Doctor Memory : Dr. Saracino’s Path to Chiropractic Neurology and the Performing Arts
Date : 12-11-2013 12:36 AM
(In September 2008 the American Chiropractic Association interviewed Dr. Saracino and
published a shorter version (seen at the “Doctor’s Media” navigational link) in the Journal of the
Chiropractic Neurologist relies on education and professionalism.
A curiosity about nutrition as a youngster and sports participation as a teen put
Mark Saracino, DC, DACAN of King of Prussia, Pa., on the path to becoming a
chiropractic neurologist. As a child, he noticed the difference that eating healthy
food, back-rub exchanges with an older brother and regular sports activities
made in the way he felt. This influenced his use of massage and exercise
therapies in practice. Before pursuing machine technology and the beginnings of
mechanical engineering he discovered the benefits of taking large dosages of
vitamin C to treat and prevent colds.
He was attracted to the seemingly infinite and constant changing body-ofknowledge
of the health sciences, requirement that physicians continue their
education, freedom-of-expression, ability to control one’s work environment and
schedule and the broad scope-of-practice chiropractic had to offer swayed his
decision. He was most influenced by how effective the use of natural methods is
when properly shown and described for obtaining optimal health. At the same
time, he was fully aware that it might not be the easiest road to follow since, in
the early Eighties, chiropractic was not fully understood and accepted in the
Philadelphia Suburban Area.
Why did you become a chiropractor?
After researching careers in osteopathy, medicine, physical therapy and other
holistic-healthcare professions, I concluded that the only holistic AND
independent profession was chiropractic. I believed it would allow for the ability to
control one’s destiny and maintain a healthy life-style.
Why did you choose to go to National University of the Health Sciences?
I knew there was skepticism about chiropractic in the public and medical
community, so I chose National because it was the best and most highly
regarded school of Chiropractic Medicine. National requires that each doctoral
candidate complete a four-year premedical curriculum and five years of
professional studies, including internship. It was the first chiropractic school to
be; regionally and chiropractic specific accredited; require a four-year
prerequisite; have a five-year term; and the first of its kind to have an on-campus
chiropractic hospital and publish a scientifically-indexed journal. It was also the
first chiropractic college to obtain university status so, I thought, it would the best
school to prepare me to serve patients and answer difficult questions about
Then you studied neurology. Why?
I wanted to learn more about neurology because it was one of the most difficult
and fascinating subjects in professional school. I was happy that, in 1979, the
first courses in clinical neurology were offered not far from where I live.
Chiropractic Neurology is a rare and exclusive post-doctoral sub-specialty degree
in chiropractic which requires a three year term, board examination and 30
continuing education credits a year. I hope others in chiropractic pursue
advanced degrees because it will better legitimize chiropractic. The ability to
provide a broader range-of-care than regular chiropractic is challenging and
You’ve treated many actors and dancers over the years. How so?
My office is adjacent to a hotel which had a dinner theater. It was only natural
that some of the performers would find their way to me being right next door.
One dancer suggested I help-out at a ballet studio a few towns away and I
wound up serving as a board member for 18 years. Then, word got out that I
was the ‘go-to’ chiropractor for the arts community. This experience allowed me
to learn quite a bit about treating performing arts injuries. A few years later I
delivered lectures to performing arts companies world-wide.
Dancers in particular must benefit from your care.
Dance is a small and under-funded sub-sector of the performing arts industry in
America. They struggle financially and are frequently not capable of receiving
the best care for their injuries. They need a lot of guidance and treatment,
because their classes and rehearsals, like athletic work-outs and practices, are
punishing. Most through the mid-Nineties were covered under mandatory
workers’ compensation policies even though they were employed out-of-state.
Then, most dancers were forced to sign ‘independent contractor’ statements
although they were not self-employed ‘independent contractors’. This allowed
their employers to not list them as employees; hence their ability to receive
worker’s compensation insurance policies was eliminated. Being low pay-scale
performers they did not have the money to pay for their own insurance and could
not afford to receive treatments as often as necessary. It’s amazing how
dedicated they are in spite of these struggles.
Do you have any memorable moments working with the performing arts?
Oh, yes! I was invited to lecture on the prevention of and home treatment for
performing arts injuries to Russian companies Bolshoi Ballet and Taganka
Theater in Moscow and the State Ballet Theater in Yekaterinburg (near Siberia).
I was given this opportunity by Ilse Liepa, a principle of the Bolshoi, whom I met
while performing in Wilmington, Delaware. I was honored to speak to the Bolshoi
dancers, the finest in the World, attending rehearsals and performances. Also,
enlightening was helping-out in Italy during the Parsons Dance Company’s (a
New York modern dance troupe) European tour. Feeling the excitement of the
Italians for an art-form relatively new to them was exciting. I felt proud to support
modern dance because it is what many consider to be a truly American art-form
in such a traditional society.
Were the Russians familiar with chiropractic?
Not as we know it. The Russian equivalent is a minimal, not respected and
utilized form of chiropractic known as “manual medicine”. In general, the
performers in Former Eastern Block Nations are supported well by their
government and treated much better than performing artists here. They are
granted access to the finest physicians and procedures. Conversely, the mostly
impoverished general public has access to a poor health care system. This
forced many to create their own holistic concoctions out-of-necessity
Doctor Memory : We're Here for YOU
Date : 11-25-2009 03:54 AM
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| Doctor prefers to hide his name
Doctor Memory : I become a doctor because my grandfather was a doctor
Date : 01-01-1970 01:00 AM
Pharaon S. From a Doctor's Memories: The First Lessons in Medicine. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2005;16:101-2:
One day, when I was tutoring in one of the general hospitals, I noted how weak the students were in English. I asked them to write an essay in English about why and how they came to choose Medicine as a career and profession. I was surprised and dismayed to note that the majority of them concluded: "because it is a lucrative job that affords a lot of money in the speediest time". As a result I wrote a long essay that I distributed to them. The essay was entitled:
"I become a doctor because my grandfather was a doctor".
As the essay was long, I will simply relate a resume of it, as if it were a tale.
There was once a little boy who liked to stand still, and for long periods of time, on the stone border of the lemon tree so as to peer through the window of the little room in which his beloved granddad used to treat his patients. His patients used to call him "Hakim". The Hakim used to welcome them, greet them, and ask them about their health, about their family members and about their neighbors. He used to re-assure them about their ailment, lift their morale and console them according to the situation. Bit by bit, the boy realized that these words were not mere courtesy but were true and real sentiments that his granddad sensed and lived by. The little boy has a particular recollection of a young man who came to see his granddad having had a deep cut in his hand. He remembers how his granddad was inserting the curved needle in his flesh and the man was crying of pain, as there was, then, no local anesthetic. The Hakim was saying soothing words to the young man and assuring him that it won't take long. Even when he completed the suturing, he kept his nice and kind words going on until the man felt relieved and forgot his pain. His granddad used to visit the surrounding villages, on Fridays, and used to take the little boy, his grandson, with him. He would set up his clinic to treat all ailed villagers in the mansion of the Mokhtar (the mayor).
The boy always noted that some of them put a few pieces of money in the Hakim's hand; others whispered a few words of apology because they were going through hard times and are in a stringent situation, and still some others brought little baskets of fruits or eggs, all they could afford. He was equally kind and had the same smile for all the cases. He, also, used to ask all of them about their kindred and neighbors who were his patients at some time or another. He, also, asked them about their inter-familial problems and differences and he would often offer his opinion and advice to solve these problems. It was clear and fascinating to the child that they, all and always, accepted his directives and advice with gratitude and relief.
One day, the boy's granddad fell ill. His cough became louder and more persistent and his temperature was high. In his illness, the Hakim kept caressing and saying kind words to the boy. One of his medical colleagues came to visit him after a few days. He tapped on his chest, brought out a huge syringe and pushed it deep into his bare chest. He withdrew yellowish frothy fluid, which he repeatedly emptied in a large bowl. This procedure of the needle going deep into his granddad's chest and sucking out of that frothy fluid made the boy feel dizzy and nauseated. In his little mind, he realized that a great danger was impending and that his beloved granddad was seriously ill, although the Hakim never complained. While the bewildered boy was watching ominously that chest maneuvers through the half-opened door, his granddad was staring at him with a deep and vague look. He never understood its meaning until two decades later he discovered what it meant to convey; his granddad was giving him the very first lesson in medicine and about the doctor's duties towards himself and towards his patients: to be calm, patient, kind and stoic even in the most dangerous moments.
Two or three days later his granddad died. During his funeral, the boy realized what his granddad meant to all the neighbors and to all the men of the surrounding villages, which he used to visit every Friday. They all participated in the funeral and many were weeping bitterly and silently. His granddad was not rich when he died, but still he was not poor either. The life in his old Arabic house went on for years and years, after his death as it used to be during his lifetime. He and his spirit kept alive and present in every corner of the house and in every event of the day. The boy understood all these facts when he finished his secondary school and realized that his granddad, some two decades back, was, in a taciturn way, pointing to the boy which way to follow and which career to choose: to be a doctor whose sole aim is to carry out his duties faithfully, diligently, patiently and in complete silence. This brilliant picture of the Doctor was engraved in that boy's mind and soul and stayed and will, forever, stay as brilliant and humane as ever.
Yesterday's boy and today's grey-haired doctor, remains with a young and loving heart and soul and wishes that that great picture of the doctor will keep its brilliance, noblesse and altruism throughout all ages that will come. Thus can good health, both somatic and psychic, peaceful co-existence and goodness prevail on this earth. ET IN TERRA PAX.