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Ashton, MD: Erin Smith

Fast facts
Practice type: Hybrid
Specialties: Digestive conditions, general wellness, musculoskeletal pain, stress, women’s health
Styles: Herbal therapy, pediatric acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Why did you become an acupuncturist?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to spend my life helping other people. I started working as a physical therapy technician in high school. I learned so much from doing that work, but soon discovered holistic forms of healing. I was most drawn to acupuncture and Chinese medicine because it is a full-body medicine and can address issues of the mind, body, and spirit. I want to help people not only with their physical pain, but also with other health concerns, such as insomnia, depression, digestive issues, etc. My biggest passion in life is to help people of all ages and from all backgrounds prevent disease and overcome debilitating injury and illness. I have found Chinese medicine to be the most effective way of fulfilling this passion, and I believe that the world would be a better place if everyone had an acupuncturist!

What distinguishes you from other acupuncturists?
Most acupuncturists I have met are wonderful people, with deep passion for their work. What I believe stands out about me is the empathy and compassion I have for people who are suffering. Due to complications when I was a young child, I underwent over 10 surgeries before the age of 20 and was in chronic pain for a long time. Acupuncture was the only thing that got me off of pain medication, significantly decreased my daily pain, and helped me to regain lost function. Having chronic pain or disease can be debilitating on a physical, mental, and emotional level. I have seen firsthand how acupuncture changes lives, and I want to continue sharing this powerful medicine with as many people as I can.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I absolutely love this job and am excited to spend the rest of my career in this exciting field. When I enter a treatment room, I am walking into a fascinating and unique story or puzzle that I am eager to learn about and solve. I never stop learning and researching conditions or treatments I am unfamiliar with. The most fulfilling part of my work is when patients begin to show improvement. Many of my patients are at the end of the road with allopathic medical interventions, and they try acupuncture and Chinese medicine because everything else has failed to help them. When chief complaints start to improve with acupuncture and lifestyle modifications, many other facets of life improve as well. If I can help someone become healthier and happier in his or her life, I too am very happy.

What is the biggest misconception you hear about acupuncture?
Start now. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are best utilized as preventive medicine. Even if you do not have anything wrong with you, find an acupuncturist, or several, that you love. When you first feel that something isn’t right, schedule a treatment. The biggest misconception I hear is that if I am not having symptoms, I don’t need to do anything. This is not true. No one is completely balanced in today’s society. We are stressed, over-worked, over-stimulated, and we have other lifestyle factors that contribute to long-term illness. I am always sad when I meet patients with symptoms all over their body. There is still plenty we can do, but if they had started much sooner, we could have prevented decades of suffering. I always stress to my patients to check in on a seasonal basis even if they are not having any obvious symptoms. Chinese medicine can prevent serious disease.

How do you stay healthy in your own life?
I try to put only organic, whole food into my body a majority of the time. I love to cook, garden, and raise my own chickens. Processed food causes illness, so I try to avoid it and inspire the people I eat with to do the same. I try to get outside and enjoy nature as much as possible. When I am in a rut, I travel or learn something new. I spend as much time snuggling my infant child as possible, as he has brought a new depth of happiness to my life. I currently do yoga and meditate. I get acupuncture seasonally, more if I need it. I take herbal medicine, not pharmaceuticals, when I feel a cold coming on. And I save time for some fun—crafting, music, friends, and babies.

How do you make your treatments accessible to patients?
I am in network with all major health insurance companies and bill them directly for my patients with benefits. I also offer reduced rates for low-income patients without health-insurance benefits, including students and seniors. I am in the process of starting a non-profit called Mindful Medicine, which will offer sliding-scale community acupuncture for low-income families in my community, and will hopefully be up and running in late 2016 or early 2017.

Learn more and get in touch
erinsmithlac.com
erinsmithlac@gmail.com
(410) 490-3346
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Blueberry Gardens: 237 Ashton Road, Ashton, MD 20861

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