Category Archives: Alicia Smith

Spotlight On… Alicia Smith, Owner of Acupuncture of Marquette 

Tell us what happens at Acupuncture of Marquette.
Basically, we do a health intake with all different kinds of questions and develop a complementary health treatment plan using acupuncture. Sterile, non-reusable needles are used on the meridians, which are pathways through the body affecting the nervous system.

 

How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture looks at the whole body as an ecosystem and helps balance it. In Eastern theory, acupuncture points are being chosen to balance the body’s chi or life force energy. It’s also fascia-related – the interconnected tissues of the body send electrical impulses throughout. One area can impact another. Western medicine describes acupuncture as increasing blood circulation, and decreasing inflammation and tight muscles. And acupuncture may remove blockages, for example blood stasis, phlegm accumulation, stomach accumulation.

Groups of qualities (yin/yang) are considered in deciding where we need to balance you. Yin is water, fluid, slow-moving, fleshy, cooling; yang is fast-moving, hot, dry, loud. It’s a way to compartmentalize what is not in balance in the body. Someone with a very red face, maybe constipation, is considered to have yang excess and yin deficiency. Post-menopausal symptoms also indicate yin deficiency.

Certain acupuncture points have certain qualities.

Acupuncture can have a local quality – you may have tennis elbow and we are providing acupuncture there, but this also affects digestion because it’s on the large intestine meridian. Acupuncture points work on the body both distally and locally. For example, we can work with headache issues by moving energy away from the head and bringing it to the hand. This helps a lot with stress.

There are all different types of acupuncture needles – some longer, some shorter, different diameters. I tend to be gentler, using them without having to go so deep into people. I think a good acupuncturist meets the person’s energy where it’s at, addressing the person’s disposition and issue.

There are also different theories on how acupuncture treatment should be created. Some use abdominal diagnosis, palpating the stomach. Others use their sense of smell, seeing the skin color, taking the pulse, looking at the palm, feeling temperature differences, and/or running their hands up and down meridians to see where blockages are.

What do your clients most commonly come in for?
Often pain—back, neck, arm. Also infertility issues, anxiety, depression, PTSD syndrome. We can work on back pain and anxiety at the same time.

Acupuncture is a viable treatment option. It’s non-invasive, with no side effects beyond possibly feeling tired. In today’s world of medicine, much more invasive procedures are often used. Now more medical professionals are recommending acupuncture before prescribing surgery.

What do your clients like about it?
They feel very relaxed afterward. They feel comfortable in my clinic because the building is a house. It’s personal. They feel safe talking about what’s going on, being in a traditional setting rather than one where a medical record is created that follows you through life and could potentially be used against you. If you’re diagnosing using Chinese medicine, the insurance companies typically don’t understand it.

What kinds of benefits does it offer?
All ages can benefit from acupuncture. It doesn’t interact with medications. That’s why I really like this natural form of medicine. It’s very safe when done by a qualified professional, not a weekend class attendee. Acupuncture creates an environment in your body to help it heal.

If you don’t feel right, or are in a slump, potentially even just one treatment could help you. It can help with transitioning with the seasons, grief, over-consumption of anything that’s throwing you off in some way so you haven’t felt right since. It can help you safely move off of pain medication.

Some will take the input and heal faster. Some acupuncture points will go double-duty and work on additional things such as infertility or depression. There’s also a set of points that help the system as a whole. Doing acupuncture, you’re opening all the meridians. They’re interconnected, so your body’s going to do what it needs to do.

What are your qualifications and experience?
I went to Bastyr University in Seattle and did my internships, Bachelors, and Masters degrees. I took the pre-med program at NMU, and am on the verge of completing my PhD through the California institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. I’ve been in practice since 2013.

What made you decide to become an acupuncturist?
I was dissatisfied with the Western medicine approach… Once I made the switch to Bastyr, I found acupuncture seemed to make sense. I wanted to work with my hands and practice a form of healing that did no harm… I found through my research that acupuncture has been around for a very long time and has a whole culture behind it. This was humbling, to embark on learning a system of medicine that had helped people heal for centuries.

What do you enjoy most about your practice?
I enjoy seeing all different types of people and treating all different types of conditions. I see a lot of first-time acupuncture patients. Here it’s newer, whereas it was very common in Seattle. I really like my patients, and living in the natural environment of the U.P., offering personalized care in a comfortable, cool, little clinic.

Why should someone come to Acupuncture of Marquette?
For pain and stress relief, balance, like when you feel you need a tune-up, wellness care, so life can be even better. When you fall off your wheel and need some support. When you want to find non-invasive, non-pharmacological help.

What else should people know about acupuncture?
It doesn’t hurt, and it’s not scary. It’s really relaxing. It’s a different type of medicine from a different paradigm and culture—not a pill in a bottle, not an injection with fluids in it. The dangers of trying it with a board-certified acupuncturist are very minimal.

Acupuncture has been around for a very long time. America is a melting pot, and this type of medicine is a gift we should embrace. It may seem to you that it’s different, that it’s strange, that maybe it doesn’t work, but have you actually tried it?

Reprinted with permission from the Summer 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Acupuncture, Alicia Smith

Natural Medicine: 6 Suggestions for Breathing Into Letting Go This Fall, by Alicia Smith

As the colors start to change on the trees and days start to get shorter, we humans may start to feel something in our bodies. This “feeling” could make us crave warmer liquids or commercialized pumpkin spice latte.

Looking around, we can notice other hints of fall such as animals beginning to harvest away food for cooler times.

Emotions of Fall

Being in the UP, some of us may have mixed feelings about fall. Perhaps we have thoughts such as “I used to like the fall but now it gives me anxiety about the cold winter to come.” Or students associating fall with sadness about going back to school, missing the beach.

Believe it or not, feeling a hint of sadness in the fall is healthy. As humans we go through the cycles within nature. Fall is associated with the Metal element which relates to sadness/grief in Chinese Medicine. Fall is about letting go. In nature, fall trees physically let go of their leaves.

Metal Imbalance

A metal imbalance emotionally could mean difficulty with letting go of things, situations, events, relationships, sadness, and a longing for the past. Physically, a metal imbalance could mean skin issues, asthma flare-ups, upper respiratory illness, nasal congestion, constipation, too much or too little mucus, and frequent illnesses/compromised immune system.

Self-Care for the Fall

1.) Food: Let us start with the concept of food being our medicine. Foods that help our lungs breathe are pungent foods. Pungent foods cleanse and protect the delicate lung organ by moving and dispersing phlegm or mucus. Think onion, garlic, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, saffron, pepper, ginger, leek, mustard leaf, and parsnip. Dairy foods contribute to mucus build up. As Chinese Medicine Dietary Theory states, to reduce excess mucus in the lungs, eat less dairy.

2.) Sun Watching: When nature starts the shift to shorter days it is beneficial to sun watch. Being in synch with the sun’s rhythm is balancing. Any night shift worker can most likely relate to feeling confusion when going to sleep while the sun is rising.

Even for just for the fun of it, get up and watch the sun rise. Then watch the sunset that same day. Kudos to those who already have a close relationship with the sun!

3.) Pick Up Some Smells: Walking outdoors, smelling the leaves and new smells of fall help the body transition. Some essential oils that can be beneficial are silver fir, grand fir, and rosemary.

4.) Let Go of Something: People say we forgive for ourselves vs. others. Forgiving someone allows us to move forward with our life. Or maybe we need to forgive ourselves for something that happened years ago.

5.) Learn Something New: In the spirit of the back-to-school season, regardless of your age, learn something. Join a book club, volunteer in your community, pick up a new hobby, or, go back to school!

6.) Get Routine Care With An Acupuncturist: Most acupuncturists will take into consideration the change of seasons and help your body get a “tune up” by picking lung points as a part of your acupuncture session.  If you have difficulty with fall, potentially your metal element needs balancing. Furthermore, health issues with the lung and colon suggest unresolved grief and sadness in Chinese Medicine.

Autumn’s Gift 

The true beauty of letting go is feeling lighter. At first, letting go may seem difficult. Remember all of nature around you is supporting the letting-go cycle. With practice, the mind, body, and spirit can flow with the seasons, and to a deeper level of flow with the dance of life.

Alicia Smith practices acupuncture in Marquette, MI and Escanaba, MI for women, men & children. She runs a general family care practice. She has a special interest in dermatology, depression/anxiety, fertility, women’s health, pediatrics & pain management. Alicia owns and operates The Light Institute, a wellness cooperative. The Light Institute has healing houses in Marquette, MI and Escanaba, MI.

Reprinted with permission from the Fall 2014 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Alicia Smith, Chinese Medicine, Uncategorized