About Dr. Danchak
Intensive acupuncture treatments, seeing only one patient per hour, and running a single herb pharmacy producing custom formulas results in quicker, better, more sustainable results.
How Acupuncture Changed My Life
My experience of being introduced to acupuncture is personal. Acupuncture changed my life one summer day in Chicago in 1997. I had strained my low back lifting weights and couldn’t sleep because of the pain. I went to a Chinese acupuncturist who had a little office in an old church in Evanston. I braved two feet of black urban snow and got my first acupuncture treatment, and I simply couldn’t believe how good I felt. When I couldn’t stop babbling about what a magician my acupuncturist (Dr. Ming Jie Chiang) was, she laughed and said: “This is how you’re supposed to feel.”
I returned to St. Louis and quit my job as a film critic for the Riverfront Times, (the second-best job in the world), and have been consumed in the practice and study of Oriental Medicine since that day in 1997.
Because I was raised in Cleveland (if you’ve ever been there, enough said). Cleveland is an old rust-belt city where an unobstructed 200’ view of suburban tract homes is considered a vista. I grew up watching Westerns that all seemed to take place in Monument Valley and offered every cowpoke exotic obstacles and diversions. I saw it once in person on a family vacation from the back window of a ’68 Olds station wagon. But we weren’t allowed to get out and walk around in the desert. Because we had a schedule. Because my father was an accountant. And that’s just the way it was.
But it’s different now. I got out of the car.
After my first visit to Lake Tahoe, I ended up skittering down the Mt. Rose Highway in a snowstorm. As I hit the tree line past Montreau and Callahan Ranch the sun broke through and the sky opened. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. Two weeks later I was back with a U-Haul full of stuff and I’ve never looked back.
I am interested in providing fast and effective relief from pain, internal disorders (disease), and the harmful effects of emotional stress and anxiety. Remarkable things happen when you take the time to listen to your patients; things that don’t happen if I’m rushed for time. That is why I see only one patient per hour. The better I get to know each patient, the better I can tailor his or her treatment and herbal formula.
Given my academic and writing background, I am interested both the clinical and research aspects of Chinese medicine. When I’m not actually working with a patient, I’m researching his or her herbs and poring over his or her file to come up with more effective point combinations for their acupuncture treatment. It is this constant research that makes me a better acupuncturist and a better herbologist every day I practice.
I don’t like to have to wait for doctors or be rushed by doctors. I don’t think my patients like it either. So I don’t do it to them. My treatments reflect this philosophy. They are not rushed: you have time to be heard, your concerns noted, remembered, and dealt with.
Single Herb Pharmacy
My herbal pharmacy reflects this philosophy, too. I run a single herb pharmacy. Each herb is decocted (slow simmered) in the traditional manner to add energy to it, then it’s bottled in it’s own bottle (pre-mixed, off-the-shelf formulas have their constituent herbs decocted together and mixed together—perfect if you happen to be a textbook case, which is very rare).
I start with a traditional formula (who am I to re-invent the wheel) and measure out each herb into your formula, possibly withholding an herb or two (or reducing the quantity of an herb or two) based on your ability to tolerate them according to your differential diagnosis (which, again, is almost always a mixed pattern, not a textbook pattern). Then I add herbs that address all of your core imbalances.
I mix my own formulas in my on-site pharmacy and I know they’re right. They are also available exactly when you need them and if they need modification at some point there is little to no waste as they can almost always be modified. Running a single herb pharmacy is more labor intensive, but results in a better product.
Dr. Danchak’s Articles
Published in Galena Times