|Laura Zito introduce cuidadosamente la fina aguja de acupuntrura a Bruce Tessier, quien considera a Zito como una de las mejores acupunturistas que haya conocido por ayudario con su dolor de espalda
MELBOURNE – Laura Vasallo Zito holds the needle in her right hand.
The long steel tip is whisper thin, about the size of four strands of hair woven together.
With nimble fingers and the lightest touch, she gently glides the needle into Bruce Tessler’s bare, lower back.
Within seconds, she eases in three more. Tessler, stretched out and face down on a treatment bed, doesn’t seem to notice.
“Most people are afraid of acupuncture, but you barely feel the needles at all,” said Tessler, 52, of Palm Bay, who has been coming to Zito for a little more than a year to treat a reoccurring back problem.
He said that acupuncture – the ancient Chinese art of using sterile, non-toxic needles to promote bodily healing, ease pain and to curb cravings from smoking to overeating – has helped alleviate his back pain.
Tessler also lauds Zito as one of the best acupuncturists he’s ever seen.
“I’ve been going to acupuncturists for five years. I’ve been treated by a woman from San Francisco with over 30 years of experience from the Chinese mainland. Laura is just as good,” he said.
Tessler is just one of many Brevard County residents who are finding out just how good Zito’s passion and expertise for eastern healing therapies can be for health.
“My goal is to help people to have a better quality of life,” said Zito, a board-certified acupuncture physician, licensed massage therapist and owner of Natural Approach Acupuncture and Massage Center.
The center opened in 2004 in the office plaza at the southwest corner of Dairy Road and Hibiscus Boulevard. It offers acupuncture, acupressure, Korean hand massages, Bach flower essence remedies, therapeutic massage and deep tissue massage for clients.
Additionally, Natural Approach boasts a wide selection of holistic products for sale, all designed to promote healthy living.
Zito was born in Cuba and her family came to the U.S. when she was 8 years old, settling in Miami. She got her work ethic and compassion from her parents, her father worked delivering auto parts while her mother worked in a sewing factory.
She and her twin brother, Miguel, were the first in the family to go to college. More than seven years ago, she received a masters-level degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine from the Acupuncture and Massage College. The college, located in Miami, is the oldest acupuncture school in Florida.
Now Zito provides healing for people of all ages.
More than 70 patients, including some that come once a year from New York and California, regularly visit Natural Approach for relief from a variety of issues ailments, including addiction, anxiety, asthma, depression, fatigue, emotional problems, incontinence, reproductive problems and other physical problems.
The center offers clients the relaxing calm of clean, visually pleasing treatment rooms.
Here, the lights are dim, while soul-soothing music ranging from Native American tones to the harmony of a string quartet playing Mozart n the background.
Each treatment bed is draped in soft, cottony sheets.
“There are no paper sheets on our beds. We use real sheets and all of our beds are heated so it’s very relaxing. We like for our patients to feel at home,” Zito said.
New patients get a brief history in the healing powers of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, with Zito explaining that every human being has energy pathways, also known as meridians, which cover every system in the body.
“The idea is to have them flow free at all times. If the pathways become blocked, that’s when the problems begin. The problems could be mental, emotional or physical,” she said.
The problem is the body’s way of telling a person that something is wrong.
“People typically mask their pain with medication but the problem still exists. The goal of acupuncture is to figure out which pathway is blocked. The needle helps to open up the pathway so that you are removing the root of the problem and the body regains the ability to heal itself,” Zito said.
Acupuncture has been practiced in the United States for over 200 years, according to the National Institutes of Health. Over 8 million Americans have turned to acupuncture, attesting to the FDA-approved treatment’s positive results in aiding health and bolstering the immune system.
Amy Newcomer, an office manager, is one of them.
Before meeting Zito, she suffered from crippling migraines. It got to the point where the former childcare teacher was suffering from the headaches every week for four years.
Traditional doctors failed to help.
“I loved teaching but the migraines got to the point where I wasn’t feeling like myself anymore. (Laura) convinced me that acupuncture would help with my migraines. I didn’t believe her at first, but after being migraine-free for a couple of weeks, I became a believer,” she said.
Newcomer’s been migraine-free for two years and is currently studying to become a licensed massage therapist.
“Laura has enlightened me so much on natural healing and natural medicine,” she said.
Zito said Amy’s treatment included acupuncture, some diet changes and Chinese herbs.
“Every patient receives individualized care,” she said.
“Some people respond quickly or a little slower but you will see results if you stick with the treatment.”