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Meet Dr. Nell Smircina of PIQUE Health

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Nell Smircina.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I grew up comfortable. Middle class, with parents who worked hard and emphasized the importance of being a good person and being educated. I never thought I’d wind up in LA, let alone Beverly Hills. I came out here with someone I was with at the time who forced me to really grow up. It was my first time dealing with grad school, paying my own way, and dealing with someone close to me who had serious issues I needed to navigate. I spent my first year of grad school in LA so poor (and trying to hide it) and trying to make it through a rigorous medical program. Rigor and hard work I had experienced. Being poor and having such influential personal matters going on that I wanted to hide from everyone was something I had not experienced before. Actively choosing to change my situation was difficult, but moving past the guilt of letting myself get into that experience was much harder. I look back on that time now years later with so much gratitude. I don’t think you can fully experience one end of the spectrum without experiencing the other side. The more challenging things have been, the more beautiful the wins and the growth. My success is not about having more money, although every time I buy something and don’t have to think about checking my bank account to make sure I can cover it, I am grateful. Having the opportunity to treat patients in Beverly Hills, arguably one of the most famous cities in the world has been a blessing. I have loved the community and my favorite part about having a successful practice here is being able to pass that experience on to other aspiring practitioners in the integrative medicine field. I love teaching, whether it’s patients, other practitioners in my same field, or medical providers in other disciplines who have not yet been fortunate enough to hear about the benefits of an integrative approach to patient care.

Although my doctoral research focused on Acupuncture for optimal post-surgical healing, I pivoted during COVID to focus more on men’s health. This is something so easily translatable via telehealth, and with my practice already being 100% concierge, I wanted to address an area of high need. I’ve always had a male heavy patient demographic, but seeing this need for middle-aged men to have their health addressed has become a true passion of mine. We talk so much about menopause and women’s health, and as a woman I am extremely grateful for the plethora of information available to me. However, most men have never even heard of andropause. They are less likely to seek medical care unless a serious problem has come up, and this lack of prevention and singular focus on sick care has many men lacking support and critical information which could help with their common symptoms: weight gain, cognitive issues, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, decreased libido, hair loss, etc. These are symptoms which can be addressed with a non-pharmacological approach that is customized to each man’s unique lifestyle. I saw a real need for my services at PIQUE Health, especially for that driven, focused, super stressed man who comes to me saying “I just want to feel like myself again”.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I’ve yet to meet someone with a truly inspirational story that said it was easy! Were the growing pains uncomfortable? Absolutely. Did I resent my acupuncturist at the time who told me, “these experiences will make you a better practitioner and better able to relate to your patients”? For sure. However, I’m a big believer in looking at challenges, pain, and struggle as growing pains, which feel so much more hopeful. If we’re honest, I think biggest struggle is always getting out of our own way and reframing how we want to look at things. I know I could go into the details of challenges that have happened in my life and people may say, “wow, I can’t believe that happened to you”. The biggest struggle was learning to be the type of person who now truly believes things don’t happen to me, they happen for me.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about PIQUE Health?
PIQUE Health is an integrative practice offering concierge options for those highly driven individuals who want to age optimally and experience PIQUE Health. It definitely took some trial and error for me to settle into the best patient demographic for me and know where I can make the most meaningful impact.

My two specialties within my practice focus on 1) Post-Surgical Recovery, a subject I researched extensively in my doctoral program, and 2) Men’s Health. Men are an often neglected population when it comes to health, especially preventative health. However, men too experience a very real physiological shift in middle age called Andropause, and there are many solutions beyond testosterone supplementation to help men feel like themselves again. I love working with high-powered executives and business owners who are willing to put the same focus toward their health that they put toward their career or other aspects of their lives. I get how challenging it can be to constantly be leading a high-performance lifestyle and to keep that up, you need proper recovery and lifestyle techniques.

I’ve always been someone who is very involved in the integrative medicine industry and fully believe acupuncture is an essential part of health care. Most treatment plans at PIQUE will incorporate acupuncture in some way because of how effective it is for helping the body handle any physical or psychological stress. We also utilize telehealth, in home care, supplementation and herbal medicine as well as dietary therapy and specialized testing to understand what is truly going on with a person. PIQUE’s patients are interested in a high-touch experience where their healthcare fits into their unique lifestyle without compromise. We’ve worked very hard to be able to address the underlying causes of conditions and work closely with any other practitioners needed for each patient’s care. This customized approach is what makes integrative care so powerful.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
I think we all have if we’re paying attention. Personally, it reinforced in a very real way that there is a bigger plan out there and things happen when they are supposed to happen (even if you can’t see it at the time). For my business, it made me dive deeper into patient-centered care. As a healthcare provider at this time in private practice, it’s important to constantly be looking at how we can continue to provide value to our patients. People’s needs have changed. Telehealth is not going away. I don’t think people wanting services to come to them is going anywhere either. We have changed the way we live, and transparency and flexibility of care will continue to be important moving forward.

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