GLENDALE–A tradition carried on by Armenia’s for centuries came into practice once again Friday evening as dozens gathered in Glendale for the grand opening of a health clinic that combines traditional Chinese medicine with the ancient healing arts of Armenian culture.
Dr. Aram Akopyan’s "Total Wellness Center for the Healing Arts," located in the 105th suite at 125 E. Glenoaks Blvd, stands as a bridge between different worlds, time and geographies. It is the only place in town where people can go for a holistic approach to their health care, which not only incorporates the cultures of East and West, but also the ancient traditions of natural Armenian medicine, a healing art that some had feared was being forgotten amid the flurry of the modern age.
The opening ceremony, which was attended by family and friends, patients and students, community members and public officials, featured live music by Erika Satie, one of Dr. Akopyan’s patients, who also started going to his free Qi Gong (Chi Gong) classes about eight months ago as part of her treatment regiment. Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese form of moving meditation involving coordinated breathing with exercises that have a therapeutic effect on the mind and body.
"I suffer from a chronic illness and his treatmen’s, which include Qi Gong exercises and acupuncture, have helped me get stronger and better as each month goes by," Satie explained after singing a repertoire of songs she had written for the occasion. "His treatmen’s have helped my health tremendously, given me more energy, and helped me become more flexible."
"I first met Aram at the City of Glendale, when the employee human relations coalition had invited him to talk about China and his travels and studies there," said Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian during his keynote address at the center’s opening ceremony. "When I heard about an Armenian in China speaking at City Hall, my curiosity peaked. His talk was the most fascinating program I’d heard in a long time."
Kassakhian, who was one of Dr. Akopyan’s earliest Qi Gong students, explained that those who know Dr. Akopyan know that he is a repository of information about health and better living.
"Very few of us will ever get the chance to venture outside our comfort zone to see the natural beauty of China, but here was someone who had actually studied the science, was applying it, and was teaching it to people because of his passion for it," he said.
One of Dr. Akopyan’s specialties is herbal skin treatment. Many of his patients on Friday discussed their personal stories about how he helped rejuvenate their facial skin after excessive damage caused by pharmaceutical side effects or chemical burns.
"I originally came to know Dr. Akopyan through his first office. I had skin problems in the chin area. I had gone to a dermatologist and they had given me medication to put on it but that medication irritated my skin and burnt it layer by layer," explained Ana Hatamian, a patient of nine months. "Since October, he has put me on treatmen’s that he has basically made himself and I am seeing incredible results. I am very, very happy."
Another patient, Katherin Rosenwink, had similarly experienced a complete recovery from severe facial burns. She explained that when she sought treatment from regular doctors for the burns, they just wanted to prescribe ineffectual pills. But Dr. Akopyan put her on an herbal and natural regiment, which not only healed her skin, but helped drastically reduce the extreme blood pressure caused by the mold she had been exposed to.
The consensus from his patients in attendance was that unlike other doctors who just wanted to treat symptoms or superficial problems, Dr. Akopyan wanted to treat the whole person–the body, mind and spirit.
According to Dr. Akopyan’s former teacher, Dr. Maoshing Ni, Chinese medicine views the mind and body as inseparable. In his book, "Secrets of Self Healing," Dr. Maoshing talks about the body’s own self-healing capabilities, which acupuncture, traditional medicine, and Qi Gong help to activate and stimulate.
"Traditional Chinese medicine empowers individuals to actually participate in the healing process and learn how to maintain their health," Dr. Maoshing stressed.
"The world of Qi Gong, and traditional Chinese medicine that Aram has opened me up to helps me to better navigate and find tranquility in an increasingly stressful society," said Vazken Kassakhian another student of Dr. Akopyan. "His treatmen’s and exercises have not only given me greater flexibility and energy, they have helped me to find a balance in my life, which has opened up areas of creativity in my personal and work life as well."
But how does an Armenian, living in the United States and working in corporate America end up going to China and returning to Glendale as a traditional healer, asked Ardashes Kassakhian. During his speech he highlighted the historic fascination Armenia’s have held toward the East.
"Standing at the center of East and West, the Armenia’s, for thousands of years, were the arbiters of not just goods to the West, but also of knowledge," he explained. "Just like King Hetum I of Cilicia, who in 1270 became the only Western King to travel to the capital of the Mongolian Empire to pay homage to the rising super power with gifts from Armenia, Aram is keeping the spirit of his ancestors alive, by bridging the knowledge gap between East and West and helping us realize that the simple remedies we grew up with were good for us and will continue to be good for us."
As an ancient culture, Armenia’s have always lived in harmony with nature and reaped the rewards of longevity, strength and good health, according to Dr. Akopyan, who noted that this ancient tradition is being lost in the fury of the fast moving, instant gratification style of the western age.
"We are losing our connection to the earth and with it I am afraid our ability for a long, healthy and happy life," he said. "When I studied in China I was amazed at the respect with which the Chinese culture viewed the Armenia’s. Many of my teachers there recognized our medicinal contributions to the holistic healing arts, such as apricot seeds, vortan karmir, balsam, urts and even the use of Bee Stings at acupuncture points for a variety of joint problems."
"In Armenia at the Matenadaran I was blessed to rediscover an entire wealth of ancient Armenian traditional medicine," he added. "My hope with my new clinic is to establish a community resource for my culture and the general community, to bridge the gap of Eastern and Western healing paradigms, reintroduce our ancient Traditional Armenian medicine, and help guide us back to the path of living in harmony with nature."
"I welcome everyone to join us on the path to total wellness," Dr. Akopyan remarked.
For more information, visit Dr. Aram Akopyan’s website at: http://www.aramakopyan.com
He offers free Tai Qi and Qi Gong classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8am. Dr. Akopyan also has a show on Qi Gong and better living on Horizon Armenian Television (HorizonArmenianTelevision.com). The show airs Monday through Friday at 8:30 am and 2:30 pm.
For further information please call: 818-507-6168
Following the grand opening, Asbarez sat down with Dr. Akopyan for a one on one, to talk more about traditional medicine, Qi, acupuncture, and life. The full interview can be read in Saturday’s edition of the Asbarez.