Frisco acupuncturist Kevin Waldron starts own practice
For the last nine years, Kevin Waldron was the acupuncturist with Chiropractic Health and Acupuncture in Frisco.
Working as an adjunct there, he said, allowed him to focus on the medicine and not worry about the business side in the early years of his practice.
Recently, though, Waldron started his own practice, Colorado Restorative Acupuncture, inside the Frisco Mall. He began seeing clients there in early October.
“I just wanted the freedom more than anything,” said the 42-year-old Silverthorne resident.
He’ll now spend more time incorporating other aspects of his background in traditional Chinese medicine — like bodywork and herbal encapsulations, tinctures and salves — and he’ll spend less time hassling with insurance companies.
A NEW BUSINESS MODEL
When a patient visits Waldron for treatment, he or she pays at that time. Then if the patient’s health plan covers his services — most don’t — he provides a receipt to show the insurance company for reimbursement.
Many health care providers, including those who practice Western medicine, are moving in that direction, he said.
“I put the responsibility on the patient,” Waldron said, which reduces patient costs because he doesn’t spend time trying to get insurance reimbursements.
Plus paying out of pocket, “really empowers people to be a part of their health,” he said. “I’m not looking for people to become dependent on me just like they would a pill.”
What he charges varies based on an individual’s ability to pay and the treatment plan he and the patient agree would be best. Waldron said he will accept cards from the Summit Community Care Clinic.
INSPIRED BY INTERACTION
Originally from Julesberg, a small town on the eastern plains near Colorado’s northern border with Nebraska, Waldron earned undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry from the University of Northern Colorado.
He planned to attend medical school, but he took a break from school for a while and worked for five years as a wildland firefighter based first in the Red Feather Ranger District near Fort Collins and then at Rocky Mountain National Park with the Alpine Hotshots.
When he left firefighting and moved to Boulder, Waldron started dating the woman who would become his wife. She beamed about the benefits of her acupuncture treatments, and Waldron, who had dabbled in Eastern philosophies in college, was curious.
“I’ll go see what this voodoo is about,” he said.
He was immediately impressed by the interaction between his then-girlfriend and the acupuncturist, who took his time listening to his patient and treated her with compassion.
“That’s why I consider it to be real medicine,” said Waldron, who during his firefighting years worked in hospitals where the culture didn’t prioritize time for interacting with patients and understanding how they interact in their environments.
While living in Boulder, he did government-contracted research on purifying water and creating paper with microorganisms instead of chemicals. Waldron was seriously considering attending medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico, and dreaming of Doctors Without Borders.
But within a month of witnessing the acupuncturist’s session with his girlfriend, he applied to Bastyr University in Seattle. Soon he was accepted and started the three and a half year master’s program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine.
There he learned medical Chinese and studied ancient texts.
EAST MEETS WEST
During a three-month internal medicine internship at a hospital and medical school in Shanghai, China, Waldron asked about why the techniques work. The Chinese practitioners shied away from the question in favor of focusing on its predictable, reproducible results, he said.
Because traditional Chinese medicine practices date back more than 2,000 years, much of the documentation and early knowledge about why practitioners do what they do have been lost.
The way he understands it, the needles bring the body into the energetic balance that it’s naturally inclined toward and increases a person’s awareness about his or her body.
“Most people think acupuncture is for aches and pains,” he said, and it can stimulate the body to release natural painkillers. However, the practice benefits people in other ways. “It’s putting the body in the best possible environment to heal.”
Traditional Chinese medicine involves learning about people’s diets, habits and overall lifestyle to help them become more involved in their health, he said. “That’s what facilitates true healing.”
Waldron’s science background and internal medicine training helps him to treat digestive, gynecological and neurological problems with Eastern techniques and to know when to refer patients to doctors in cases of emergencies, like stomach pains he suspects are appendicitis.
“I don’t want to be considered the alternative. I want to be considered the collaborative,” he said.
He said he loves problem-solving the complex health reasons that bring people to him and witnessing the moment when his patients realize they’re in control of their health and they can improve it.
“It’s pretty amazing to have a front-row seat to somebody’s personal health evolution,” he said.
For more information about Waldron and Colorado Restorative Acupuncture, visit friscoacu.com or call (970) 389-8668.
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