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Franklin - Local Town Pages

Promoting Active Care as a Means to Stay Healthy

Dec 01, 2020 08:54AM ● By Marjorie Turner Hollman

The Balanced Path Wellness Center

Most of us go to a doctor when we have a complaint. We often think of doctors the same way we think of mechanics; something doesn’t sound, feel, or look right, so we get things checked out. Once the complaint is “fixed,” we think we’re all set, making few, if any changes in our lifestyle, even if it is our lifestyle—diet, lack of exercise, high levels of stress—that caused the complaint in the first place.

Paul Gerst, L.Ac (licensed acupuncturist) in Medway points out that in western medicine, we focus on complaints. Will our doctor make our symptoms go away? Then we must be healthy! Gerst challenges his patients to look deeper. He explains, “I work with the mind/body/spirit, like a naturopath, helping focus on what needs to be addressed to truly get someone well. My job isn’t to get you to be quiet about your symptoms. That’s what doctor trips always felt like to me. If I was not complaining, the doctors seemed happy.”


He continues, “Do you have complaints? Most of us do. I’ve learned that many people do not complain, but there will be some sign their bodies are not functioning properly. My job is to help you address your diet, how you exercise, your posture, and nutritional deficiencies, all of which are problematic in a high percentage of patients who come to see me. Many are dealing with chronic health issues such as allergies, asthma, and other chronic conditions for which they have found little or no relief from in their visits to traditional western doctors.”

Gerst does not dismiss western medicine. In fact, he comes from a long line of medical folks. His father was a dentist, his brother an MD (now retired). “But I was always asking ‘why?’” Gerst explains. “I always wondered, why such an emphasis on pharmaceuticals? I realized I was always going to be that student at the back of the class asking ‘Why?’”


In this time of unremitting concern about a dangerous virus in our communities, Gerst offers some helpful advice. “People often reach for comfort foods when they are stressed, most often to fuel their bodies with readily available sugar. These starches and sugars are great, short-term, but over time, lead to excess weight, higher blood sugar, inflammation, and more. I strongly recommend you minimize sugar, starch, and dairy products during this time. If you are feeling very stressed, go for a walk, take a bath, or whatever you do to alleviate it, and THEN you can eat.”

Challenging the idea that doctors are the ones who can heal, Gerst urges all of us to seek active forms of care once diagnosed with a medical condition, or get multiple opinions when getting diagnosed, if it’s not abundantly clear. He explains, “Active care is participated in or felt; exercises, adjustments, acupuncture, massage, changing diets, etc. One or more of these should always be part of our care regime as well as our “stay healthy” rituals. This kind of investment is known to be worthwhile by those who do it.”

Patients seek out Gerst for varied reasons, ranging from migraines to vertigo to infertility and more. Gerst notes that for ten patients coming to him for help treating migraines, there may be several different treatment plans, depending on what else he finds in his thorough examination. He explains that some patients visit him at the end of the year when their health savings account has money left that needs to be spent. “Use it or lose it,” is often the requirement for these savings plans. Gerst offers discounts on purchasing treatment plans in advance, allowing money set aside for health care to not be wasted, as well as assuring regular care by a practitioner who takes the time to really understand your life challenges. In reflecting on his work, Gerst draws a comparison to someone going to the gym. “If you go to the gym six times, then you think you’re fit, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. I help lay out the plan and support you as you follow it, but you have to be willing to do the work. I have had people who I thought would not work out after I explained the steps they needed to take to get healthier. But they have done the work and made huge changes in their life. I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than to see this.”

Gerst’s practice is cash only, with no insurance companies involved to complicate matters and increase costs through administrative fees. “When you call, you get me on the phone—no front desk is involved.” He explains, “I take good care of the people who employ me—my patients.” 

Call today to schedule your initial Evaluation & Treatment.

Paul Gerst L.Ac. 


89 Main Street 

Suite 304 

Medway, MA 02053