Today we’d like to introduce you to Eric Schmidt, LAc.
Eric, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have a background in engineering and worked in the engineering field for about 9 years, At a certain point I realized that engineering was a fine job, but not my true calling. At the time, I was training Mantis-Style Kung Fu in the evenings. As I started to get more competitive with my Kung Fu training I pushed it too far and ended up with a hamstring injury. When the injury was not healing properly I decided to try acupuncture. The acupuncture treatment was nothing short of miraculous! I was back to my regular training program in days.
Years later I decided to attend an acupuncture school in Berkeley. After 3.5 years, I completed a Master’s Program with training in acupuncture, herbal medicine, and modern biomedicine (MS degree). After graduation, I traveled through Asia for 1.5 years, working in acupuncture clinics around the world including major TCM Hospitals in China, Japan and in Rural Clinics in India and Nepal.
After returning from my travels in 2009, I established my acupuncture practice in Santa Monica under the name Meridian Health Clinic. I was given the opportunity to work with Dr. Randy Weinzoff, DC at our current location in Santa Monica.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve actually been pretty lucky over the last 8 years. I work with a great chiropractor and I found a good area to work in Santa Monica.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Meridian Health Clinic – what should we know?
One of the great things about Chinese Medicine is that it can effectively treat a wide variety of health concerns. As such, I enjoy the variety in cases and types of people I interact with on a daily basis. However, the following specialties that comprise the majority of my practice: body pain (back, neck, joints, etc.), dermatology, women’s health (including fertility) and digestive disorders. Also, I always take into account that many health conditions are stress-related, and often having a medical condition will add more stress. Therefore, calming the nervous system is a part of every treatment and an important step in giving the body a chance to heal.
Based on the individual case, there are a variety of therapies we use including acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, herbal medicine and dietary therapy. Most people have heard of these therapies, however one of the lesser-known therapies that I practice is called “dry needling”. The practice of dry needling is very similar to acupuncture but the treatment points are selected based on Western anatomy, instead of Chinese medicine theory. I come from a more Western/scientific mindset so I find that this approach is more appealing, both because of its effectiveness and because it is easier to explain and understand. For example, if a patient has pain and muscle tension her trapezius muscle, I can simply explain that I will perform a technique to release trigger points in the trapezius with dry needling. For this case, I can even open a book and show the patient a picture of the trapezius muscle and where trigger points usually occur. This approach to treating muscular pain is so much easier than trying to convince my patients there is some invisible “qi” that effects their health.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I believe the most important aspect of success in my practice is my deep care for patients. I know this is a bit cliché to say, but I really feel this sense of caring for others in the core of my being. In the back of my mind I always consider that patients have taken a lot of their time and effort to schedule an appointment, drive to the appointment and spend an hour or more at my office. With this in mind I always give patients my 100% focus and effort during the brief time we have together. As a result, I have a long record of good patient outcomes, which is the ultimate marker of success.
Another reason I think that my practice has a lot of success is that I don’t get too deep into the energy/chakra business. I think there is a time for energy medicine, but it is not part of my practice. Most people are very surprised to hear this coming from an acupuncturist! I love to explain how and why Tradition Chinese Medicine is NOT an energy medicine system. Quite simply, Chinese Medicine is a system of physical medicine and it has been practiced that way for over 2000 years. The herbs and acupuncture methods are focused on provoking real, physical changes in the body such as: improving blood flow, restoring nerve function, lowering inflammation, relaxing muscle tension, improving organ function. etc. Most patients are shocked to find out that this whole “energy model” of acupuncture comes from the French translations of texts back in the early 1900’s. Unfortunately, these French translations were inaccurate!
Most people find this new understanding of Chinese Medicine a great relief. Now we don’t have to believe in invisible energy system in order for acupuncture to work. Acupuncture simply works by stimulating the peripheral nervous system, which in turn can affect things like blood flow, inflammation and organ function. The ultimate goal in treatment is to create an environment of nutrient-rich, highly oxygenated blood flowing easily throughout the body. When this foundational processes is in place, then a healthy individual will be the natural result.
- Address: Meridian Health Clinic
Director: Eric Schmidt, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.
2020 Broadway St, Suite A
Santa Monica, CA 90404
- Website: http://meridianhealthclinic.com
- Phone: (310) 699-4533
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MeridianHealthClinic
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/meridian_clinic
- Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/meridian-health-clinic-santa-monica