It’s commonly thought that holistic medicine and traditional Western medicine are opposing practices. Likewise, plant therapy and pharmaceuticals are often considered incompatible. But not so for Caroline Pena.
As a nationally double-board-certified acupuncturist, Mrs. Blanke-Pena administers her vitamin and homeopathic injection therapy, herbology, and acupuncture alongside the office of a medical doctor. She and Dr. Shekhar Sharma, MD, of Palm Beach Primary Care Associates share the same waiting room and work area.
They refer to each other depending on the individual medical needs of their patients—a feature that sets her apart from most practitioners.
Mrs. Blanke-Pena, in fact, is living her dream of bringing the two trains of medical thought into one space. As many proponents of holistic treatments have been opposed to traditional medicine, Caroline is not. She is careful not to speak against Western medicine nor does she advise patients to decline their medications.
However, when the holistic treatments work, patients often stop taking their meds on their own, under the careful watch of their medical doctor. Although she first prescribes a natural remedy, when necessary, she can conveniently refer her patients to a Western medical professional who works across the hall.
It was Mrs. Blanke-Pena’s personal experience that compelled her to pursue a career in holistic medicine. As a sufferer of severe female endocrine issues for more than 10 years at the time, she received a gamut of pharmaceutical treatments resulting in a myriad of side effects, with no good long-term results.
Someone suggested acupuncture. After three sessions, Mrs. Blanke-Pena’s issues were healed and she experienced—for the first time in years—menses by natural means. Soon after, she conceived the first of her two children, something that would not have been possible while undergoing pharmaceutical therapy.
After that, she dove into the field because of her own success with the holistic approach. Her Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio State University set the foundation to embark upon natural medicine whole-heartedly. Her long-held interest in herbs, plants, and natural medicine could now be realized.
Mrs. Blanke-Pena attended Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine, a nationally board-certified and accredited school, and achieved two additional college degrees: a second Bachelor’s degree in Health and Science and a Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Post-graduation, the licensing was rigorous and demanded the passing of four National Board Exams, one being in Chinese Herbal Medicine, which is presented in Pinyin, rather than English. This meant she learned hundreds of individual herbs and formulas in their Chinese name.
Her double board certifications gave Caroline Pena a professional edge due to extensive hours and training. Soon after this training, she opened her own practice, Holistic Health Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida.
Mrs. Blanke-Pena cares for patients suffering from chronic and acute pain, high blood pressure, severe skin issues, PTSD, depression, and anxiety, to name a few. Her top treatment is injection therapy.
She uses homeopathic, FDA-regulated formulas. These products have been utilized for 50 years in France and Germany and have finally been approved in the US. Her technique has excelled in reversing chronic radiating pain and skin conditions.
Arnica, a plant derivative, is administered for sciatica, pain, and bruising, substituting traditional steroid-based pain treatments. Hence, the deteriorating side effect of steroids is avoided. In fact, there are no known side-effects from this homeopathic protocol, with the exception of minimal pain from injection.
The second treatment Mrs. Blanke-Pena specializes in is herbology. She looks at the whole body, not just the isolated symptom. The tongue and pulse are the first areas to examine. A good read of what is going on in the whole body can be deduced from these areas—diagnosis that has been used for thousands of years.
Deeper issues may require blood tests for micronutrient or food allergy testing, which are offered in-office.
The third treatment is acupuncture, which is used for PTSD, anxiety, skin issues, pain, depression, and insomnia. Depression, she says, can be a result of digestive and liver issues. When a treatment renders ineffective, such as in more serious conditions like high blood pressure, she is quick to refer her patients to the medical doctor residing in the office.
Mrs. Blanke-Pena’s goal is to get her patients “out of care,” rather than have them return for repeated visits. She wants to see them as happy, vibrant, and energetic as they can be. Clients often compliment Mrs. Blanke-Pena on how she intentionally educates them.
Her thorough explanations of procedures allows her patients to buy in through better understanding, which results in positive outcomes. The more she educates, the easier it is to convince doubters. They learn that natural medicine is not hocus-pocus, but based on empirical evidence and science.
Caroline Pena is a lifetime learner and has sought out the best in her field to continue to sharpen her skills. One such mentor was Dr. Donese Worden. After determined inquiry, Mrs. Blanke-Pena was able to spend a weekend observing Dr. Wordon in her busy Arizona practice.
Besides discovering that she was doing a good job with her own injection therapy, Mrs. Blanke-Pena received one-on-one training in treating facial skin conditions using a very specialized injection technique called French Nappage and Mesotherapy, creating what is known as the MesoGlow, as well as other useful techniques to treat pain.
After one application of this therapy on a patient with severe skin problems in her Wellington, Florida practice, the patient’s skin was 70% cleared up. Mrs. Blanke-Pena’s weekend with Dr. Worden was one of the most inspirational and informative sessions of her professional life.
When asked what she might say to a student debating an occupation in holistic medicine, she answered: “I think there can’t be enough good holistic physicians.” According to her, “If you have a holistic passion, there’s a wide scope of modalities under the Licensed Acupuncturist umbrella to choose from as a career.”
Mrs. Blanke-Pena would like to advance her area of influence by taking speaking engagements to further educate groups and communities on the benefits of holistic medicine.