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A Doctor Who Listens First

True stories: getting "stuck" to get "unstuck" with acupuncture.

Article by Christie Sounart

Photography by Sarah Dawn Photography

Originally published in Broomfield Lifestyle

When Stephanie Adams was 16, she fell and fractured a vertebrae in her lower back. For 30 years she used conventional medicine to treat her pain, but due to the ramifications of pharmaceutical medications, she was looking for something that could reduce the side effects and lower her expenses. 

Adams began attending the Inner Balance practice run by Dr. Bret Ellington in Westminster, after being referred by a friend, for injections, micro-needling and acupuncture. Within one treatment, her symptoms improved, and she returned several more times to maintain her results. 

“I was shocked that after all the conventional medical treatments that I had received over the years, the treatments I received from Dr. Bret treated my pain as effectively and sometimes more effectively and with zero side effects,” says Adams. 

Adams — who lives in Thornton and is a mom to three young kids — began using her former modes of pain management less and less frequently. 

Dr. Bret has seen many success stories like Adams’ over his more than 20 years treating patients for things like pain, anxiety, disease or chronic conditions. 

Dr. Bret decided to pursue acupuncture and holistic wellness as a career in his 30s when he saw his shoulder pain subside after his own acupuncture treatment. Then a California resident, he received his master’s degree in traditional oriental medicine in San Diego, then received his doctorate degree in Chinese medicine. He is certified in clinical nutrition and functional medicine.

“It’s a nice combination of Eastern and Western medicine,” says Dr. Bret of his work. “I can use labs to find the root cause. I like evidence-based medicine and prefer to test, not guess.” 

After his schooling, Dr. Bret successfully opened his own private practice in California before becoming the owner and medical director of 11 additional clinics. He has employed, trained and mentored more than 100 acupuncturists. Two years ago, he moved to Colorado to be closer to his mother and opened Inner Balance, located near 120th Ave. and Tejon St. 

“I realized a long time ago that I’m here to serve and to educate,” he says. “That’s my purpose on this planet.” 

Dr. Bret recalls two stories of patients who saw nearly immediate results in their debilitating conditions with acupuncture. 

One of his male patients had suffered a stroke and was struggling with his speech. He had run through all his available treatment options through his insurance. Dr. Bret began treating him and videotaped him speaking his name after each session. He began improving rapidly with acupuncture. 

“The changes over two months were just mind-blowing,” Dr. Bret says. 

Another of Dr. Bret’s patients was experiencing menopause and struggling with nearly 100 hot flashes a day. With a treatment plan that included acupuncture, supplements and herbs, she began only having five hot flashes a day at most. 

“Her symptoms started improving drastically within two weeks,” Dr. Bret says.

At Inner Balance, Dr. Bret offers several services focused on improving health and wellness including acupuncture, dry needling, injections and custom herbal formulas. He takes pride in his ability to fully listen to his patients and get them involved in their own treatments. 

“People have a lot of options out there for healthcare. One of the things that differentiates me is that I listen,” he says. “I really try to get to what’s going on with the whole person and put it all together. It’s nice when a patient says ‘Thank you, I think you’re the first provider who’s actually listened to me.’” 

Adams appreciated Dr. Bret’s holistic approach. 

“What I feel sets Dr. Bret apart from other practitioners that I have seen in the past is his willingness to listen to all of the history that brings you to his office and then come up with a treatment plan that treats you as a whole person,” she says. “I never felt like he was just going to do an injection and then send me on my way.” 

“It’s nice when a patient says ‘Thank you, I think you’re the first provider who’s actually listened to me.’”

“Her symptoms started improving drastically within two weeks.”

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