCarty provide free monthly sessions to Bastion residents
Opening our minds to new possibilities requires seeing results. That’s what happened to two local acupuncturists who now bring their knowledge and expertise to the Bastion community on a monthly basis, free of charge.
Thomas McCarty, owner of Tree of Life Acupuncture, first became passionate about helping others from watching his own mother navigate illness. He learned how to cook her a Japanese macrobiotic diet, which led to his interest in herbalism and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The tools of this practice treat the mind and body as one, a perspective that can be particularly helpful to veterans navigating both physical and mental injuries. Acupuncture can be part of this approach, serving as a powerful grounding method, and providing an immediate therapeutic effect.
“Bringing the mind into the present is a very therapeutic thing for people who may be haunted by experiences overseas or at home, wherever that might be, or whose pain may be magnified by memories,” McCarty said.
McCarty provides acupuncture to Bastion’s veterans alongside Emily Cronin, who also became passionate about the practice through early life experiences. After witnessing how acupuncture helped her mother, Cronin was drawn to the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine as a holistic way of healing.
“I thought that it was an affordable way of helping people feel better, and mitigating the excessive use of painkillers,” Cronin said. “And I just thought that in this country, that these could be great ways to help yourself and help people you love too.”
Bastion resident Susan Lutz agrees. She frequently takes advantage of the free sessions and has felt the benefits.
“I've had circulatory problems for the last few years,” said Lutz. “For example, my arms frequently fall asleep. I always feel a little better after an acupuncture session and I don't experience circulatory issues for a few days. “
McCarty and Cronin never select acupoints in advance. A session starts with questioning and identifying patterns to establish a treatment plan. This can involve targeting specific bodily networks, or checking for skin changes like tension, temperature, or tenderness before inserting needles at strategic points to relieve symptoms and correct patterns of imbalance.
“There's like a field of right answers,” Cronin said. “And then within that, you have different avenues that will get you to your end goal faster, or more directly.”
McCarty says that working with veterans at Bastion disproved his preconceived notions about the kinds of challenges veterans live with and has made him more aware of the way in which smaller wear and tear injuries can develop into major issues.
“Just individually, there's people who have such interesting stories, what they've been through and what they're into, and what they're building in their lives,” McCarty said. “And then as a community, it's just an incredible community…it's going to be the model for other places around the country.”
At Bastion, we rely on a wide variety of tools to support the healing and wellbeing of our veterans. Thanks to the skills and generosity of these two local acupuncturists, Bastion is able to offer monthly community acupuncture to our residents, completely free of cost.