Manuela Igel, Lic. Ac
This past August, Water House Wellness had the pleasure of welcoming Manuela to be part of our team. Today we’re sitting down for a chat with her so that we can introduce her to the Water House Wellness Community and give you a chance to find out more about her, her philosophy and her practice.
WHW: Manuela, we are so excited to have you as part of the Water House Wellness Family!
MI: Hi! Thank you! I’m so happy to be a part of the Water House team after a couple of years of being self-employed. I’ve missed being part of a bigger team! I’m also excited to be back to seeing clients after the taking the summer off to take care of my infant son who was born in May.
WHW: So Manuela, tell us what drew you to become an acupuncturist?
MI: Being a client myself! Shortly after graduating from college, I was suffering from menstrual and digestive issues and was discouraged by what Western medicine had to offer so I decided to try acupuncture. I had no idea what to expect, and I admit, I was very nervous - I don’t like needles and I pass out every time I get blood drawn!- but I was curious about acupuncture and really wanted to feel better, so I took some deep breaths and decided to give it a try.
My first treatment was at the New England School of Acupuncture (NESA) student clinic. Jacqueline, the intern treating me, had a warm smile and kind demeanor. She made me feel at ease and heard. I left the treatment feeling so relaxed.
Afterwards, I noticed lighter cramping and improved digestion AND my sleep, anxiety and energy had also improved. This really intrigued me; I thought I was only getting treated for the 2 issues I listed. I felt like I had gotten a whole body tune-up! After receiving a series of treatments and feeling the benefits in my body, mind and spirit, I just fell in love with this gentle, natural and holistic medicine. I realized that I wanted to help people feel this way too. I decided that I wanted to make it my job to help others understand their bodies, and empower them to take their health into their own hands. Without overthinking it, I went to an open house at NESA, and the next week I applied.
WHW: That’s wonderful! So you went to NESA for your master’s degree. What was the program like?
MI: Long and challenging but so rewarding! But first, I graduated with a double major in Psychology and Sociology from U. Mass, Boston in 2008. During my BA, I also worked as a research assistant at Harvard’s Lab for Developmental Studies and UMass Boston’s Lab for Infant Cognition. I applied and started at NESA in 2008 and began my Master’s Degree in Chinese & Japanese Acupuncture.
During my 4 year Master’s program, I took rigorous classes in both Western and Eastern medicine, and gained hands-on experience through clinical internships at the NESA Student Clinic, Boston Medical Center and Pathways for Wellness. After completing my master’s, I passed all three of the Board exams required for licensure.
"I believe that everyone’s body and life is unique, beautiful, deeply inter-connected and I also believe we have an innate ability to heal ourselves given the right tools."
WHW: Can you tell us about your philosophy behind your healing work?
MI: I believe in a holistic approach to feeling good. I believe that everyone’s body and life is unique, beautiful, deeply inter-connected and I also believe we have an innate ability to heal ourselves given the right tools. In my practice, I work with clients to help them restore their body’s natural balance with regular acupuncture treatments and personalized lifestyle recommendations that focus on food-as-medicine and healthy living.
I also believe the healing relationship is huge part of getting better. People get acupuncture for many of the same reasons they would seek out help from an MD. The best part of my job is that I get to spend a lot more time with my clients than MDs. This enables my clients to talk, feel heard, learn, and also have time for rest and healing to occur.
WHW: When a client comes to see you, what can they expect during their treatment?
MI: First, we will chat and go over their health history. Since acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is a holistic medicine, I will ask them questions about every organ system, no matter what they are being treated for. This helps in understanding the root of the issue, instead of simply treating the issue while ignoring the whole body and mind attached to it.
Then, they will lay down on the treatment table wearing loose and comfortable clothing. I will look at their tongue, check their pulse and I may also press on some areas of their abdomen. These are all tools used to aid in forming a diagnosis according to TCM. Then, we will do the acupuncture.
Since I’m quite needle sensitive myself, I always make sure the use the least amount and most effective points during my treatments. Acupuncture needles are hair thin and most of the time my clients barely feel them.
After the points are in and I’m sure my client is cozy and comfortable, I’ll step out and let them rest for about 20 minutes on their back. Most of my clients become so deeply relaxed that they fall asleep. Finally, I will have them turn over and we will do a back treatment for another 15-20 minutes. Depending on their case, I may also use moxa, gua-sha or cupping as part of your treatment.
(hyperlink moxa, gua-sha, cupping- other modalities- link to main WHW acu page)
WHW: Then afterwards do you discuss the client’s response and come up with a treatment plan? How often do clients receive acupuncture?
MI: Yes, usually after the first visit I have a good sense of how long we’ll need to work together to see changes and let them know roughly how often they should return for a session. Simple cases usually take about 5-6 weekly treatments, and more complicated cases may take 10 or more. There are also other factors that play a role on how long it’ll take to work. Like how long it’s been going on, age, overall health and your own self-care. You see, the way acupuncture works is by boosting your own body’s ability to heal itself. So it’s not really the acupuncture that’s healing them, it’s their own body. In addition to the acupuncture treatment, I will also discuss certain lifestyle and dietary suggestions.
WHW: Do you have a specialty, Manuela?
MI: During my Master’s program, I was trained to be a generalist. I am able to treat a broad range of conditions. However, over the last few years, I have seen great success specializing in digestive issues, low energy, headaches/migraines, sleep issues, and women’s health and fertility. I also really love to work with mothers to-be helping them feel their best during their pregnancy, preparing them for labor and giving them deeply nurturing treatments post-partum.
When you aren’t at work, what can you be found doing?
When I’m not at work, I’m at my full time job of being a mama to my sweet and active son, Diego. I’m changing diapers, reading books, cooking, making sure he doesn’t knock his head on things, going for walks and on really cold days you can find me strolling the aisles of Target. On weekends and time off, I love to spend time in nature with my friends and family and go camping and exploring in VT and NH. And when I have a break from mama-duty, I love to cook, do yoga and play around with photography.
All massage therapy and acupuncture treatments are artisan and therapeutic.
For orthopedic prices please contact us.
water house wellness
742 Massachusetts Ave Suite 3
Arlington MA 02476
For appointments call: 1.339.707.0476