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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Black Rock Holistic Center: Community Spotlight

Mar 29, 2018 03:29AM ● By Nicole Miale

Kristine DeMarco in China

Kristine DeMarco, DC, MS, owner and founder of the Black Rock Holistic Health Center, has practiced holistic healing in Fairfield for more than 17 years. Her goal and mission has been to integrate chiropractic, acupuncture, nutrition, physical therapy and homeopathy to provide patients with the highest degree of success in treating their acute and chronic pain. A lifelong student, she has been teaching and learning along the way, and in the past few years, has been developing her passionate interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). 

“TCM is gentle and logical,” she explains. “It just makes sense to me. And I’m excited because now I’m able to offer my patients a combination of chiropractic and TCM to relieve their pain.”

She has been practicing acupuncture for many years, but furthered her study by finishing a master of science in acupuncture and acquired new skills via two recent trips to China’s foremost TCM teaching hospital. During each trip she spent her time doing rotations in the hospital setting and in outpatient clinics. DeMarco’s most recent trip, in early July 2017, was made possible because she was the 2017 recipient of the University of Bridgeport Acupuncture Institute China Scholarship Award for her outstanding research paper in the field of acupuncture. She attended the Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Shenyang, China for two weeks.

“It was such a great opportunity to learn TCM from a Chinese medicine school in China,” she says. “There is just no other way I can think of to get that level of education. It’s a very different education there; there’s a lot more doing.”

To earn the scholarship, DeMarco had to research and submit a paper; her topic of choice was the use of a particular acupuncture technique called “needle knife” in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. This is a fairly new technique in China and still quite uncommon in the U.S. There is one other practitioner in the Northeast who practices this technique; he is in New York City.  

“Needle knife is specifically for fascia release,” DeMarco explains. “The flat needle releases and breaks adhesions which commonly form in connective tissue. These adhesions prevent the release of the tissue, so needling them with these special needles breaks up fascia and allows for decrease in pain and increase in movement.”

She was thrilled to be awarded the scholarship and have the opportunity to study at one of the world’s leading TCM institutions. “It was just amazing to be able to actually learn the technique I had just studied and written an in-depth paper about,” she says. “I couldn’t have learned it in the U.S.”

Another TCM technique that DeMarco now uses frequently in combination with chiropractic care is cupping and wet cupping. “Even though it’s a very old technique, it’s not used much around here,” she says. “Other countries have been using it for years with good results. And it definitely seems to be helping my patients’ pain levels.”

Cupping is based on the TCM principle that physical pain is often caused by blood stagnation.  Cupping draws the blood to the surface and breaks the stagnation.  Wet cupping, the technique DeMarco favors, actually involves using a lancet to remove the pooled blood that has accumulated when the cups are placed. One patient recently treated by DeMarco said the wet cupping procedure had reduced his back pain to four from an original pain level of eight after just one treatment. 

“We’re complex beings,” DeMarco says, “and people don’t always respond to one technique or another. It has been very helpful to add these new TCM techniques to my practice. People are getting better faster and that is always the objective.”

On May 1, DeMarco will begin another chapter in the Black Rock Holistic Center story when the practice will move from its current location to an office in Black Rock. She has been on King’s Highway for 15 years but had the opportunity to relocate the practice a bit closer to home and is excited about the new possibilities. 

For more information, call 203-333-6544 or visit The new office location as of May 1 will be 4 Calderwood Ct, Black Rock. 

Nicole Miale is Publisher of Natural Awakenings Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley. She resides in New Milford with her family. 

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