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Spotlight: Osterville Acupuncture

Ancient Healing Arts: Acupuncturist Helps Heal in a Modern World

Clients of Osterville Acupuncture find treatment in a beautifully-restored barn’s clean, spare interior. Mellow tones of Tibetan meditation music and the fragrance of fresh herbs fill the air. It’s all a tactile representation of the inner well-being Gwen Carlton hopes to help clients find.

Osterville Acupuncture • 1336 Main St., Ostervillemicroneedlingcapecod.com
508-208-5555 • Photo by Karen Hunter

“I’m so lucky I found the location I did,” she says, describing the old renovated barn at 1336 Main Street. “It’s behind a beautiful greenhouse. The whole space just has this wonderful healing feeling about it.”

Acupuncture, she says, is a kind of “rebooting of the nervous system.”

“Since 2020, as a collective experience, we’re all in this fight or flight situation,” she says. “In that fight or flight space, the body is unable to figure out how to heal itself. This really helps.”

Carlton treats a broad array of issues such as chronic illnesses, joint pain, autoimmune problems, migraines, insomnia, and skin problems. She also works on cosmetic concerns, helping people with adult acne, textural issues or aging skin.

Carlton’s path to becoming an acupuncturist wasn’t a straight one.

“When I was in college, I was a speech communication major,” she says with a broad smile. “It’s a classical liberal arts major – a lot of deep thinking, studying rhetoric and literature. I was also a classical pianist as well. After I graduated, I became a yoga instructor.”

She laughs at the incongruity of that first step, which led to a second —becoming a massage therapist. Then, on to acupuncture. Carlton acknowledges this leg of her journey makes a bit more sense.

“With yoga and massage therapy, I realized I wanted to do more.” She chose to attend Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, noting with pride the school’s reputation as one of the best.  After graduating and moving to the Cape, Carlton ultimately found her current office.

In retrospect, Carlton’s past makes a quirky kind of sense. Being a pianist showed her how to build muscle memory and make classic techniques her own. College opened her thinking to different approaches to problems. Yoga taught her how muscles interact, deepening her skill as a massage therapist. Doing massage helped her understand how to find hidden places in the body for needle placement. 

“I like the idea that it’s not one kind of medicine or the other. There are holes in Western medicine that acupuncture can fill,” she says. “It’s like different experiences coming together to make you who you are.”



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