WHERE TRADITION MEETS TODAY
Master of Science in Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine (USA)
Clinician, Lecturer, Author
Hi, my name is John Renna. American by birth… New Zealander by choice. My wife and I shifted here from Hawaii in 2010. I like to write. If you care to read, plenty detail follows. If not, go to my bookings page and make an appointment or feel free to slip me an email.
Some people in my field might say traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is valuable because of its history, because it has been practiced “for thousands of years”. I disagree completely. Plenty of old things are just that – old. It is valuable when it proves itself, when it meshes with today, when a researcher establishes a link and we say, “right, TCM has been saying that for some time – only with different words“. Or the fact that it is the fastest growing complementary medicine in the world practiced in well over 100 countries. TCM is here because it still serves us far more often than it fails us.
Genetics is the loaded gun, but behaviour is the trigger
When it comes to many diseases Epigenetics – the effects from our environment and behaviours, plus the environment and behaviours of our parents, grandparents, etc – are clearly proving to affect us physically today. Once wrongly thought of as static from birth to death, we now know our DNA changes throughout our life. Each little tweak or turn has the potential to affect the genes on every generation that extends from you into eternity. Asian philosophers would very specifically place this under the heading of karma. These are things traditional medicines have said since the beginning. I unite tradition with today in my work, finding those triggers which may underlie many chronic problems.
Taking this into consideration in New Zealand, it is of utmost importance we look at our behaviours today which will affect tomorrow: use of herbicides for example, obesity, too much meat or alcohol in the diet…
I first became involved seriously in TCM & related therapies while tramping through the Himalayas over 20 years ago. My father and 4 other family had just passed within months of one another, largely from preventable diseases. With no disrespect intended, Western Medicine couldn’t sort their health in the slightest, and also had few capabilities to work with disease prevention, lifestyle and epigenetics. So while traveling through India and Nepal I resolved to do some research in Ayurvedic and Eastern Therapies after a few years dabbling in herbs, shiatsu, yoga and macrobiotic eating as far back as 1990. There in the mountains I encountered a young boy suffering terribly from a mystery illness. 3000 meters high and climbing, nearest clinic several days away, he approached, then asked in broken English for medicine. In considerable pain he had open wounds across his torso & both pairs of limbs. I could not help him in the slightest. The experience left me devastated, heartbroken, yet eager to learn – Eager to formally learn natural & hands-on medicines that might be of use not only in a situation like that, but in the daily grind that has become Life in developed countries. Allopathic medicine treats severe disease – it does not prevent it, and is poor at both chronic illness and chronic pain. That is where people like me – and my new integrative team – comes in.
Since then, I have studied tropical medicine, practiced & taught in 3 countries (US, Myanmar, NZ), given well over 20,000 treatments – including for horses, dogs, for pregnant women, rich & famous to poverty stricken, professional athletes to weekend warriors & every type of person in between.
Real Acupuncture is not a “thing” but rather part of a complete medical system of observation, diagnosis & treatment. It takes 4-7 years of full time university study to learn right then a lifetime to master. At least ⅓ of that training is Western Medicine: I was fortunate enough to have both cadaver anatomy & pharmacology as part of my schooling – rare for “alternative” healers. I am a general practitioner with specialties in head health – including migraines, concussion, stroke, sinus issues and cognition. I also specialise in cancer, chronic pain, reproductive issues in both men and women, including throughout pregnancy. Working with a dynamic multi-faceted team of referee therapists, doctors and specialists, I am ready to refer out for skilled help when I can’t do it alone. My new team meets regularly to discuss complicated cases and formulate the right treatment plan for you!
Appointments without needles can often be given, especially with children. Please ring or email for questions.
Custom prepared herbal medicines (liquids or capsules) prescribed, bottled in-house, plus standard high quality supplements like probiotics, antiflams, cold medicines and cancer support products sold below retail price. Please check my PRODUCTS page frequently for updates and sale items, or to the health blog for bits and bobs of current health news.
Always seek out personal explanations where you can
The internet is mostly garbage with a few morsels of treasure in it. Something conspicuously missing from millions of posts and sites is one thing: evidence of failure
NOTHING WORKS ON EVERYTHING OR EVERYONE AND NOTHING WORKS EVERY TIME
you are an individual with individual needs
Does surgery “work”? Prescription drugs? Of course, plenty of times. But certainly not always. Exactly the same for our practices. Nothing works every time always and forever. But when it comes to long-term solutions, our medicine – especially herbal medicine – may surprisingly surpass its wealthier pharmaceutical cousin. Head to toe, mind to body, where other methods have few lasting answers… we can sometimes make a massive difference!
Blessed to have worked directly in-house with multiple disciplines, doctors and healers over the years: physiotherapists, surgeons, sonography, massage therapists, yoga/fitness/martial arts instructors, chiropractors, Reiki & Pacific Island practitioners, gym work, personal trainers, exercise & foot specialists, naturopaths, and of course other acupuncturists – including directly supervising 3 younger practitioners for 2 years in Auckland. BUT THESE DAYS ARE SOMETHING EVEN MORE SPECIAL! I recently co-founded NZCIH (New Zealand Centre of Integrated Health) at Promed House on 10th Avenue with colleague Desiree DeSpong.
With a team approach we also house osteopathy, lymphatic, hormone and breathing therapies, massage, counselling services, regular oncologist visits, functional medicine testing and more!
Research / academics:
Co-wrote 2 books with Chinese doctors: TCM for migraines, and then for chronic sinusitis. The books are not best for the general public, but the process launched me into working specially with head conditions – and loving it.
I also contributed to texts on Taoist poetry and philosophy, 2 Chinese astrology books, and last a compilation practise guide for new TCM graduates.
Know that for injuries, ACC covers not 1 therapy but many – you LIKELY ARE able to see an osteOpath, acupuncturist and a physiotherapist on a single injury claim.
Surgery may sometimes be the answer. For those situations which aren’t, I hope I can help. Prescription pain killers and anti-flams might suit your situation well. For the times they don’t, acupuncture (TCM) may have the answers. Or if it doesn’t, I will tell you straight away and refer you onwards – even possibly to another acupuncturist with different specialties than my own.
In 2014, I was stoked to be team sport practitioner for Greerton Marist Club Rugby, Prems and Development. Tough as they are, these young gentlemen know pain. And they also know when to ask for help…
Acupuncture addresses pain in many known ways, from vasodilation to macrophage assistance to dopamine and adrenergic receptor effects. But it is better to ask your therapist specifically for an explanation. But be prepared: some things are strange, can be a bit beyond explanation as the construct of the medicine, the terms we use, follow a structure which takes some getting used to. I’ve had 6 years university. Most physios using needles have had just days of training! – or a rare few up to a couple years part-time if really lucky. New Zealand law does not distinguish between the two unfortunately. They may not do harm, but they also don’t have the best acu skills… guaranteed. In Hawaii where I came from, separations between manual therapy professions are very clear for public safety. Not even GP’s or surgeons can practice acupuncture without earning a full degree. I can do manual and spinal manipulations, but I’d prefer to refer you to an excellent osteopath for the real deal. No one should be “practising” acupuncture but ACC registered trained TCM practitioners.
Charity: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”
Since 2007, I have traveled regularly with a team to Myanmar and border regions to work in villages and hospitals. There we treat patients and teach doctors advanced concepts in Acupuncture and medical theory. It’s a shocking amazing adventure of hard work that has left its impressions on me deeply.
Today, after 2 decades of study and practise, I understand there is no ONE perfect way – most are best served with a small variety of therapies – from mind – body – spirit, to epigenetic awareness.
More modern evidenced-based work has the strength of popular science behind it, but little clinical history to further enrich or support it. Obviously, countless drugs or therapies known today to cause more harm than good were prescribed full throttle for years. Frontal lobotomy anyone? Vioxx? Vaccines with questionable ingredients? Statins with niacin? So many drugs are hushed to the back of the closet today which were once touted as wonderful. The list sadly grows and grows. Meanwhile, purely historical or traditional methods rarely fit completely either – and can even seem ridiculous. Like my favourite remedy for unconsciousness from an old text: throw the person over the back of a donkey and blow elschotzia powder up their nostrils. Hmm, now where did I put that donkey…?
I have fun wearing a white lab coat with a stethoscope… and a square monk’s hat. Traditional Medicine for a modern world I call it. Practised in 106 countries to date, Acupuncture is not alternative… but medicine. I hope it can help you retain or regain your health & fitness soon!