Licensed acupuncturist Kathleen Lee has a competitive streak. When she isn't skating with the Santa Cruz Derby Girls, she puts her drive to use by helping her fellow athletes battle plateaus and injuries with holistic treatments and epic montages. Kathleen holds a master's degree in Chinese medicine from Five Branches University and continues to teach at her alma mater, unlike anyone who's ever graduated from the school of hard knocks. She bolsters her educational career by continuing her own practice, where she dispenses herbal remedies and treats ailments ranging from mental disorders to fertility issues.
Lead by Dr. Tonya Fleck-D'Andrea, N.D., an all-female team of naturopathic doctors and massage therapists at Santa Cruz Naturopathic Medical Center soothes bodies with holistic care in a nurturing environment. First-time patients create a personalized treatment plan during a two-hour consultation with a licensed N.D. (naturopathic doctor). In these sessions, the doctors review lab work done in the past year, go over current medication, and discuss the client’s health concerns to establish a regimen designed to treat these issues and prevent conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and turf tonsils. The Center's specialists strive to establish an open dialogue with patients when tailoring therapies by performing physicals and ordering new lab work only as necessary. Precision healing also comes from the hands of licensed massage therapists, whose cross-training in Swedish massage, Craniosacral therapy, and acupressure create a single super-modality sent from the future to terminate knotted muscles and release stress-induced tension.
At Healing Waves Wellness Center, Doctors of Chiropractic Ian and Pamela Chambers unleash their expertise in a three-step program designed to usher in long-term wellness. The duo starts by addressing their patients' immediate concerns, helping alleviate aches with gentle adjustments that are customized to suit each unique spine or navigate around dorsal fins. Moving into the final two stages of care, the doctors work to upset deep-rooted causes of pain, such as poor posture, before attuning patients to the needs of their own bodies to promote a healthier lifestyle.
The only person who can change your life is you. That's why Cara Ortiz's primary goal is to motivate her patients to take responsibility for their health and their futures. She does so naturally through education and tailored holistic therapies such as acupuncture, nutrition support, and therapeutic massage. Ortiz also has an expansive background in botany and all-natural herbal healing, ideal for helping clients with anxiety.
At Communi-Qi Acupuncture, healing is a group effort. Rather than treating patients one by one, the wellness center's acupuncturists bring clients together for group sessions that mimic the traditional setting of Asian acupuncture. They believe that collective energy aids in the pursuit of wellness, and that patients are best served when they feel enmeshed in a network of positive energy.
In the treatment area, clients sip tea, place shoes and socks in a private basket, and recline in a comfortable chair as they await one of four practitioners. At the start of treatment, clients pull back their sleeves to elbow level, and roll back their trousers or Zubaz to knee level. The acupuncturist speaks with each patient to determine a treatment plan, and then applies hair-thin, sterile, disposable needles in the appropriate location.
At the age of 10, Duncan McCollum fell 30 feet from a towering tree while trying to catch sight of a Cal-Stanford football game. With the fall came the consensus of a sprained back and a childhood filled with prescription medications and muscle relaxers to deal with his near-constant pain. He reinjured his back at the age of 20, and his friends, who were convinced that chiropractic care could help, dragged him to a chiropractor against his will. After taking x-rays and examining him, the chiropractor made a startling discovery—Duncan's initial fall from a decade ago had broken his back, and since then it had healed incorrectly.
"I was really nervous when he was about to adjust me for the first time," Duncan says. "After I jumped up from the intense shooting pain, for the first time in over a decade, I felt relief. I could get up and move!"
With continual treatments, Duncan slowly got his life back, and with it came great inspiration. He set out to become a Doctor of Chiropractic in order to help those who felt condemned to living with back pain, as he once did. Now, inside McCollum Wellness Center's cottage-like setting, he warmly welcomes patients and listens to their own life stories before eradicating aches and pains with gentle chiropractic treatments.
Jami Rose, Caitlin Elfving, and Debbie McMenemy call their acupuncture practice a lounge for good reason. Upon entering the Flux Acupuncture Lounge’s treatment room, one typically sees a group of relaxed guests sinking into recliners. Patients are encouraged to stay as long as they wish to better absorb the benefits of meticulously placed needles.
Jami is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist who holds a master’s degree from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine to complement her post-graduate work in obstetrics and gynecology. She draws on her background to treat a variety of women’s health concerns. Caitlin has a master's in Oriental medicine and uses acupuncture as a noninvasive solution to nagging ailments. Debbie, who also has a master’s in traditional Chinese medicine, focuses on treating pain with acupuncture. She traveled to China frequently during her studies and saw just how effective community acupuncture can be.
The three health experts use holistic medicine to treat chronic issues, such as hormonal imbalances, and also provide relief from temporary conditions, such as back pain or disappointment after forgetting to make a wish at 11:11.