Kevin Menard is an acupuncturist based in Sag Harbor, New York, where he began practicing in 2012.
A versatile and multi-dimensional healer, Kevin offers services in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Trigger Point Acupuncture (also known as dry needling), Japanese Meridian Styles treatments, cupping, and several other unique holistic modalities.
He also offers sports medicine services, and works with local teens and young adults to combat stress and anxiety.
Additionally, Kevin conducts outreach to remote areas of Guatemala working with The Global Healthworks Foundation.
Kevin also launched a line of supplements called Dragon Hemp, which combines CBD with Chinese herbs and can be viewed here.
Recently, he sat down for an interview with AltHealthWorks.com to talk about how he got into acupuncture, the difference between dry needling and regular acupuncture, what he would say to potential clients who are scared of needles, and much more.
It was a great pleasure to publish this interview because I am a huge fan of acupuncture, and enjoyed two sessions recently near me in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
My personal favorite benefits are stress relief, weight loss, the reduction of water weight and so much more.
Without further ado, here is the interview. Special thanks to Kevin for joining us on this one!
Q: Can you talk about how you got into acupuncture personally, and what type of benefits did you receive after trying it for the first time, and doing it consistently?
KM: My career path in Chinese medicine actually began when I was young growing up in the bayou country of Louisiana where I was exposed to more alternative medicine and healing. My mindset regarding pain and discomfort was to pursue treatments that were non-pharmaceutical.
If I was in pain, then there was a root cause, and medicine to address the symptoms was not the best treatment.
Through my younger years, I had a spiritual yearning that introduced me to Siddha yoga, Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, energy healing through the Ancient Incan prism…I was a searcher and eager student.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine were very intriguing to me as I also practiced various forms of martial arts through the years.
In the late 1990’s, I was working around the clock in digital media, training for triathlons, and burning the candle at all ends, when I decided to try acupuncture for a shoulder strain.
I was lucky to be introduced to a very talented healer in New York, Abdi Assadi, and had a profound experience from my first treatment.
The feeling of electricity coursing through my body, which I later discovered was “Qi” was profound, and I felt incredibly energized, balanced, and calm…and my shoulder felt remarkably better!
I continued with my acupuncture treatments quite regularly, and over time developed a healthy curiosity of Chinese Medicine Theory.
In addition to Abdi, I developed a solid Rolodex of talented practitioners in New York City and became a strong advocate of acupuncture to any of my friends, colleagues, and family that were in discomfort.
After the economic collapse of 2008, my executive position in digital media was eliminated and I was at a crossroads: continue working in media sales, or transition to the health & wellness space which was really calling to me as I was doing lots of volunteer work at the time.
As a salesperson and executive, though I enjoyed closing multi-million dollar deals, my greatest satisfaction had now become helping people get better.
When it came down to which direction in health & wellness I should embark, that answer was easy as Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine was something that I believed in 100%, and I felt I could make a difference in people’s lives as it had with me.
With that I enrolled in graduate school for Acupuncture and never looked back.
Q: Can you please tell me the difference between Dry Needling and other forms of acupuncture?
I am not familiar with it as a term, although it sounds similar to the type I’ve done!
KM: “Dry Needling” is an acupuncture technique coined by physical therapists, since many PT’s are not allowed within their scope of practice to insert needles.
Acupuncturists refer to this technique as “trigger point release. ”
Dry Needling/Trigger Point Release is the use of acupuncture needles to release trigger points, or knots, in muscle tissue allowing for management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.
It is highly effective in resolving muscle knots and tension, which is why PT’s want to make it a part of their treatments.
There is a really big turf war between PTs (physical therapists) and LAc’s (licensed acupuncturists) due to this. My mindset is that if PTs are properly trained how and where to needle effectively, and can help a patient recover, than it serves the goal of medicine which encompasses the relief of pain and suffering
Q: What differentiates your approach in terms of Sports Medicine Acupuncture from traditional acupuncture that you would get at a traditional place or perhaps even a community acupuncture center?
KM: Sports Medicine Acupuncture is an advanced orthopedic approach to acupuncture that integrates both Eastern and Western therapies to more effectively address many sports and orthopedic injuries.
Diagnostics include advanced manual muscle testing and postural assessments to better differentiate type of injury, and advanced treatment that includes needling motor points, trigger points, and precise orthopedic muscular techniques, in addition to Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture point protocols.
Q: You said you’ve worked with teens and young adults to combat stress. Have you administered your techniques in schools before? How do these kids and young adults tend to react after trying acupuncture for the first time?
KM: A few years ago during the height of the opioid crisis, there was a significant uptick in my area of students committing suicide and hurting themselves.
There was lots of pain in the community, and need for creating better coping skills for our youth.
Given acupuncture is noted for reducing stress and anxiety, I created a teen clinic, free of charge, for all young adults, which became well attended producing great results.
The treatment was “community clinic” style where I had multiple lounge chairs in one room. I did a basic, non-invasive (didn’t ask too many deep emotional questions) intake with each teen patient to determine how stress and anxiety manifested in their bodies.
Next, they leaned back into a comfy lounge chair receiving a needle protocol designed to calm their nervous system and activate their immune system.
They were also given headphones with binaural music, an audio technology designed to balance the hemispheres of the brain causing the listener to fall into a forced Delta state of meditation and chill.
My goal was to give them a 15 minute break from their negative thought patterns and hopefully feel a sense of optimism.
Each week we discussed additional coping mechanisms depending on their need state, such as meditation, exercise, proper diet, etc.
Q: What would you say to someone who is scared of needles but wants to try acupuncture?
KM: Acupuncture is a painless, yet can have a profound effect on the body. I describe how it works and what they can expect to feel, then insert the needles very gently with little to no stimulation, checking in with the patient as the treatment progresses.
Generally, their fear of needles is abated once they feel the results.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your new Dragon Hemp line please, and where can people find it?
KM: Dragon Hemp is a therapeutic line of products that blend premium grade CBD hemp with Chinese herbs and native botanicals designed to enhance performance, recovery and improve overall health and wellness.
Over the past years, I have used CBD and Chinese herbs effectively in my clinic to address many of the most common complaints including musculoskeletal pain and anxiety/stress/insomnia.
In many cases, there is an element of inflammation present in these cases. CBD is emerging as a promising plant medicine to address inflammatory conditions, and Chinese herbs have been used for over 2,000 years to both address inflammation and reduce pain by dispersing qi and blood stagnation.
I have found that by blending specific herbs and botanicals with CBD has produced a more effective therapeutic result, and thus Dragon Hemp was born.
Currently, we have three main product lines, RELIEF Recovery formula for pain and inflammation, REACH Clarity & Focus formula, and REST sleep formula in tinctures, capsules, and balms.
The tinctures and balms feature premium grade, organic Full Spectrum CBD extracts and the capsules are made with organic CBD isolate.
Most of the herbs are organically sourced, and all are lab-tested for purity.
Q: Do you have any books you have written, or if not, are there any books on natural health you would recommend that got you into the subject matter?
KM: Most of my learning about the CBD hemp plant and industry came from attending the CBD and Cannabis summits in New York, California, and Colorado over the years.
One of my early reads on CBD and medical cannabis was ‘Medical Marijuana and CBD: A Physician’s Guide for Patients’ by Matthew L Mintz, which became a solid early resource.
For Chinese herbs, the main books I used in college and still today are ‘Chinese Herbal Medicine: Material Medica’ and ‘Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas and Strategies’ by Dan Bensky, but nothing beats Tom Bisio’s ‘A Tooth from the Tiger’s Mouth.’
Still one my main references.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Kevin’s website can be found here.
His practice is located in Sag Harbor, New York, which is located on the eastern part of Long Island.