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Meet Melissa Roxas of Little Sage Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Roxas.

Melissa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
The heart of this medicine has been with me all my life. From a very young age, I was drawn to the healing arts. I had a strong desire to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I was pre-med in college because I thought becoming a Western doctor would be the best way for me to help people. However, my heart and passions took me elsewhere. I was naturally drawn to a more holistic approach to health. This comes from my early experience of the benefits of traditional herbal medicine.

Before I was born, I had the umbilical cord tightly wrapped around my body so I was literally born gasping for air. This caused a serious breathing problem that Western doctors had no solution for. My parents were told I would have to live with the problem my whole life. They took me to a local herbalist who treated me with herbs and massage. After a few months, my wheezing was gone and I never had breathing problems again.

My great grandfather was a botanist and expert in the medicinal plants of the Philippines. Growing up, my grandmother would prepare poultices for our bumps and bruises. She also used the ancient art of cupping to relieve aches and pains.

I was drawn to studying alternative medicine also because of my experience working for many years with seniors and people with disabilities at a Los Angeles non-profit. I saw how prescription medication was the most common solution allopathic doctors would give for their problems. I was shocked at the number of prescriptions and opioids they were taking. It left them with a poorer quality of life and even less able to participate normally in everyday life. If only they knew about alternative medicine and had access to it.

I gained a deeper respect and love for herbal medicine when I studied in South America and worked in various communities in the Philippines to learn more about traditional indigenous medicine. In Southern Chile, I studied with the Mapuche community to learn more about their traditional medicine. In the Philippines, I learned how holistic health, acupuncture, and indigenous herbal medicine were the main ways they provided health care even in far-flung areas that had no access to clinics or hospitals. People were healing using their ancestral medicine.

I decided to formally get a Masters degree in Traditional East Asian Medicine after my own experience of healing from physical and emotional trauma. The trauma I experienced resulted from political persecution related to my work advocating for health and human rights in the Philippines. It was aimed at erasing my sense of self and purpose in life, to take away my passion and drive to help people. It has been a long healing journey, but through the practice of writing poetry, meditation, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Chinese Medicine, I brought balance and peace back to my life.

After the surgery I needed as a result of the trauma, I had a bad reaction to the opioids the doctor prescribed. I did not want to rely on prescription medicine so I discontinued taking them and recovered using acupuncture and herbs to deal with the pain and to facilitate healing.

My healing journey has been about reclaiming all parts of myself, including the passion to continue to help others through the healing arts. Traditional Chinese Medicine healed my mind, body, and spirit. I wanted to be able to share its power with as many people as I could. I decided to become a practitioner of Traditional East Asian Medicine as a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist.

My experience with pregnancy and birth led me to specialize in women’s health, holistic pregnancy and postpartum care. The benefits of drug-free and natural medicine for my son made me committed to making acupuncture and herbs available to more infants and children.

Has it been a smooth road?
Being the owner and practitioner of a clinic, and also being a mother to a three-year old definitely has its challenges. I have to be creative with my time. When my clinic first opened, I would often take my son with me to the clinic on days that I don’t see patients. It turned out to be a positive thing since he has grown to understand the work that I do.

Since birth, he has been getting acupuncture and herbal medicine. I am happy to see that he has taken an interest in the herbs and likes to carry around my pocket book of Chinese herbs with him. I always want to be mindful of making time for my family because it is very important to me. So I make sure that we also have quality time together outside the clinic.

Running a business was also something that was not really taught while I was in school to get a Masters in Traditional East Asian Medicine. I had to learn a lot on my own how to become a business owner and how to run a clinic. This has been very challenging.

However, it is all worth it because doing all the business stuff is what allows me the privilege of being able to practice this wonderful medicine and be able to help people.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Little Sage Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Little Sage Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine’s mission is to provide high quality health care to improve the quality of life of women, children and their families with Traditional East Asian Medicine. We are located in the Wrigley neighborhood in the heart of Long Beach, California. We specialize in pain management, women’s health, and pediatrics.

We are proud to offer our patients custom formulas from our raw herbal pharmacy.

Our herbs come from suppliers that have the best quality available and are rigorously tested to make sure herbs are the correct species, and are free of pesticides, free of sulphur, chlorine, and aluminum phosphate.

As the sole practitioner, I take the time to get to know you and your family. I believe that everyone has an innate ability to heal themselves. We are here to facilitate that healing and create a relaxing space where we can help restore and nurture optimal health. Every treatment plan is customized to each individual’s needs. Little Sage is unique because of my specialized training in treating infants and children with acupuncture and herbs. I provide treatments that are gentle, natural, and safe for the whole family.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Despite people thinking that Los Angeles is one concrete jungle, there are many gems in the city. There is a diversity of people and places. We have the best of everything here. You can be in one part of the city and get lost in the culture of that specific area.

There is a diversity of communities with its own unique arts and culture. The thing I like least about the city is the traffic.

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Image Credit:
Apollo Victoria

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