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Santa Barbara, CA: Eric Baumgartner

Fast facts
Practice type: Hybrid
Specialties: Anxiety, Autoimmune conditions, Depression, Digestive conditions, Women’s health
Styles: Herbal therapy, pediatric acupuncture, psychoemotional acupuncture

Why did you become an acupuncturist?
I come from a family of doctors and always knew I would work in the field of medicine, but after a few years of pre-med and looking down the narrow tunnel of Western medicine, I knew there had to be more. I spent several years traveling the world and found that every place I visited had its own system of natural medicine that served as primary care. Someone gifted me a book of self-healing with acupressure and for about five years that was my health-insurance plan. I found that it worked better than anything I had ever tried, and even helped several of my friends and family. When I finally landed back in America, I decided it was time to go pro. My background in science finally came full circle, now balanced with the art and tradition of this sophisticated system of natural medicine.

What distinguishes you from other acupuncturists?
As a practitioner, I have a strong background in the world of Western medicine, as well as a deep-rooted connection to the philosophy and spirituality that makes Eastern medicine so powerful. My practice integrates Chinese medicine, functional medicine, shamanic healing, and Taoist wisdom in a way that makes sense to patients. I believe medicine has to be practical and effective, and that my role as a medical practitioner is to teach patients to take control of their health and to create a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
My favorite part of practicing medicine is what I call getting to the heart of the matter. I have been taught by many masters, and all agree that treating the symptoms does not often result in a lasting solution. The symptoms can be clues, signposts, or they can be simply distractions that draw our attention away from the cause. Working with patients to discover the origins of their health problems, and using different diagnostic techniques to reveal the core of the issue, is what keeps me in practice. When we find the root, then the solution is obvious.

What is the biggest misconception you hear about acupuncture?
The biggest misconception I hear is that acupuncture is painful. I have given hundreds, maybe thousands, of first acupuncture treatments and nearly everyone remarks that they don’t even really notice the needles going in. I find that there are always one or two points that are more sensitive than others, and usually those feel like having a hair plucked on your arm, at worst. Most are fascinated by the sensations they experience—not pain, but warmth, tingling, connections between body parts, pressure, colors, sounds, and more. And most are genuinely changed when they get up off the table and can’t believe how different they feel.

How do you stay healthy in your own life?
I am always learning, and staying healthy for me means being a constant observer of what is working and what is not. Our bodies are dynamic, changing like the seasons, evolving and growing and aging and renewing every day. I am constantly reading new books, trying new practices, diet improvements, and refining the routines that keep me well rested and nourished on all levels. The center of my health program is always meditation, because when I am centered and listening inwardly, then the outward expression of that is simple and effortless.

What is functional medicine?
I have been fascinated by this expanding field of integrative medicine because it seems to use the wisdom of a systems-based understanding of the body like we find in Chinese medicine in combination with a strong understanding of the science behind those relationships. What’s more, we can use advances in Western diagnostics to pinpoint root causes in these systems and to better understand where the relationships between organ systems have broken down. I feel strongly that functional medicine is bridging the gap between East and West and I’m so excited to be sharing this with patients and seeing the rapid improvement and lasting recovery that occurs.

Learn more and get in touch
(310) 916-2232

Alchemy Arts Center: 35 W. Haley Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Bernhoft Center for Advanced Medicine: 1200 Maricopa Hwy, Suite A, Ojai, CA 93023
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