Glide clinic to offer acupuncture, Reiki, Shiatsu and other complementary therapies to the underserv

By Maureen McInaney

Beginning Monday October 16, The Glide Health Clinic will expand its services
to include a special clinic session that will offer complementary care
therapies to the homeless and disenfranchised of San Francisco’s Tenderloin

Newly offered therapies include acupuncture, relaxation and breathing therapy,
imagery therapy, Japanese Reiki energy healing and Shiatsu therapeutic massage,
said Grace Galzagorry, RN, MS, ANP, professor in the UCSF School of Nursing
department of community health systems and director of the clinic. The new
complementary healing clinic at Glide will be open from 9 a.m. to 12 noon every
Monday and offers the care of practitioners certified in their respective
fields, said Galzagorry.

“Surveys indicate that 42 percent of the American population uses these
therapies. Because these therapies are seldom covered by insurance, they have
been largely accessed by more affluent individuals with the resources to pay
out-of-pocket expenses. Our goal is to integrate these therapies into a clinic
which serves a vulnerable population at higher risk for conditions most likely
to benefit from these therapies,” she said. “Many of the patients we see for
both mental health and primary care have not been necessarily well served by
the western medical system, and we are aiming to find a blend of services that
better suits their needs.” She explained that patients with chronic and acute
pain, high blood pressure, asthma, insomnia, gynecological complaints, chronic
disease, and mental health issues may benefit from these therapies.

Acupuncture has been an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine for more
than 2,000 years. For the acupuncturist, illness and symptoms arise when there
is either subtle or dramatic imbalance of Qi (energy). With insertion of
needles into the body at specific points, the therapy allows Qi to flow to
areas where it is deficient and away from areas where it is excessive.
Acupuncture is effective in treating a wide variety of ailments, including
chronic conditions that are not often responsive to treatment with western
medicine, said Galzagorry. It is especially useful in the treatment of
substance or alcohol abuse, she added.

Imagery therapy is an ancient healing technique that involves using the senses
to bridge the body/mind connection, she said.  Through the creation of
self-selected images, a person can communicate with the body’s physiological
processes occurring outside of conscious awareness. This technique has been
used successfully for pain and symptom relief, preparation for surgery or other
procedures, preparation for stressful life events, and insomnia.

The word Reiki is a combination of the Japanese words rei (free passage) and ki
(universal life energy). This form of therapy involves the transfer of energy
from practitioner to patient to enhance the body’s natural ability to heal
itself through the balance of energy. Reiki is used to treat acute and chronic
disease, anxiety, fatigue, depression, and other stress related symptoms.
Shiatsu, developed in Japan, is a therapeutic massage that involves applying
pressure to acupuncture points to stimulate and sedate them. Practitioners
treat the channels of the entire body to bring balance and relaxation.

“These therapies are consistent with the clinic’s core values of self-care and
empowerment. This makes them a good fit,” said Galzagorry. The Complementary
Care Clinic is made possible through a $50,000 donation from Ernst and Young in
cooperation with Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.

Glide Health Clinic is staffed by UCSF advanced practice nurses and volunteer
physicians and has been offering treatment to Tenderloin District residents
since 1998. Appointments can be made by calling 415-674-6140.