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123 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19106

215-627-3782

The Healing Arts Center provides everything you need to reach your health and wellness goals. Whether you're seeking acute or chronic pain relief, stress reduction, help with infertility, physical rehabilitation, anti-aging treatments or just plain relaxation, our staff are here to provide safe, effective treatment and classes to help you on your way. Our center's goal is to maximize your body's function, increase energy, give you a higher self-esteem and provide an overall improvement in your quality of life.

We named it the Healing Arts Center because every practitioner on the team has a wide repertoire of integrative techniques and treatments to draw upon. We believe the art of healing is in the creative application of techniques and the mix should always be fresh, responding to the demands of the moment. After all, we believe every patient is unique and every day presents a new challenge that demands our creativity.

Blog

The Healing Arts Center of Philadelphia promotes a holistic health approach for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Through our blog, we hope to share information that covers topics like acupuncture, acupuncture for chiropractic, fitness, yoga, pilates, Tai Chi, Chinese herbs, Oriental Medicine and tips and tricks for maintaining your health from our talented practitioners and instructors. 

Waiting for Babies: A Podcast Exploring the Human Side of the World of Infertility

Lauren Moreno

When I first started practicing acupuncture 15 years ago, I didn’t set out with an intention to work with couples or individuals struggling to bring a child into their lives. But in my first month on the job, a new patient brought me a study done in Germany detailing how using acupuncture before and after the embryo transfer of an IVF procedure raised its success rates. She asked me to come to her fertility clinic and replicate what was in the study. When you’re first starting a practice you say yes to everything, so of course I was happy to help. Thankfully, her physician was amenable and open minded enough to let us take up space in their office for something that was brand new in their world.   

That study spread both among patients and the fertility doctors and suddenly I found patient after patient asking me for this type of help. Interestingly, there was also some evidence that acupuncture would be helpful for those who were just trying on their own or doing things that were less complicated than IVF like IUI or artificial insemination, so a lot of patients started coming in before they even made it to IVF. Still, almost every week I would get a phone call (always the day before because they never got more than that amount of notice) and I would wake up earlier in the morning then I normally would and go to one of the fertility clinics and do some acupuncture. 

Here’s how it would go: at the clinic I’d meet my patient and often her husband or partner. The three of us would sit together in the waiting room until one of the nurses would come and tell us that they had space for us to do acupuncture. Then, the woman and I would go back to do the treatment. Afterward, I would sit in the waiting room for what could be twenty minutes or three hours. Once the procedures were finished I would go back into the room to do a slightly different acupuncture. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time waiting in clinics. I often read both the book I brought and every magazine possible. (There was no handy internet in the pocket then). 

This was such an intimate moment I was privy to. It was also extremely intense, as the procedure they were about to have was often the culmination of a lot of effort, time, money and emotion that they had been putting into trying to conceive. These treatments gave me a first-hand view as to what the couple's relationship was like. Some were what I’d consider healthier than others. Sometimes they fought on the morning of and sometimes it was the most loving and caring thing I've ever seen. Sometimes there was no relationship because it was a single woman trying on her own or her partner didn’t show up (for reasons I didn’t always get to know). 

To add pressure to everything the woman had to have a full bladder for this procedure. This always lead to a classic scenario: I was sitting with my acupuncture case, the woman sitting next to me had her legs crossed three times around like eagle pose in yoga and the partner was sitting next to her just twiddling his/her thumbs waiting for everything to be over. The nurse would come out and tell us that they were running a little bit behind and the woman would squeeze her legs together even tighter (because she already had to pee and was both nervous and getting even more uncomfortable). Then, almost without fail, the partner would stand up and say “Ok, I'll be back, I have to go to the bathroom.” To which the woman would always just roll her eyes and laugh and I would look incredulously at someone who clearly didn't understand the concept of solidarity.

Over the next decade and a half there have been so many moments and so many little things that were both hilarious and heart wrenching sitting there with all of these patients. I realized that their stories are so intense and emotional and yet no one outside of that room knew what they were going through. I thought I would write a book and to try to tell their stories the best way I could...adding in some anecdotes and things that had happened to me along the way.  But after hitting so many walls writing, I realized that I was trying to tell a story that wasn’t mine. I was trying to tell their story and that would never work because I didn't have all the information. I don't know what came before and what was to come afterwards. I didn't always know how things turned out... Sometimes I only got to see them in that one intimate moment and never even found out if the procedure worked. 

I decided the best place to hear that story was from the patients themselves. Waiting for Babies was born.

Pregnancy and miscarriage, IVF and artificial insemination are not actually new concepts to our American society, but given how little it is talked about it you would think differently. When it comes to medicine, we are so intensely private. Did you know that in America there's really no ritual or common healing practice for someone who's had a miscarriage? Many other cultures have them to at least offer a playbook as to what to do when this happens, but we miss that in America. Most of the time people bottle it up and keep it within the partnership, which often doesn't help either of them. And it’s so much more common than you think– as is this whole field.

One in eight couples or individuals trying to get pregnant struggle with infertility. Most likely someone you know has either been through it or is going through it right now. I wanted to open that conversation and get all of this information out there to show just how human this whole process is and what some people are going through. I wanted to shed some light on how hard it is when something that for everyone else takes a very quick momentary interlude in life, but can take those struggling years and years.  

It’s time someone shared their stories, as there are so many more who are still waiting for their babies. To listen to the podcast, or to learn more about Waiting for Babies, visit our website here

Steve Mavros, L.OM. has been an acupuncturist and herbalist since 2001. Though he treats a wide variety of conditions, he has been focusing on female and male fertility since his first month in practice. Working hand-in-hand with reproductive endocrinologists and even treating on-site at fertility clinics, Steve has helped pioneer the acupuncture for fertility field in Philadelphia. In 2006, he co-founded The Healing Arts Center of Philadelphia, a holistic complementary care center that brings together allopathic and complementary medicine disciplines all under one roof.  After working with over a thousand couples and individuals to help conceive, he realized their stories needed telling.

 

 

Risk Factors for Male Infertility

Lauren Moreno

In honor of Men's Health Week, we're exploring common men's health issues.

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Infertility is a common problem for both men and women. The latest statistics show that one in eight couples in America and one in six in Canada will experience some sort of difficulties conceiving. Currently, we think that one-third of these cases are due to a problem with the man. 

There are a number of risk factors that are linked to male infertility. These include:

  • Aging
  • Smoking tobacco or marijuana
  • Drinking alcohol excessively (effects are very mild after 5 drinks per week, bad effects with more than 25 drinks per week)
  • Being overweight (according to a 2006 study, the odds of infertility increase by 10% for every 20 pounds a man is overweight)
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Having past or present infections
  • Overheating the testicles (bike rides, laptops, saunas & hot tubs, tight underwear consistently)
  • Having medical conditions, including tumors and chronic illnesses
  • Taking medication or undergoing medical treatment such as radiation for cancer (chemotherapeutics and possibly male alopecia meds)

Changes in lifestyle can effect male fertility. Weight loss, especially in high bmi patients, can have very fast effects. Other changes like eliminating smoking, moderating drinking, implementing a mild exercise routine and regulating temperature can sometimes increase fertility in as little as three months. 

Listen to one couple's experience with male infertility on Steve's podcast, Waiting for Babies.


Steve Mavros, L.OM., is co-founder of The Healing Arts Center of Philadelphia. He has been an acupuncturist and herbalist since 2001. Though he treats a wide variety of conditions, he has been focusing on female and male infertility since his first month in practice. Working hand-in-hand with reproductive endocrinologists and even treating on-site at fertility clinics, Steve has helped pioneer the acupuncture for fertility field in Philadelphia. His practice also includes other focuses including chronic pain, headaches and migraines, menstrual issues and menopause, anxiety, stroke rehabilitation and fibromyalgia. 

 

The views and nutritional/herbal advice expressed by Steve Mavros, L.OM. is not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider. No information offered here should be interpreted as a diagnosis of any disease, nor an attempt to treat or prevent or cure any disease or condition. Information and statements regarding products and/or services made available by Steve Mavros, L.OM. and the Healing Arts Center have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  

 

My Survivor Story

Lauren Moreno

Dr. Barry Silverman is co-founder of The Healing Arts Center, a chiropractor with over 25 years experience and a 2nd degree Black Sash in Tai Chi. Dr. Silverman teaches Tai Chi at The Healing Arts Studio in Old City. 

Dr. Barry Silverman is co-founder of The Healing Arts Center, a chiropractor with over 25 years experience and a 2nd degree Black Sash in Tai Chi. Dr. Silverman teaches Tai Chi at The Healing Arts Studio in Old City. 

It was like a finely timed punch to the belly. Explosive and literally gut-wrenching. It snapped me out of my colonoscopy drug induced haze. The Doc said, “you have a tumor in your ascending colon. I want you to get it out next week, don’t wait, and then you’ll be fine.” Wow - that was mortality right up in my grill. I was 55, with a 1-year-old baby, a wonderful wife and feeling good about life.  So, I did what the Doc said...and I’m still here 13 years later.

Why me? Why not me? A well thought out approach to regaining health or just a confluence of luck? Well, here’s how it happened. You be the judge.

During the summer of 2004 I developed a cough. No cold or anything else, just a cough. Being a chiropractor and interested in natural healing, I self-medicated with various herbs and nutrients. Nothing really worked that entire summer and into the fall. Finally, I broke down and went to see my primary care doc. He said, "it’s probably just a virus but I’ll give you an antibiotic in case it's bacterial. Come back in 10 days.” I did, but it was no better.

Next, the doc said, “I’m taking blood, come back tomorrow.” The blood test showed I was anemic.  The doc said, “I need a stool sample, come back tomorrow.” The stool sample was positive for bleeding. The Doc said, “You need a colonoscopy now - you’re bleeding somewhere.” As I left he followed me out the door and into the street. He said, “This is serious. I’m setting up a colonoscopy for Friday." You know the colonoscopy story, so my primary care doc then set me up with a surgeon the following Monday and I had surgery the next day. I was home by Friday. I didn’t really want to go home, but the attending Doc on Friday morning said, “look, you ate, you farted and you didn’t vomit. Go home - you’ll be better off there.” He was right. My bed felt great.

Ten days later at the surgeon’s office he told me no one he had ever taken care of had left the hospital that soon after having one third of their ascending colon removed (by the way, my scar is terrific.) I asked if I needed chemotherapy. He said it would probably be up to me but I should see an oncologist. As expected, the oncologist confirmed that it was up to me whether to have chemotherapy. Without it, I was looking at an 80% 5-year mortality. With it, 83%. The oncologist told me chemotherapy helped only one out of 49 people, but I agreed to do it anyway. Why? Because I wouldn’t miss work and it was only for six months - I felt I could do anything for six months.

Before I began treatments, I decided I would make chemotherapy just a matter-of-fact part of my life. I would go to have chemo for two hours early in the morning, bring work with me and then go to my office and see patients. I did this once a week for six weeks then off for two weeks, for six months.

My wife and friends wanted to come and visit me during the treatments, but I said no. I preferred to not make an event out of my chemotherapy, but just make it feel like a part of my regular life - like going to the cleaners or the bank. It helped make me feel normal in a very abnormal situation with the environment of the oncology suite and its rows of lounge chairs with people of all ages hooked up to IVs.

The chemotherapy didn’t cause me to lose my hair. I already had. I never missed work either. I didn’t feel great but I just kept going. To counter the side effects of the chemo, I had acupuncture every week. It must have helped because I suffered no nausea or diarrhea as the oncologist had said I would suffer. Post-chemo, I decided to clean up my diet. I no longer eat red meat or pork. Many of my meals are still meatless. The Tai Chi I had been practicing became even more precious to me. I trained more and competed successfully in many Chinese martial arts tournaments over the following 13 years. Today I continue to practice Tai Chi as well as teach five Tai Chi classes per week.

In some ways my cancer has been very, very good to me. Absent cancer I doubt whether I would have practiced Tai Chi as much and competed in tournaments. I am, at my core, an introvert and performing in front of others was very challenging. Experiencing cancer has made me a more empathetic doctor towards my patients, especially those who have had cancer themselves, who are presently going through it, or who have family and friends who are going through it.    

Now 13 years later the cancer diagnosis has become part of who I am, no more or less than other facets of me: like being a chiropractor, husband, father, friend, Jew, political progressive and a male. At times when I am at my most vulnerable I remember what I went through and gain strength from that ordeal. I'm older now, 68 to be exact. I have always resisted calling myself a survivor - never really wanting to give cancer that kind of prominince in my life or defining myself in that way. 

But then again, I have survived.