Tag Archives: U.P. holistic wellness

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.

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