Even though Dr. Lynsi Lewis, Doctor of Chinese Medicine/Master in Science, grew up in a small Alabama town that didn't prioritize health and wellness, she knew early on movement elevated her mood. Plus, the dance, cheerleading and softball she so adored always seemed to help her express herself. And while she didn't know about alternative medicine growing up, she did know that she wanted to be involved in some healing modality. So, she worked hard to become her high school valedictorian, aiming toward medical school.
She decided to go into osteopathic medicine since it focused on holistic healing, only to find herself uninspired and unfulfilled once in training. But when she dove into a reevaluation, she course-corrected, discovering traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Overjoyed to embark on her new path, she moved across the country to follow this instinct.
Now based out of California, she offers a wide range of services, from acupuncture, acussage (acupuncture plus massage), cupping and E-stim to holistic nutritional counseling, cosmetic facial rejuvenation, sound healing and aromatherapy, plus others. She treats private clients at Wellness Lounge in Mission Bay, CA, as well as offering, community treatments at Source Empowered Wellness in Pacific Beach. As if that weren't 360-degree enough, she also is a yoga instructor teaching specialty therapy classes combining yoga and acupuncture.
With her deep knowledge overarching the wide swath of TCM, she's now sharing her genuine, loving approach to Eastern medicine, while also respecting traditional medicine. Read on to hear more from this passionate, thoughtful practitioner to learn more about lesser known—but amazingly helpful—modalities and approaches.
SBS: How would you describe Eastern medicine and osteopathy?
Lynsi Lewis: While western medicine treats symptomatically, Eastern medicine focuses on treating the body as a whole and addressing the root causes of a disease/imbalance. TCM practitioners value preventative medicine: preventing disease before it occurs. This is done through lifestyle and nutrition counseling and also by addressing one's constitution, a person's typical pattern of imbalance.
TCM intake involves palpation of the radial pulse in six locations, which correspond to 12 different organ systems. By analyzing the force, size, rate and quality of these pulses, we are able to determine where imbalances are occurring in the body. We also examine the tongue coat, because each area of the tongue represents a different organ system as well. So don't be surprised if a TCM practitioner asks you to stick out your tongue during the intake. Many patients I treat come into my office after becoming exhausted with the Western approach to treatment: over-prescribing pharmaceutical drugs, sometimes with little to no relief, not to mention the side effects from these medications. Many times, they experience quantitative improvement after one session with me. Other times, it takes a series of treatments. TCM is known for its effect on chronic pain, but it also improves digestion, muscle pain, hormonal regulation and mental clarity.
And it can decrease migraines, insomnia, anxiety/stress, depression, fatigue and inflammation. It even aids in the treatment of common colds and flus. There has also been a recent rise in interest regarding cosmetic acupuncture, a style of treatment that is focused on decreasing wrinkle lines and stimulating the production of collagen in the skin. In addition to all this, we also prescribe natural Chinese herbal formulas that address imbalances in the body without eliciting side effects.
I'm not one to down talk Western medicine, although other alternative practitioners might. Western medicine is valuable: They excel in diagnostics and surgical procedures. But I believe the future is integrative medicine, where the strengths of both fields are recognized by the public and highlighted in the treatment plans of all patients. I've committed my career to building bridges between all healing modalities. We are stronger together!
SBS: What's your unique approach to each of the areas? What style of practitioner are you?
LL: I personally practice various styles of acupuncture: ortho (similar to dry-needling), neuro-scalp and balance method. I practice Kiiko Matsumoto's Japanese style when permissible, which is a more gentle type of needling that also involves abdominal palpation. I also believe in intuitive healing and allowing the individual's body to guide the treatment. I've learned that many patients know what is off balance. It's about asking the right questions and allowing them the time to become more body aware. Each treatment lasts approximately one hour, which leaves far more time for intake and dialogue than most visits to the doctor. The patient-practitioner relationship is something that is sacred and based in mutual respect.
SBS: What tips/advice would you give to new practitioners in each area?
LL: Never stop learning! The beauty of this medicine is that there is an infinite reserve of information and tools to add to your practice. Find a mentor who you admire and respect and always remain humble.
SBS: What tips/advice would you give to clients investigating each area for the first time?
LL: It's important to not allow one negative experience deter you from seeking out care from alternative practitioners. Unfortunately, not all practitioners are trained equally. Unlike many Western doctors, our treatment styles differ greatly from one another. Find a practitioner that makes you feel safe, comfortable, heard, and prioritized. That is what all patients deserve.
SBS: What's your own wellness routine? How has it evolved?
LL: Yoga…every day! I also believe that fitness and wellness are meant to be enjoyable and fun. It's all about finding a routine that makes you feel excited and free. For me, that is yoga and dance. Mindfulness is also an important part of my wellness routine. I strive to meditate daily and to spend time outside and in nature. It helps put things into perspective and allows me to approach life with more gratitude and optimism.
SBS: What's your approach to nutrition?
LL: I've oscillated between being vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian throughout the years. I now find myself a being an intuitive eater, with a focus on nurturing my body and viewing food as a form of medicine. This doesn't support ‘dieting’ but rather lifestyle changes that honor your body's natural hunger and fullness signals. I am mostly vegan still, but I will on occasion eat cheese or fish when my body desires and when I know it's ethically sourced/farmed. In TCM, we also eat in accordance to certain patterns. For example, cold/raw foods and irregular eating times can tax the spleen and so should be avoided in patients with Spleen related deficiencies.
SBS: What are fitness, wellness and nutrition trends you love? Hate?
LL: For years, I've been practicing intermittent fasting. I have found that it helps regulate my own eating patterns while creating a structure that brings more awareness to what I put into my body and when.
I tend to err on the side of caution with most other ‘trends’ and diets, mostly because of they rarely result in long-term change and focus on weight loss instead of true health and wellness. I believe in lifestyle changes that lead to each patient viewing food as medicine.
Lynsi’S Cali Faves:
Healthy Restaurant: Café Gratitude
Splurge Restaurant: The Joint
Nightlife Spot: Spin Nightclub
Yoga Studio: Indie Yoga/Core Power
Fitness Studio: Culture Shock Dance Center
Fun Activity: Fire spinning at the Farmer’s Market and Ecstatic Dance
Calming Activity: Meditation on the Cliffs in Ocean Beach
Books: A Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Subtle Body by Cyndi Dale
Lynsi’s SBS Mantra: Be Happy! I currently have a sign hanging from my rearview mirror that states, ‘I think I'll just be happy today.’ Regardless of what situations we face in life, I firmly believe that happiness and gratitude are a choice. What we focus our energy on is what flourishes. We create our own reality and we are far more powerful than we realize.
The best, zaniest part of being Lynsi: I truly am living my dream, being able to work in a career that I believe in full-heartedly. I don't fit many molds and enjoy so many facets of this human life. I am also a performance artist and musician, and I participate in my fair share of festivals. Oh, and I really love any talk around the metaphysical world.