The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


Roberta Gacsal, a surgical technician and later registered nurse at St. Charles Mercy Hospital since 1959, had been dealing with pain for some time.

    Dr. Norman G. Zavela

“I had slipped and didn’t actually fall, but I must have done something to the hip area. I had gone and had pain pills. I’ve had epidermals and nothing seemed to help it,” Gacsal said.

Then she found an ancient form of Chinese medicine that is claimed to stimulate and increase the flow of vital energy, Qi (pronounced “chee”), throughout the body. Most of us know this procedure as acupuncture.

This is accomplished by inserting needles at very precise acupuncture points located near or on the surface of the skin. Acupuncture points are explained as “areas of decreased electrical resistance.” These areas have been plotted out by Chinese practitioners for over 2,000 years and have been shown to be effective in treating specific conditions, literature from a local clinic claims.

“With the acupuncture, I can’t believe it. I should probably knock on wood here,” Gacsan said. “I haven’t had a have a treatment for a year. It is marvellous.”

Today, Gacsal, who works part time at a hospital, spends part of her workday as an RN at Dr. Z’s Acupuncture Clinic on 3775 Truman Road. Dr. Norman G. Zavela’s clinic is located just west of State Route 420 in northern Troy Township.

Gacsal says she has seen Dr. Zavela’s treatment change lives.

“I just cannot give enough compliments to the gentleman. If I couldn’t believe in it, I couldn’t work with him,” Gacsal said.

She admits she was once sceptical. When the treatments first began, she became even more sceptical.

“He was in my ear for something that was in my hip. I thought, ‘What’s all this about?” Gacsal said. “But, I just couldn’t believe it because at first the pain wasn’t gone. So he said, ‘Just come back a couple times,’ and I had to have further treatments. But I’m great.”

At times, gentle heat or electrical stimulation is applied. The physician will make a diagnosis based upon Chinese medicine. The physician will take a history of your illness and conduct an examination that will also include an assessment of your pulse and tongue. Once the physician has made a diagnosis, he will choose acupuncture points appropriate for your treatment.


Gacsal’s treatments have gone beyond caring for her hip pain.

“I had the carpal tunnel syndrome and he put some needles in my hands and arms and right now I am pain free and I’m so happy. It’s taken several treatments but I don’t need surgery. He is very helpful,” Gacsal said.

Dr. Z’s is one of about a dozen acupuncture clinics in the Toledo area, including several in Perrysburg. A medical doctor certified in acupuncture and anaesthesiology, Dr. Zavela started practicing acupuncture in Akron in 1996.

Medical acupuncture is different from ordinary acupuncture.  Acupuncture is a very old medical art and has many approaches to learning and practicing it.  Medical acupuncture is a term used to describe acupuncture performed by a medical doctor trained and licensed in western medicine who also has thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty practice.

Dr. Zavela spends part of his week as an anaesthesiologist at St. Charles Mercy Hospital, He opened his own acupuncture clinic in April, 2001, and he says business is good.

“It has been picking up. We’ve been out there for almost a year now at our new location, and people like it,” Dr. Zavela said. “It’s a more relaxed atmosphere and it gets them out of that hospital mindset. People find its more relaxing and more personable care we can give them out there.”

Areas acupuncture is practiced include sports medicine, acute injuries, sports injuries, chronic conditions (arthritis and degenerate conditions), sprains, strains, sinusitis, asthma, and headaches. Dr. Zavela offers treatments for weight loss and those wishing to be free from smoking addiction.

Medical acupuncture claims to help the body heal more quickly and completely, enhance the immune system, and augment the capacity for work, pleasure, and creativity. Some of his patients have been high school and college athletes.

“A lot of research has gone out on it looking at the nerve pathways and neurochemicals and the hormones and the affects it has on regulating those and regulating the immune system, too,” Dr. Zavela said. “We treat a lot of people with allergies and those kinds of things.

“For acute problems a lot of times those can be resolved in just a couple of treatments. For some of the chronic conditions that we are dealing with like degenerate arthritis or chronic allergies, sometimes people need to come in on a regular basis, or every other month,” Dr. Zavela continued.

“Advantages are sustaining (pain) release and it has minimal side effects. It’s becoming more mainstream medicine and is combining with the contemporary treatments. They’ve been having good results. It usually takes a few treatments to last a release, but most people start noticing good release with a certain amount of changes just after starting treatments.”

Some insurance policies cover the treatments. Dr. Zavela suggests potential patients should check with their provider.

“I wish they would do this for alternative medicine, because it’s a great feature,” Gacsal said.



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