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Doctor brings acupuncture to ordinary Kapampangan

GUAGUA, PAMPANGA—At 70, Dr. Maria Miguela Santiago remains active in her brand of community health work in this town.

This eye, ear, nose and throat specialist has been helping people restore or retain good health by combining the use of western medical approaches and acupuncture for cure.

She has also been applying the two alternative methods to ease disorders like rheumatism, gout, migraine, hypertension and body pains.

A licensed acupuncturist, she has trained 1,442 people, mostly mothers, to do acupressure on sick relatives and neighbors.

Santiago has done these in the last 36 years, during much of the 44 years since she moved into this town from San Pablo City in Laguna in 1966.

She has not lost love for this former Pampanga business capital, especially the old Betis district, because this was her husband Manuel’s beloved place, where they built their family and worked as a team in bringing services to common people.

To people here, she is Doctora Leleng and her late husband, Attorney Manoling.

Manuel gave free legal services to the poor, taught new planting techniques to Aetas and lowland farmers and introduced baseball to poor boys and girls. He died in 2005, after serving as Guagua mayor and bringing reforms to the town.

Santiago began practicing acupuncture in 1974, 11 years after she finished medicine at the University of Santo Tomas. She trained under Dr. Helen Paulino-Abundo, director of the Philippine Acupuncture Center and among the first Filipinos who trained in China.

“I took Dr. Abundo’s classes to cure my migraine,” she says.

Then she turned to acupuncture in treating patients with tinnitus (Meniere’s syndrome or ringing in the ears), later vertigo and sudden blindness.

Santiago says she does not advise patients to stop seeing doctors.

“I’m happy seeing people get well,” she says.

By Tonette Orejas
Central Luzon Desk

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 News





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