Meet Dr. Kathleen Bartlett

Dr. Kathleen Bartlett, DACM, MSTOM, LAc, one of only three Doctors of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine in the state of Maine, manages a growing practice with clinical success rates  higher than reported acupuncture studies. Hundreds of pain–free patients credit her with helping them heal on multiple levels.

Dr. Bartlett’s History

However, twenty years ago, she suffered from severe neck and back pain resulting from a series of car accidents that landed her on disability. Added to that, arthritic joint pain and devastating fatigue, due to Lyme disease, caused her to seek effective treatment from alternative sources. After great success with acupuncture treatment and homeopathy, she committed to help heal others.

Dr. Bartlett explains, “I answered a call to help others through relieving their suffering of illness and pain. This makes my life valuable and  meaningful. “

She walked away from her 16–hour days in wardrobing and costuming on Broadway to pursue a career in the natural healing methods that cured her. After years of study,  now  she proudly holds a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

In 2001, Dr. Bartlett, began her private practice in Blue Ridge mountain town of Asheville, NC. In 2013 she relocated to Scarborough, Maine. She chose Maine for the high quality of life and natural beauty it offers. In an era of skyrocketing health-care costs and abbreviated doctor visits, Dr. Bartlett prioritizes developing personal connections with her patients.

“I transformed through my illness.”

Empathic, Transformative Treatment

Dr. Bartlett wants her patients to understand they can also transform on all three levels: body, mind, spirit.

“I provide effective treatment for those suffering from pain and illness.”

She gives patients undivided attention during their complete treatment, that usually alleviates pain during the first session.

Dr. Bartlett also welcomes patients who would like to take their healing process a step further, as a gateway to a deeper spiritual journey. For example, patients can incorporate healing visualizations or learn meditation, qi gong exercises or yoga to create a healthy lifestyle to support their treatment.

Understanding Chinese Medicine

Dr. Bartlett emphasizes that Chinese medicine approaches treatment through the mind, body, and spirit for energetic healing on multiple levels. Often patients who come in for pain treatment discover increased energy and a sense of overall well-being.

She points out a major difference in approach: Western medicine commonly masks symptoms with a drug. Whereas Chinese medicine prioritizes treating the underlying root cause of disease.

“In Western medicine the tendency seems to rush to a prescription drug, which only masks symptoms, as opposed to healing the patient of their illness. I treat the patient’s pain and disease at the office visit, rather than sending them home with a script.” Dr. Bartlett incorporates a multi-pronged approach: incorporating acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) into each patient’s unique treatment plan.

Acupuncture works by opening blocked energy channels along specific meridians in the body. And a crucial, yet often overlooked vital component of releasing those blockages, is the qi (energy) of the patient, combined with the qi (energy) of the practitioner. The practitioner’s qi flows in through the needle to the patient. Qi is electric in nature. The metal needles conduct electricity. So the particular practitioner matters more than many people realize. Dr. Bartlett takes this responsibility seriously, and strengthens her own qi through physical and spiritual practices such as yoga, qi gong, and mindfulness, including several meditation retreats to a monastery in NY each year.

“I’m not just putting in needles, I bring and visualize healing energy going into the patient,” she says, “both consciously and unconsciously”.

A Complete Approach

An accomplished herbalist, Dr. Bartlett maintains a complete herbal pharmacy in her Scarborough clinic.

“In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we use herbs, rather than drugs, to treat disease. I compound individualized formulas for ninety percent of my patients.”

Dr. Bartlett studies with many respected herbal authorities, including TCM dermatologist Mazin Al Khafaji, Taiwanese herbalist and pulse master Dr. Jimmy Chang, Planetary herbalist Michael Tierra, herbal classic texts with Dr. Min Fan of Beijing University, Ken Morris, founder of the Institute of Chinese Herbology and master herbal cultivator, Joe Hollis of Mountain Gardens, providing a strong foundation in Chinese herbal medicine and multiple approaches to treatment.

She is known for her exceptionally thorough intake, a procedure that patients say pays off. Dr. Bartlett explains, “I don’t want to find out five weeks into treatment that a missing piece of information would have changed the strategy.”

Hundreds of Satisfied Patients

Paula Sellars, a company Vice President in Asheville, NC, had worked with many other acupuncturists. But when she found Dr. Bartlett, she found someone “exceptional” who displayed a level of patient-centered treatment unmatched in the current medical climate that tends to favor a one-size-fits-all approach.

“I felt totally cared for, as though no stone was left unturned,” Sellars says. “More than once in the course of my treatment, Dr. Bartlett offered me a particular protocol, only to return with one more idea or procedure that made a difference. It proved she was not on auto–pilot. She thought about me as an individual.”

Another patient, Grace Avery, came to Dr. Bartlett suffering from chronic illness, back pain, fatigue, headaches and digestive problems. Avery says: “Never having acupuncture before, I came to her so, so, so sick and very scared because my body was failing and shutting down big time. I knew conventional medicine was not for me. I became well and stronger than I ever have been.”

Avery says Dr. Bartlett “listened with compassion… She paid attention to every detail that was going on with me and would expertly prescribe the suitable herbs and acupuncture treatment. She thoughtfully encouraged whole health – mind, body, spirit. One can sense she is deeply and genuinely dedicated to her patients and to the art of real healing.”

Dr. Bartlett sees her patients’ complexities as opportunities to highlight the body’s natural ability to thrive, when given the right support and conditions. In treating her patients, she is not only helping them heal, but also growing as a doctor.

“The most difficult cases challenge me to learn new treatment strategies. I can’t sit back and rotely repeat tried and true protocols. I am forced to thoroughly re-evaluate what I am doing, re-work the treatment plan, and implement new methods and techniques.”

Gail Astle, a cancer patient discovered online that acupuncture is endorsed for reducing chemotherapy side effects by leading cancer center institutes including Duke University, Mayo Clinic, and Sloan Kettering. She then sought treatment with Dr. Bartlett.

Astle discovered that “Dr. Bartlett’s medical expertise and communication skills, accompanied by commitment and persistence to a successful treatment plan, made her outstanding.” She now wholeheartedly recommends Dr. Bartlett to the growing numbers of people seeking relief from chemotherapy side effects and looking for less toxic ways to treat their illnesses.

“After my experience, I believe acupuncture is an important approach to helping the body’s ability to fight cancer and help restore the normal cells targeted for destruction by the potent chemotherapy.”

In cases where conventional medicine says nothing can be done, Chinese medicine often steps in with a solution.

In fact, Dr. Bartlett says many of her patients walk in the door as a last resort. It’s something she understands, given her own reluctance to try acupuncture years ago. When her pain became unbearable, she felt she had nothing to lose. Through acupuncture, she realized she had everything to gain.

C. Surrett, a registered nurse from Georgia, has a similar story. She lost work for a year-and-a- half after an extended illness. “I had seen Infectious Disease, Oncology, and Pulmonology specialists,” she recalls. “In one month, Dr. Bartlett got me back on my feet. In the beginning, I was skeptical and then, when my conditions improved, I knew I had found answers to problems that the docs hadn’t been able to fix.”

That answer comes in the form of healing that blends science, intuition, and energy.

Along with her energy and expertise, Dr. Bartlett brings compassion and empathy into the treatment room. Her caring demeanor, combined with medical knowledge, produces hundreds of healthy patients confident in Dr. Bartlett’s capable hands.

The Balance Method

I use a style of acupuncture called The Balance Method TM. It is  an effective form of acupuncture to get to the root of pain. In fact, most patients feel immediate pain relief during their first visit, right on the table. The Balance Method TM was developed by Dr. Richard Tan of San Diego, and it works by needling acupuncture points indirectly linked to the painful areas. Ankle points, for example, are used to treat wrist pain. Not only have I had incredible success treating patients using this method, I’ve also experienced the results myself. Dr. Tan gave me one treatment when I had pain radiating down my arm for several years, and the pain never returned!

The The Balance Method TM  also treats internal conditions using an elegant combination of acupuncture points thoughtfully designed to balance the body’s energies and acupuncture channels. Patients experience deep relaxation and healing with these Global Balance treatments, such as Dr. Tan’s 12 Magic Points. Global Balance treatments resolve many internal conditions, such as digestive problems, fatigue, stress related issues and gyn conditions.

In Another Life…

Many patients are surprised to learn that although Chinese medicine is now my life work, it is a second career for me. I learned to sew at age 10, and turned my hobby into my first career. I majored in design at UCLA and began working in wardrobe and costuming in New York and Los Angeles. I worked at Radio City Music Hall, the Metropolitan Opera and on Broadway, sewing costumes and dressing actors for shows including Guys and Dolls and Phantom of the Opera. Film and television credits include Law and Order. You can see I am skilled with needles!

On a personal note, I am a long-time environmentalist who eats organic food, lives a toxin-free life, and recycles everything I can. I have two sweet dogs, who I love dearly: Bodhi is a whippet mix and Georgia rescue. Sattva is the cutest puggle! Together, their names are Bodhisattva: Spiritual beings who selflessly dedicate themselves to working tirelessly for the benefit of others.

You will find us taking snowy walks in the woods, and sunset strolls on Scarborough’s beaches or around Portland’s Back Cove.