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updated 2:54 PM UTC, Jul 28, 2018

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Dr. Bob Greczanik, the guru of athletes' acupuncture care, has helped the health of the stars

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When I first met acupuncturist guru Robert (Dr. Bob) Greczanik, he had just returned from the Brazil Olympics in 2016—a mutual friend of Greczanik and the family of Jeremy Taiwo, the U.S.A. Number two, a decathlete, had paid him to come along because Taiwo always performed best when Dr. Bob worked with him.

Taiwo finished 111h in the 2016 Olympics but had been in first place after the first day’s five events, and Dr. Bob still expresses frustrations at not being able to work with Taiwo during the second day’s five events.

I soon learned that Dr. Bob, whose acupuncture expertise he describes as “combining Eastern and Western healing modalities,” helped Taiwo stay healthy and focused leading up to the Games and has served athletes of all ages and all sports.

So you have to earn the title guru. And you can judge how well it’s earned by the endorsement of companies and individuals to whom you have provided service.

And among those are several Seattle Seahawks, including former Seahawk Nate Burleson, now a CBS sports commentator.

“It never ceases to amaze me in my 20 years of working with him that when I was playing in the NFL he made me feel like the best version of myself, and now that I am retired, he makes me feel like a teenager again," said Burleson.

Dr.Bob's white boards where notes put up for group discussion 'kind of come alive in the conversations'Dr.Bob's white boards where notes put up for group discussion 'kind of come alive in the conversations'Despite the involvement he has with athletes of various professional sports, his first love is basketball. At 6-4, he starred in college at Whittier in suburban Los Angeles and takes every Friday off so he can spend the day playing high-level pickup games against mostly former college players.

Thus it’s appropriate that one of the players he likes to talk about working with is Jamal Crawford, the Rainier Beach High School star who, after staring at Michigan, went on to a 20-year NBA career that included a stop with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Crawford worked frequently with Dr. Bob, who told me of one occasion when Jamal called him to say he was going to be out a month with a back issue.

“So I flew back to treat him, and the next night, he played and scored 30 points,” Dr. Bob recalls with a smile.

His daughter, Makena, was an All-Metro star for Eastside Catholic this year and enrolled this fall at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA.

And Dr. Bob. who is 54, will admit, in conversations about what lies ahead, that his goal is to be hired full-time by an NBA team so his focus can be one group of pro basketball players to bring them to their maximum potential.

I visit with him about weekly, and usually not to be treated but to talk (and me to listen). And on about every other visit, he takes a minute because of some recent incident to express his frustration at what he calls “the lack of society’s understanding of the impact drugs have on minds and bodies.”

“I’m concerned about the kids as well as my athletes,” he said. “People don’t realize you can crank marijuana up to the equivalent of 600-proof alcohol. It can kill you.”

“It’s a problem that could be solved by those who have the authority in schools or elected office, but they don’t want to risk upsetting people, who will protest ‘quit intruding in our lives,’” he added.

Greczanik’s client base is largely athletes ranging across the U.S. and across the sports spectrum of professionals, college and younger athletes, as well as individuals. And he emphasizes that acupuncture
is only part of what he does, always referring to his energy treatment and specifying it's what "creates a zone for teams."

The first professional athlete he treated was Cindy Brown, one of the most talented women's basketball stars in college and professional ranks during the ‘90s. She was playing for the Seattle Reign of the ABL Women’s League and was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder in 1997 when Dr. Bob worked with the team, so when she got injured, he had to get her back healthy.

The first professional team to reach out to him was the Milwaukee Bucks, who asked him in 1999 to work with them long enough to treat Sam Cassell’s ankle. He took care of the ankle in three days so the Bucks had him work with the team for the remainder of a season in which they were near last place when he arrived but finished 42-40 and won a place in the playoffs.

Fortunately for me, you don’t have to be a star athlete to be one of Dr. Bob’s patients/clients. So, as a senior sprinter, becoming more senior each year, I frequently find, during one of my track workouts. A muscle somewhere on one of my legs advising me, with a painful tug, to get over it and act my age.

So it is that on each such occasion, I head for his clinic in the Hidden Valley area of Bellevue and stretch out on a cot with his needles inserted painlessly over not just the injured part of my body but, in ways I don’t understand, over other areas.

Twice, his treatments were needed shortly before I was to head off to run in the World Senior Games. And in both cases, he inserted needles, and when he pulled them out, and I asked, "what now?" the Answer was, "go run."

It was on one of those occasions when I arrived before Dr. Bob and was waiting outside his office, a huge guy in a Buffalo Bills jacket walked up.

“You looking for Dr. Bob? He’ll be back in a few minutes,” I told him, then asked, “What’s with Bill's jacket.”

“I’m a starting tackle, and I screwed up my knee so my agent told me to come see this guy,’ he replied.

That reminded me of the start of the 2017 NFL season when Dr. Bob told me: “Well, I talked with the Buffalo Bills coach, and I’m going back there.”

“How do you know the Bills coach?” I asked.

“I don’t know him, and he doesn’t know me, but players talk, and some players indicated they wanted me to help them.”

So he spent the first three games with the Bills, who won all three in upsets. In the first game, the Bills quarterback had his best game after personally working with Dr. Bob.

I told Dr Bob before he headed back for the third game, an upset of Denver, “You need to get a contract that permits you to talk about what you do.”

The reason for the suggestion was the reluctance of some teams to discuss the fact they have an acupuncturist or, worse yet, what Dr. Bob describes as “other energetic technologies” helping the team win.

He’s experienced teams’ traditional medical personnel, uncomfortable with a person providing non-traditional medicine, pushing back on his impact on the health and performance of the teams he works with.

On another topic, I once asked him about the chair-sized crystals around his offices, and, as often happens in our conversations, that brought a lesson in psychological and physiological issues.

That led him to tell me about his mentor, Jeffrey Yuen, a Chinese teacher he travels to New York to meet with several times a year. Yuen has been his mentor for years since Dr. Bob went to his lecture on “alchemy, longevity, and stones.” Yuen came to regard his student highly enough that he told Dr. Bob he was admitting him to his lineage, 88 generations of Chinese learning.

So I looked up “Master Yuen” on Bing, which has become a favorite source of information searches in recent work. my search told me.

“Master Yuen has made significant contributions to the field of acupuncture and Classical Chinese Medicine through his work at institutions such as the Swedish Institute in New York and the American University of Complementary Medicine in Los Angeles.”

“I’ve taken about 50 seminars from him,” Dr. Bob said. Thus came the crystals.

His formal education included getting his Master's of Science in Health and Human Performance at Pacific College of Health and Sciences in California in a program focused on how to use integrative medicine to enhance human function and optimize performance.

There are two whiteboards in Dr. Bob’s office, filled with the notes and phrases flowing from the periodic visits and discussions involving athletes and even some groups from Microsoft and Amazon.

“We put something on the wall and talk about it, and it kind of comes alive in discussion and stays there to pick up next time,” he explained.

Dr. Bob likes to focus on and discuss parts of the body and how to keep them healthy and issues relating to the brain and its parts and how to keep them healthy.

So that led this past weekend to a most interesting discussion on an issue that few people are aware of: How PTSD frequently leads to PTG (which stands for Post Traumatic Growth), discovered in 1995 by two professors at UNC-Charlotte.

So again, I went to Bing:

“With PTG those who have experienced severe traumatic events actually find themselves better able to grow interpersonally as a result. It refers to more than just optimism or resilience but actual personal transformations,” said the site. Apparently, about 50 percent of trauma survivors experience post-traumatic growth.

So Dr. Bob’s explanation: Acupuncture Can help with PTSD and can assist with PTG because it deals with the limbic brain centers, hippocampus, and amygdala that deal with emotions and memory.
 
As I look back over this column, I realize some readers might misjudge it as a sales pitch for Robert Greczanik. (In fact, I have sent several of my friends who had injuries to have successful visits with him).

But in fact, I merely decided I wanted to write about interesting people in my column, and after repeatedly thinking, as I left his office, “I should write a column on this guy,” this is what came out.
 
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