Dr. Tom Ingegno, DACM
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Charm City Integrative Health
Dr. started Charm City Integrative Health in 2016. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Charm City Integrative Health?
If we’re going all the way back, my family started me at a young age with a line I’m sure many have heard before, “You’re smart you should be a doctor.” Growing up I would help my grandfather in his pharmacy with stocking shelves, cleaning and things like that. I remember him very clearly counting out pills one day and saying to me, “This guy needs to take three of these a day every day of his life.”
The pills cost $5 a piece and for a guy barely making minimum wage that was a huge amount. He then said to me, “You’re going to need to figure it out.” Through a string of events and experiences that I would consider serendipitous, I ended up receiving a postcard from an acupuncture school during the winter break of my junior year of college.
I was enrolled two weeks later and I never looked back.
When I moved to Baltimore in 2006, I was starting from scratch, I still had little business experience, but managed to grow until 2014 when I started to plan Charm City Integrative Health (CCIH). I realized with each office expansion I couldn’t possibly see the number of people I wanted to help even if I was to grind 24/7. I needed help and to tap into other modalities that complimented acupuncture and where in most cases “push-button.” All the new services need to be in alignment with the main actions of acupuncture and I needed people to see it as I envisioned it.
CCIH had to be a center where multiple services and practitioners are aimed at helping you achieve whole-being health. I really liked the concept of human performance and how we can alter ourselves and our environment to feel and perform better. The “biohacker” movement swept me up and inspired me to look all over and all the concepts, at least to me, mirrored those of classical East Asian health principles. It was like the anti-aging, performance and functional medicine fields where all read classical Chinese medicine texts. I soaked it up, I loved being able to look at a person’s health from a bird’s eye view, and now there were countless modern methods that could help me do so.
There’s an expression in Chinese medicine, “One treatment 1000 diseases, one disease 1000 treatments.” This often is used to express that people can have different health issues and receive similar treatments and get results and that sometimes people with similar conditions need different treatments. With this many services, we could easily operate on both sides of that expression. Everything we do at the office shouldn’t just be addressing a symptom, it should improve overall function and help you fix the underlying cause.
When we opened in 2016, I think it took some time for people to “get it.” In many ways, we are a clinic that functions more like a gym. We want people there more frequently to help them thrive. There was a big learning curve for both the clients and the staff, especially me. There were a lot of simple business concepts that I never had been exposed to that when I was smaller was easy enough to manage. At this scale, I needed to catch up on the business side of the practice. I, fortunately, have a network of passionate business people helping me and I’ve been blessed with a good mix of employees, contractors, and renters since we’ve opened. I still have a lot to learn, but now thanks to the clients’ positive feedback it feels like an exciting challenge instead of overwhelming weight.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder of Starter Story
- Wiki Updater