Thursday, October 20, 2011

Interview with Dr. Martin J. Herbkersman, National Board Certified Practitioner of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, Oriental Reproductive Medicine, and Herbology in Columbia, SC.

Earlier this month, through the good offices of my wife and daughter, both longtime patients, Dr. Martin J. Herbkersman, agreed to a CarolinaConsidered interview. Dr. Herbkersman certainly is one of South Carolina’s interesting people.
Now, South Carolina – and Columbia, South Carolina in particular – is chuck-full of physicians. I don’t know off-hand just how many, but they’re thick on the ground here. Maybe the presence of the USC School of Medicine has something to do with it. Or the large number of retirees who’ve had the good sense to make Columbia their home, giving the medical care industry more work here than elsewhere. But for whatever reason, Columbia seems to have lots of physicians.

Few of them, however, practice traditional Asian, or Oriental, medicine.
And even fewer members of that minuscule population are NCCAOM Board certified practitioners. More on NCCAOM Board certification in a moment. But Dr. Herbkersman is both.

You’ll find Dr. Herbkersman’s office on Columbia’s Bull Street. Be sure you’re driving north; then turn in at this “1920” sign to park.
Here he maintains an office typical of small medical practices in this part of the country.

Unpretentious inside and out, providing visitors a subdued, even calming, environment in which to wait for consultation and treatment.

There are a few reminders of the Asian foundation of the medicine practiced here. But the overall impression I received during this first visit was more that of a regular, comfortable medical office with well trained staff.

After a short wait, Dr. Herbkersman introduced himself and we went into his private office to chat. Raised right here in Columbia, he earned his four-year undergraduate degree at USC. Majoring, as he said, “in fraternity.” Upon graduation he embarked upon a successful South Carolina business career.
No Asian background, or thought of a career in Oriental medicine. In fact, as he explains in the audio clip below, he and his brothers developed South Carolina’s first microbrewery. In Hilton Head. The Hilton Head Brewing Company. Click the link for a peek. And then a few others. It wasn’t until age 31 that Dr. Herbkersman decided to change direction and pursue Oriental medicine. Have a listen:

[If the audio file fails to play in your browser, click here to listen]

I then asked Dr. Herbkersman to explain just how he and his family made such an important decision, and what it entailed. Listen again.

[If the audio file fails to play in your browser, click here to listen]

That’s quite a change. And a considerable challenge for anyone. Let alone a successful South Carolina restaurant developer and brewmaster!

Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine in Santa Monica, founded in 1983 by Bong Dal Kim, required at least an additional four years of difficult post-graduate study. And that was just the beginning. There were additional courses in fields such as Asian pharmaceuticals, or Asian herbal medicine, and all sorts of exams and certifications added to the challenge.

[Again, if you don't see the audio link in your browser, click here.]

I already had imposed on Dr. Herbkersman’s time for longer than agreed. But I wanted to know more about the sorts of patients he treats. Here is his response to that question.

[Finally, one more link to the audio if your browser doesn't present it properly.]

So there you have it. A few minutes with another of South Carolina’s interesting people. This one providing “another health care choice” to the people of Columbia.
NCCAOM Certification
Click here, by the way, to learn more about the NCCAOM, or National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Their website is chuck-full of information about Oriental medicine, including acupuncture. A good place to start to learn more about this increasingly popular field of medicine. Click the image above from their Website to get a better idea of what NCCAOM certification requires. Oh my.

Thanks again, Dr. Herbkersman, for your contribution of time and expertise to the CarolinaConsidered Project.
Next week we’ll be returning to Cheraw, South Carolina. Another of those interesting places in this remarkable state. I’m hoping while there to meet Cheraw’s new Tourism and Community Development Director, David Sides. So stay tuned!

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