It doesn’t take long to realize how deeply Jennifer Layne cares about the health and well-being of the people who have been coming to her for acupuncture treatments for the past four years. To simply walk through the doors of Jennifer Layne Acupuncture and Wellness Center at 54 Ames Avenue in downtown Rutherford, one feels a sense of serenity, of stillness and healing, even of friendship. Lights are dimmed but plants grow, the faint scent of incense transports and calms, wood floors pave a welcoming pathway back to the treatment rooms. The atmosphere is clearly geared toward patient comfort. As Jen herself says: “Once a new patient enters the office, they become part of the family. They are not just a name on a chart.” For her, every patient receives a platform to have their health concerns heard, and to be genuinely cared for.
“Everyone has their own unique health story,” Jen adds. “Something that’s important to them. Everyone’s complaint is real, despite how small it may seem to someone else.”
While a large number of Americans are still unfamiliar with the health benefits of acupuncture, many more see the practice of it as mysterious and foreign. Others are genuinely afraid of being pierced by a number of long needles. Still more say they simply do not “believe” in it. To this, Jen wants people to know there are no religious or spiritual requirements to using acupuncture as a proven method for treating pain and other health conditions. She and her team of health professionals like to emphasize the ancient, but very real science, behind its practice, which revolves around the restoration of energy flow through the body.
“Acupuncture,” Jen says, “is a medical practice that is based on using the natural repair mechanisms of the body to heal itself.” In fact, she compares a successful treatment to smoothing out the kinks in a garden hose so that the water flows more freely. “It’s all about energy circulation,” she adds.
The truth is, many of Jen’s patients now come referred from traditional Western medical providers such as orthopedists, chiropractors, and physical therapists. A number of insurance companies also now reimburse patients for acupuncture treatments, something Jen believes validates the legitimacy of acupuncture in the perspective of traditional Western medicine. Most important, she tries to work with every patient in a way that sets them up for success. “It’s so easy for many patients to abandon acupuncture if it doesn’t work right away,” she says, understanding the skepticism and apprehension of many people who are new to the practice.
“We’re trying,” Jen adds, “to take away the stigma and the mystique behind acupuncture.”
Jen’s philosophy of “health is empowerment” applies to every patient that walks through the door of her practice, each of whom she tries to get to know personally. Her specialized treatments reflect a holistic approach to healthcare, which also incorporate dietary and lifestyle changes. “The work we do with patients can be intense, emotional, and challenging,” she says, in discussing the importance of communicating with each patient who comes to see her. “They need to know that we are serious about helping them.” In fact, many of her patients feel hopeless about their condition at first, but start to see positive changes when they stick with the regimen Jen and her staff tailor for them. “Treating pain is my specialty,” she says, with a smile of genuine satisfaction in knowing just how many people she has helped through her work.
Because of the misconceptions that often surround alternative therapies such as acupuncture, Jen Layne likes to emphasize its safety to people who are new to the treatment. “The good news,” she says, “is there is rarely any harm that can be done from acupuncture. Worst case scenario is that it doesn’t help.”
In such cases, Jen adds, “If we can’t take care of you, we’ll find someone who can.”
By Clifford Evan Weinstein in cooperation with the RDP