An interview with Dr. Theodore (Ted) Treantafelles, L. Ac, D.A.C.M.
L. Ac. = Licensed Acupuncturist, a practitioner has had at least 650 hours of supervised clinical experience.
D.A.C.M. = The Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) is a new first professional doctoral degree in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM).
ACNJ: What inspired you to become an acupuncturist?
My journey to this point in my life began in college. I chose to study and major in biology focusing on ecology, behavior, and evolution because I loved learning about it. As I neared my senior year, though, I found I was dreading the upcoming requirement to travel to Costa Rica to choose a topic of research on a plant or animal and to ultimately write a research paper. This should have been a dream: going to a vacation destination to do research on everything I had been learning. I kept mulling it over in my head and realized that there were two facets of biology that I loved, but neither alone was really stirred my passion. I loved studying nature, but straight research was not appealing; I was intrigued by most of the aspects of medicine, but the ideology and practice of western medicine was a turn-off.
Traditional Oriental Medicine was in the back of my mind, but I really knew nothing about it. I went to a counselor for guidance, but was immediately steered away from pursuing it. I was told if I didn't know what I wanted then maybe I should just find a relaxed job and find meaning in my life outside of work. I didn't know where to proceed, so I ended up collecting my diploma and getting a job in administration hoping I would eventually discover something about which I felt passionate.
And as fate would have it, some years ago a former co-worker who had moved home to Ventura, CA told me that she was taking kung fu lessons from someone who had provided martial arts expertise for artists on an anime show I loved. She invited me up to Ventura one Saturday to sit in on a class. I ended up loving the class, the people, and the exercise and started attending class every Saturday with my partner. The class was mostly focused on weapons work, but eventually expanded to include qi gong (chee-gong), which has done wonders for me personally. Soon after, we started learning about first aid acupressure, which our Sifu (instructor) mentioned we would probably have a use for far more often than kung fu in our daily lives.
He was right; soon after I had already used it to help more than a couple family members with some pain issues. One day, I helped my supervisor by showing her a few points she could use for some leg pain she was having. A couple days later, I had one of those light bulb over my head moments. I really enjoyed having this knowledge and being able to use it to help those around me. And at that thought, it all just sort of fell into place in my head. I was bored with the work I did, I really didn't feel I was contributing enough. I would be able to use all of the things I felt were my strong points such as my critical eye and my empathy. I could finally bring my degree and love of nature and biology to bear.
ACNJ: What keeps you inspired working with acupuncture patients?
Knowing what it’s like to be sick. There’s a saying I like… a person who is well has a million wishes; a person who is sick has only one. It means a lot to be able to put people back on the path to having dreams again. My service to others helps them to be of service to others. That was the whole purpose behind switching careers…to do something that could be of the greatest benefit to society.
ACNJ: Which specialty areas do you focus on now in your practice?
- Auto-immune Diseases
- LGBTQI health
- Qi Gong
- Tuina Massage
- Herbal Medicine
ACNJ: Do you have a favorite patient healing story?
I worked with a woman in her 80s, who had been seeing many other acupuncturists for knee pain with no results. One even told her that maybe acupuncture wouldn’t be able to help her. After one treatment with me, incorporating e-stim (electric stimulation) with my acupuncture, she felt much better and felt no pain. She literally danced up and down the halls before checking out.
ACNJ: What are you excited for in working with the ACNJ team?
Dr. Peter Kadar sought me out after speaking with a colleague of mine who recommended me. I feel that joining the Acupuncture Center of NJ is a great next step for me. It allows me to start helping people immediately in the Morristown area. Its long history in the community lends a lot of weight. When trying to convince people to set aside their preconceptions and fears and take that next step, that history can really help them be healthier... for the rest of their lives.
ACNJ: What are you excited for?
I’m excited to gain even more experience working with such a talented stable of acupuncturists. With such a friendly environment of other professionals all with different styles, I'm really looking forward to honing my treatments with best practices from all disciplines.
Thanks to Dr. Ted for sharing more about his personal experience and passions in working with patients at ACNJ. We are excited to have him join our diverse practitioner team and please offer a warm ACNJ welcome to him at the office!