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Healthcare Journal of new orleans
SEPT / OCT 2014
that, with everyone’s input, the clinic administers the diagnoses and
treatments that best support that patient’s health.
Balance Integrative Health also offers Shakuju Therapy, which is a
Japanese-style painless acupuncture administered by acupuncture
specialist Noell Eanes, M.Ac, ACA, RYT, who is one of the only practi-
tioners in Louisiana trained to perform this treatment. This therapy
uses needles that often do not penetrate the skin and is particularly
useful in treating indiscriminate pain, such as fibromyalgia and neu-
ropathy. It may eventually be a valuable treatment for children who
could benefit from acupuncture treatments, but who are uncomfort-
able with or fearful of needles.
A long-standing local practitioner, New Orleans
native Dr. Henri Roca has been active in the
city’s integrative medicine pursuits. However,
having moved to establish an integrative
health program at the Veteran’s Adminis-
tration hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas,
he now only accepts phone consultations
and intermittent appointments when he
is in the city. But in the interim, Dr. Roca,
particularly while attending and being
employed by LSU Medical School, played
an important role in the integrative health-
care movement in New Orleans.
Early on in his medical education, Dr. Roca led an inter-
est group at LSUMedical School dedicated to integra-
tive medicine, a group that went on to be the largest
group on campus at that time. Later on, after graduation, he returned
to head LSU’s Integrative Medicine department. Now co-chair of
the Leadership and Education Program for Students in Integrative
Medicine, he continues to leave a mark on this burgeoning health-
care movement.
Along with these two providers, New Orleanians can find similar
practitioners who implement aspects of integrative medicine’s beliefs
and treatments in the care they provide:
- Dr. Irene Sebastian, MD, PhD
- Dr. Charles “Chuck”Mary III, MD
- Dr. Kashi Rai, MD
- The Center for Longevity andWellness - Dr. Leonard B. Kancher,
MD and G.M. Weiner, MD, FACP
Has New Orleans Embraced the
Integrative Healthcare Movement?
While the community, incoming medical students, and practicing
physicians generate interest in integrative medicine—like they have in
other parts of the country—NewOrleans continues to adapt to viable
complements and alternatives to conventional medicine. However,
in the meantime, NewOrleans contends with barriers blocking this
type of treatment from widespread adoption.
Handling insurance is perhaps the biggest hurdle for patients who
want to pursue this form of healthcare. Dr. Roca says, “There is a
tremendous amount of interest, but […] the issue of not having this
type of care approach covered by insurance is a hindrance for many
people. There are many more people who would be interested and
have access to services if it would be more readily available or if
primary care would organize in this way.”
However, while the Southern states have the fewest number of inte-
grative medicine providers, NewOrleans, in particular, and parts
of southeast Louisiana are rich in practitioners when
compared to neighboring states, such as Missis-
sippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.
To encourage insurance companies and pri-
mary healthcare providers to consider inte-
grative medicine as a viable counterpart
to conventional medicine, Dr. Roca says
that it is necessary “for people to raise
their voices that this is the kind of infor-
mation and medicine that they would like,
because it is absolutely critical for people to
let the healthcare system know that this is the
type of service they want. They’re much more
likely to get it.”
But some voices already rose to the occa-
sion, and a spark ignited in some of the larger
medical practices throughout the city. Sendik
says, “You have hospitals these days like Touro
and East Jefferson that are incorporating clinical hypnotherapy, yoga,
and acupuncture into their programs. You have naturopaths that
are now practicing independently of physicians, and physicians are
referring to naturopaths. You have psychiatrists that have acupunc-
turists in their clinics. So there are aspects of integrative healthcare
here in New Orleans.”
In New Orleans and beyond, integrative medicine reflects a move-
ment in the healthcare system that offers an alternative and comple-
mentary form of care and provides more options to patients. It also
has the support of medical doctors and practitioners of all stripes
to make even more of a difference in the future.
“It’s truly the future of our healthcare system. If we want to knock
out the nooks, the kinks, in the way our healthcare system is func-
tioning, this is truly the way to do it,” says Sendik. “We can really save
our patients some time and help our overall wellbeing, and if our
systemwould recognize that it’s less expensive to spend this money
in the front rather than waiting until I’ve had my first heart attack to
pick up the tab, we’d be much better off.”
Dr. Henri Roca
it is absolutely
critical for people
to let the healthcare
system know that this
is the type of service
they want. They’re
much more likely to
get it.