Natural Born Healer

Nancy Simpson, 77, could barely take a step without suffering agonizing pain in her legs and hips. Painkillers offered little relief and she feared that a hip replacement loomed. As a last resort, the Los Angeles resident visited licensed acupuncturist Kathleen Rosenblatt ’68, PhD. Simpson has been pain free ever since.

“I felt relief right after the first visit,” recalls Simpson. “I am extremely mobile now and feel great. Dr. Rosenblatt is a miracle worker.”

Rosenblatt has been working such miracles for nearly four decades. She is an American pioneer in the ancient practice, which is increasingly incorporated into modern medicine.

According to the government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, nearly 3.2 million American adults have undergone acupuncture. Meantime, the number of acupuncturists in the U.S. (16,000) nearly tripled over the past decade. Rosenblatt, however, was among the first.

She and her husband, Steven, traveled to Hong Kong in 1972 to study the science and art of the ancient Chinese practice, which is used to restore and maintain health through the stimulation of specific points on the body. Upon their return, the couple founded the New England College of Acupuncture, the very first acupuncture college in the United States. They also established the country’s first acupuncture clinic at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Today it is home to the most prestigious acupuncture training program in the U.S.

“The clinic was experimental but our patients included such actors as Katherine Hepburn and Rhonda Fleming and five-star U.S. Army General Omar Bradley,” recalls Rosenblatt. She laughs, “I was honored to work on his knees.”

It may sound mystifying but acupuncture is proven to have real effects on the human body. The National Institutes of Health approved the Asian practice to treat nausea, pain, addiction, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, to name a few. It is also FDA approved for anxiety and depression.

Traditional Chinese acupuncture maintains that psychological, emotional and physical pain can be eliminated by getting at the underlying cause. It is achieved by penetrating an individual’s invisible life force called qi (pronounced chee). Qi travels up and down the body in 14 meridians (pathways along which the body’s vital energy flows). Illness and pain are due to blockages or imbalances in qi. The insertion of extremely fine needles into the body unblocks the meridians; releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkilling chemicals; and influences serotonin levels, which affect mood.

“Balancing the energy throughout a person’s body is the key to acupuncture,” says Rosenblatt. She explains that the human body is wired in much the same way as household appliances. Both are powered by electrical currents. “Because we are electromagnetic beings, an imbalance in the electromagnetic field is always the underlying cause for our ailments.”

Major medical centers now use acupuncture to help counteract chemotherapy side effects. Professional athletes undergo acupuncture to treat sport injuries. Even the U.S. military uses acupuncture to treat musculoskeletal problems, pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“It’s a pandemic among our returning war veterans and we need to address the problem,” says Rosenblatt. “Drugs can give temporary relief but they are not the final answer.”

Rosenblatt produced “Stress Release for Veterans.” The self-help CD offers cognitive and behavioral advice to help individuals with PTSD recognize and adjust trauma-related thoughts. She also takes time out of her busy complementary medicine practice in Los Angeles to provide relief to veterans.

“I was scared, I cried all the time and eventually became addicted to drugs,” recalls (Ret.) U.S. Army Specialist Crescent Terry. Rosenblatt used a combination of holistic therapies to treat Terry. Acupuncture, guided meditation and pulsed electro-magnetic frequency stimulation (PEMF), which stimulates cellular repair, all helped Terry regain a happy, healthy and productive life. “Dr. Rosenblatt was so calm and soothing. She fixed the parts of my body that were tied to my emotions. It was a fantastic experience.”

Rosenblatt is a natural born healer, although she didn’t realize her gift until her post-graduate years.

The Buffalo native went to Sacred Heart Academy, where the nuns “heavily influenced” her spirituality. She was among the first women to enroll in the college’s day division, and although Rosenblatt was in the minority, the memories and friendships she made were plentiful.

“There was such humor and creativity in the conversations, even in the cafeteria,” Rosenblatt recalls. “I have never had the same sense of community and intellectual stimulation anywhere else.”

After graduating with a degree in French, Rosenblatt thought she wanted to become a French professor. She went on to earn a master’s degree and PhD in comparative literature from the University of Connecticut. It was here, while writing her dissertation on the French spiritual and metaphysical writer Rene Daumal, that Rosenblatt was exposed to many ancient forms of healing and became fascinated by the idea that the mind and body operate as one.

“I realized that if your mind truly connects with your body, you can affect positive change,” says Rosenblatt, author of Rene Daumal: The Life and Work of a Mystic Guide. The benefits, she says, are twofold. “You not only feel better but your immune system begins to function better. You optimize your health.”

Rosenblatt has built her life and a successful business around her belief in the mind-body connection.

In her practice, she applies Eastern and Western, as well as more modern approaches, to pathology, pain and mental and emotional dysfunction. In addition to acupuncture, healing therapies include massage, heat treatments, herbal medicine, homeopathy, directed relaxation therapy and PEMF. Though Rosenblatt’s treatments are not currently considered part of conventional medicine, “they can be used in tandem with it,” she says. Her study of Chinese medicine and philosophies of ancient cultures also led her to produce “Cellular Meditation.” The self-help CD provides innovative exercises to help people improve focus and well-being.

“It’s so satisfying to see people get that ‘natural high’ once they learn they have the ability to induce a state of high energy and well-being via some simple steps,” says Rosenblatt, who is living proof of the mind-body connection.

She is fluent in French, Italian and Spanish. A mixed-media artist, Rosenblatt travels the world to exhibit her works. She is a talented pianist and trained in the sacred Sufi (or dervish) dance.

Rosenblatt’s creative expression is balanced by her commitment to service.

As a member of the non-profit Earth Harmony Foundation, she organizes a nightly food collection program for Los Angeles’ poor and homeless. Rosenblatt is also past co-president of the Iraq Rose Foundation, a non-profit group of licensed practitioners who work to enhance mental healthcare for veterans. And she often shares her expertise on health and wellness at seminars across the country.

“When you can help rid someone of pain or relieve their anxiety or depression, it is a transformational experience,” says Rosenblatt.

Nancy Simpson counts herself among those whose life was transformed by Rosenblatt’s healing hands. In addition to her hip ailment, “She cured a 15-year long sinus infection and relieved her severe neuropathy,” says Simpson. “I can feel the carpet on my feet for the first time in years!”