There’s a palpable energy that always seems to emanate from those who follow their passions. Life force, joie de vivre, pure vitality, whatever you want to call it, Tom Ingegno certainly fits the bill. It doesn’t hurt that Ingegno’s passion centers around helping people achieve optimal levels of wellness, something that’s certainly reflected in his own dancing eyes and dynamic presence.
In his 40-odd years, the burning desire to help people — and animals — feel better has resulted in a veritable feast of fascinating accomplishments. The short list: He’s performed acupuncture on a camel in Egypt and a rescued pit bull from the Michael Vick dog-fighting scandal, treated FEMA workers for stress during the 9/11 rescue efforts, published a book called “You Got Sick — Now What?” and serves as an on-call consultant for the Maryland Zoo.
The crown jewel of Ingegno’s achievements is his thriving wellness center, Charm City Integrative Health.
Acupuncture is his first love: “Don’t ask me if you need acupuncture, it’s like asking a barber if you need a haircut,” he says. But he has expanded his Canton- based practice to include a full suite of cutting-edge wellness offerings.
“Our services treat the whole person and reset the system,” Ingegno says. “Everything we do increases all of your body’s functions, and you’re going to look and feel better, and be happier.”
This includes red light therapy and cryotherapy, the latest additions to a healing lineup that includes Live 02, salt therapy and massage. Step inside the unassuming brick building on South Lakewood Avenue is like entering a wellness playground that is part biohacking makerspace, part futuristic spa. The high-ceiling, open-concept space is home to all sorts of wellness apparatus, including a giant egg-shaped salt cocoon for relaxation and enhanced respiratory function, a cylindrical metal chamber called a cryosauna for full-body rejuvenation and a Live 02 exercise machine to increase blood oxygen saturation.
While Ingegno says everyone can benefit from these services, two groups in particular will notice gains right off the bat. High-end athletes will feel “that 10-second difference” from enhanced muscle repair, recovery and cellular function. Those who are injured or have been suffering from chronic illness will also notice short-term benefits: “I couldn’t walk to the mailbox. Now I can.”
“For middle-of-the-road people, the results might be more subtle,” Ingegno says. “When Dave Asprey came out with (nutrition brand) Bulletproof, it was exciting for me because he managed to articulate what Chinese medicine has said for thousands of years: It’s better to take action before it’s broke, when we can do a lot more for you.”
Since that investment can still be a tough sell, Ingegno works to set accessible prices and packages, with most sessions falling in the $50-$100 category.
Raised on Long Island in a family of intense, self-professed workaholics, Ingegno originally envisioned becoming a doctor. As a boy, he helped out with chores at the pharmacy where his grandfather worked. One day, his grandfather commented on one of the patients.
“He shook his head and said, ‘This poor guy needs to take three of these pills for the rest of his life. There’s got to be a better way. I’ll leave that to you to figure out,’” Ingegno recalls.
A few years later, as a college student, he received an open house postcard for acupuncture school and has never looked back. Today, he holds a graduate degree in Oriental medicine and is a nationally certified and licensed acupuncturist. He’s a firm believer that the word “anti-aging” sends the wrong message to people — that we should be able to age naturally and enjoy it.
For years, he trained hardcore in classical martial arts, Qi Gong, Xing Yi and Tai Chi at the U.S. Kuo Shu Academy. He also has performed acupuncture on animals, including a giraffe and an ostrich. “I see more and more zoos nationally turning to acupuncture, which is awesome,” he says.
These days, Ingegno regularly meditates and is reading more than ever. He also is enjoying a seismic shift in the way that society views alternative medicine, which he says should be credited to millennials. “Millennials are a godsend because they prioritize self-care and value things that used to be valued but then were thrown out,” he says. “The amount of research coming out is also incredible. Now that we have thousands of evidence-based studies, people are realizing that this field isn’t B.S. ancient medicine.”
Ingegno may be a future-facing guy, but the adage, “There are no advanced skills, just basics practiced to perfection” rings true for him. “There’s always room to improve. I’m constantly trying to refine and dial in our services,” he says. In other words, he’s finding that better way.