Returning to My “Hometown”

Anshun Lang Bridge ( (originally a 13th century bridge)

I just returned from Sichuan Province in Southwestern China. In 1993 I lived in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan. This was my first trip back to China in 23 years. Needless to say, a lot has changed in China. It was shocking. A small shop where I once bought barely edible sweets is now a Versace. Underneath the Mao Zedong statue in the major city center intersection is an enormous metro station. Starbucks dot the city. In the old days, coffee was a rarity discovered in a long awaited care package from home.

The city I  had lived in was virtually unrecognizable. Yet, there were still hints of the old Chengdu. It seems China has matured enough to recognize that old buildings are worth preserving. In many parts of the city, the old buildings have been artfully restored, lending Chengdu its charm.  Furthermore, Chengdu is a lush, sub-tropical environment.  Trees and flowers grow in abundance, compensating for the not so clean air.

Jin Li Street

China is a complicated place for me. I’m concurrently repulsed by and attracted to the culture. It can be so difficult to comprehend and so isolating and yet so rewarding.
The nicest thing about the trip back to Chengdu was that we were able to find our friends Gao Biao and Zhu Zhen. It was because of these friends that I was able to live in Chengdu. They helped me find a job teaching English, they helped me find a place to live, and most of all they helped me find my path to acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. I am so thankful for their friendship and I can’t tell you how happy I was to see them again. We had lost touch, so finding them in a city of 30 million people was no easy task! (I have my husband, who speaks and reads Chinese fluently, to thank for that.) I even got to meet their 22 year old son, who was born shortly after I left China.

Here is a picture of our reunion:

Here is a picture of Gao Biao and Zhu Zheng 23 years ago, when I lived in China:

Gao Biao and Zhu Zhen in 1993

Despite the rapid development of Chengdu, it has still maintained some of its old world charm. The tea houses are very popular. Chengdu has a relaxed lifestyle compared to Shanghai and Beijing.

Ren Min Gong Yuan Tea House ( People’s Park Tea House)

Many people come here to enjoy the delicious, spicy Sichuan food – myself included. Here is a picture of the various types of chili sauces available on the street:

La Jiao ( Chili Sauces)

Gao Biao, is a well known sculptor. He has installations in various cities across  Sichuan. He was kind enough to take us to many interesting places in Chengdu. He took us to what is considered the largest (by volume not height) building in Asia. It is called Global Center. It is a shopping mall with many hotels, a water park and an ice skating rink inside. It was impressive:

Global Center

We also traveled to western Sichuan, to the border of Tibet. This is a mountainous region with peaks over 15,000 feet.

We visited Jiuzhaigou National Park with 8,000 other Chinese tourists. The Park averages 8 million visitors per year. It wasn’t exactly paradise.  There were a lot of near misses with selfie sticks in the eye. Pictures are deceiving.

Jiuzhaigou National Park

I hope you enjoyed my little rant on China.  It was fun to revisit a time and period of my life that was so influential to me  both as a person and professionally.

Mostly, I felt very proud of my “hometown” city of Chengdu. It is a special place. And I was proud of myself –  proud that I was able to navigate that difficult landscape by myself all those years ago. And yes, I even remembered how to speak Chinese.  Impressed yet?


Bone Appetit


Remember the welcoming smell of your grandmother’s kitchen- the comforting aroma of bone broth simmering gently on the stove? Well, Grandma was smarter than you might realize and I’ll explain why. Oftentimes, the healthiest foods aren’t the fancy ones we purchase at Whole Foods. Sometimes, the simplest foods, the ones’ reminiscent of our grandmother’s kitchens are the one’s we gain the most health benefits from.

I’ve seen clients in many stages of health, battling infinite types of illness, and often diet is lacking. It is easy to get carried away with food extremism, especially with so much contradictory information on diet. I see people swing from one end of the spectrum to the other, vegan one month and Paleo the next, often with dire consequences to their health. Food is undoubtedly our best medicine, yet it is difficult to maintain a balanced perspective on just what conjugates a “good” diet. Soups and stews are my favorite foods as they are easy on the digestion and so nourishing. Homemade bone broth offers exceptional benefits, benefits that I, a cook and health practitioner, was unaware of until recently. We often overlook the simplest, cheapest and healthiest sources of food, food that is our best medicine. Recently, I discovered my own best medicine in the shape of bison marrow bone.

Making broth from bones breaks down collagen, allowing for the availability of amino acids for the connective tissue structures in our bodies. The five most common types of collagen are essential to skin, tendons, ligaments, internal organs, bones, the vascular system, cell membranes, the eyes, hair, nails, the placenta… the list goes on. Many supplements try to patent these important proteins like Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate, but how effective they are is controversial.

Bone broth contains four “nonessential” amino acids. These are considered “nonessential” because in theory our bodies can manufacture them. But if we look closely at what these amino acids do and the types of diseases most Americans suffer from, it is probable that we don’t manufacture these amino acids in the ways we should. Perhaps only those with the most vitality produce these amino acids sufficiently and the rest of us need help. The four nonessential amino acids are proline, glutamine, glycine and alanine. In short, proline helps create healthy cartilage and bone. Unhealthy cartilage and bone sound familiar? Various types of arthritis affect one in five Americans (52.5 million people) and can be a crippling disease. Glutamine is essential to gut health as it heals the villa of the small intestine, where the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals takes place. Glutamine deficiency is indicated in all kinds of intestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease, celiac, ulcerative colitis etc. It also crosses the blood brain barrier, which is why it has been found useful for many psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia. Glutamine comprises an important part of the GAPS ( Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. This diet was originally developed for those suffering from autism, ADHD and schizophrenia, but has been used to treat all sorts of autoimmune and digestive disorders as well.

Glycine has the honor of being the basic building block for all other amino acids and is essential for healthy blood, fat, digestion and detoxification. Along with alanine it is necessary for wound healing and can be found in high concentrations in connective tissue and skin.

Alanine is valued by body builders and athletes for its abilities to enhance endurance and build muscle mass. It is also being researched for it’s anti aging components.

The source of your meat/bones is of consequence and if you’re lucky, you’ll have choices. At Frontier Natural Meats in Longmont, I was able to get grass fed bison marrow bones from a ranch in Colorado for $2.25/lb. Immediately upon entering, the store owner gave me the “nickel” tour on what’s available and the quality of their meats. (I was able to special order some chicken feet, as well.) At Whole Foods, I was able to get lamb shanks from a Colorado ranch. These made wonderful broth and were only $3.99 lb. This combined with a frozen beef shank ($10) from Whole Foods made my favorite broth so far. This is a simple recipe. For the more adventurous broth makers, I suggest you consult Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon Morell and Kayla Daniels. This book has recipes for broths containing pig’s feet, whole chicken including feet and head, whole pheasants and veal knuckle bones. If your squeamish like me, best to stick with the basics.

My favorite bone broth recipe:

2 – 4 lbs marrow bones, beef or bison

2 – 3 lbs, beef or lamb shank

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown the beef or lamb shank for 30 minutes.

Place the bones in a non aluminum stock pot, add 1/4 cup vinegar, and at least 3 quarts of water. Let stand 1/2 hour or more. The vinegar helps to dislodge the impurities and leach minerals out of the bone. Add the beef shank to the stockpot. Turn the heat on medium, bring to a controlled simmer. Skim any foam off the surface (this contains the impurities and also the bitter flavor).


2 bay leaves

10 pepper corns

1 clove

1 teaspoon thyme

vegetable scraps you have on hand or:

1 – 2 quartered yellow onions

4 sprigs parsley

2 – 4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 – 4 celery sticks, roughly chopped

When finished skimming off the foam, lower the heat to a slow simmer.

Add salt to taste preference toward the end of cooking time

With the lid ajar, simmer anywhere from 4- 12 hours. The longer you simmer the more amino acids are released, but the less broth you end up with. Strain your bone broth and put into ball jars. Only fill the ball jars 3/4 full if you are going to freeze them. If you let them cool before freezing, you can skim the fat off more easily.

When you refrigerate or unfreeze your broth, you should see a gelatinous mixture in the broth. These are the collagen fibers released from the bones that make your broth so nutritious. If your broth does not have visible gelatin it is possible that you cooked it at too high temperature (best to simmer on low) or you used too much water. Remove the meat from the lamb or beef shank and reserve for soup.

To make delicious soup: Use 2 quarts bone broth, one cup cooked baby lima beans, chopped onion, garlic, carrot and celery sautéed in butter or olive oil and add the meat from your beef or lamb shank. Yum!

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Establishing Healthy Eating Habits in Children


Saturday harvest at Stonebridge CSA Farm

My kids were born in the sleepy town of Lyons Colorado, population 1500.   Our house was 1/2 block from a peaceful park with a beautiful, meandering river.  This was quite different from the suburban Connecticut town where I grew up.  It took me some time, when I moved to Lyons from Seattle Washington, to get used to the slow pace and the local color.  But looking back,  I so appreciate the quiet, small town experience my kids had when they were little.   Everywhere we went we were a known entity — the librarian, the food market cashiers, the postal clerk – they all knew us by name.   Like any parent of small children, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing food.  Even before my first child was born, we belonged to a CSA (Community Supported Agricultural Farm) and every Saturday we came home with a huge pile of local vegetables.  When my daughter was 2 years old one of her favorite foods was sorrel and her birthday cake was a  beet red velvet cake.  The smallness of our world gave us the opportunity to live simply, and I chose to focus on our health and the food we ate rather than getting in the car and going to various activities.  Preparing healthy food takes time and patience, but there is no better way to express your love.

There are so many differing opinions about what to eat and the political correctness of food.  What is just as important but often overlooked, is establishing healthy eating habits.  You can encourage healthy eating habits whether you eat out of a box or eat home cooked meals. Here are some essentials for establishing healthy eating habits:

*Expose children ( after age 2) to a variety of tastes.  This may require some creativity, but giving a child only sweet food weakens their digestive system.

* Inform your child when they are eating “junk food”  on those occasions when it may not be possible to avoid.  Tell them to pay attention to how they feel after consuming junk food. Have them compare that experience to how they feel after eating steamed spinach, or a green salad.

*Pay attention to your child’s rhythms with food:  if they eat a lot after school (will snack and not eat dinner later) then give them dinner after school.

*Don’t eat  late at night or when tired or upset or on the run –important for family to sit down for a meal.  Rushing with food sends the message that food is not important, when in fact, food is your best medicine.

*Encourage your child to eat less when they are ill, teething or just after receiving an  immunization.  Also don’t introduce new foods after immunization as this can cause food allergies or sensitivity.

* Don’t force your children to eat.  Keep in mind that the amount of food a toddler eats varies from day to day.  Look at quantity of intake over the period of a week or a month, not a particular day.  It is also helpful to knows that a child’s appetite can increase or decrease during a growth spurt.

*Don’t fight with your children about food.  Children will always win fights about food and toilet training.

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On Turning Fifty and Skiing Across Finland

I’m not one to make a big deal out of my birthday.  At least, not since I turned 18.  On my 40th birthday, for example, I bought a new vacuum cleaner.  That wasn’t a bad choice, given the circumstances.  But I decided I wanted to do something memorable for my 50th year.  I’ve always wanted to do a point to point x-country ski tour.  I couldn’t find anything in North America other than going to a lodge and exploring the nearby trails.  There are lots of back country, hut to hut ski trips, especially in Colorado, but that didn’t appeal to me either.  Been there, done that.  I searched and searched the internet, and found the Border to Border Ski Tour, 440 km of groomed classic ski tracks across Finland.  You ski supported for a total of seven days, from the border of Russia to the border of Sweden.  It takes place in northern Finland, close to the Arctic Circle.

Rajalta Rajalle-Hiihto (Finnish for Border to Border Ski Tour) THe strange logo is a map of northern Finland, with the ski route running horizontally across the bottom. I can't explain the Carmen Miranda hat.

Rajalta Rajalle-Hiihto
(Finnish for Border to Border Ski Tour)
The strange logo is a map of northern Finland, with the ski route running horizontally across the bottom. I can’t explain the Carmen Miranda hat.

I told my husband, we signed up, unsure of who was going to look after our children, our dog, or our jobs.   Then we more carefully examined the itinerary.  The average distance per day was about 60 km, the longest day being 90 km.  Wow! neither of us had ever skied that far in a day.  When and where did we have the luxury to do that?    It never crossed my mind that I might not be fit enough.

At the start

At the start

I live near Boulder Colorado, after all, one of the most athletically obsessed places on the planet.  In my opinion, there’s really not much to do in Colorado, other than exercise.  I stressed about my arm strength, I’m a mountain biker and a formerly competitive runner.  I have strong legs and lungs, not strong arms.   We were forewarned about epic days of double poling.

There were close to 100 people from many different nationalities on our tour.   Most of them were men (85%) and had names like Gunnar, Thor, Serge and Guido.  The majority were from Finland, of course.  There was a Swiss man who had skied Border to Border 23 times.  He must have been close to 80 years old.  When you arrive, the staff hand you a laminated card with your name, your nationality, and the number of times you have completed Border to Border.  My card was very boring.  It had my boring name, Julie Smith, my boring country and flag, and the number 1.  What I wished they had included on the cards was the age of the participant.  As you can see from the group picture, many of the participants were gray haired.

This was the warmest winter on record in Finland in over 100 years.   Ironically, the arctic current was on the east coast of North America, where I am originally from. In some ways this was a relief as I have heard tales of losing fingers and face to frost bite in 30 degrees below zero temperatures.  The ski conditions reminded me of skiing in southern Vermont in March, a mixture of  alternating soft slush and rock hard ice with many bare spots in between.

Finland reminded me of Maine

Finland reminded me of Maine

There were miles of frozen roads, skiing across pine needles, wood chips and pitch where cut trees were stacked, gravelly areas close to the roads and areas where your feet got soaking wet skiing across melting lakes and bogs.  It was certainly not the arctic, Christmas-like, experience we were anticipating.

The ski conditions were not ideal

The ski conditions were not ideal

There was a Father and son from Alaska who left early, they couldn’t tolerate the conditions.  I overheard a Brit arguing that these conditions would be considered “good” in Britain, that was the day it poured rain on us.  There were several sections of the trail we were unable to complete, because rivers, lakes and bogs weren’t frozen enough.

So there we were in Finland skiing 60 km a day.  If you had the right wax ( which meant klister, given the warmth and ice) and stayed focused it really wasn’t too bad.  If you dawdled and took pictures and fell behind, 60 km was endless.

skiing in the rain

skiing in the rain

Border to Border 1914 069

The service stations were staffed by volunteers. They provided pickles, a fire and warm black currant juice.

  The first few days we were sore.  We could barely lift our legs up the stairs.  If we wanted to sit cross legged in a chair we had to physically place one leg on top of the other.  The other non-Finns seemed to have similar complaints. It was true about the double poling.  There were some skiers who rarely moved their legs, they were dedicated double polers !


swimming hole outside the sauna

The last day, near the border of Sweden, we were unable to do any of the designated trail.  They took us to a ski resort and  gave us a 50 km route instead.  It felt like the flood gates had opened.  I think the participants were thankful to have decent tracks and an opportunity to strut their stuff.  It was a race to the finish!!  The whole trip was, in my opinion, a bit of a competition. It was hard to pass a Finn.  I had trouble keeping up with the 75 year old Finnish women.  I’m not sure if their speed was attributable to technique or sheer determination.  The Finns are a rare breed, that’s for sure.  On the last evening of our trip my husband sauned with four other Finns who ranted and raved about the inadequate sauna.  It was not hot enough for them, though my husband was quite comfortable for a change.  The Finns proceeded to pour lots of water on the rocks to try and heat up the sauna.  They eventually gave up, grunting and groaning, and proceeded to jump in the lake.

Overall, I would say this experience was quite humbling, I am not a good skier by Finnish standards.  Yet, it was also inspiring.  I can’t wait to turn 75 and go back and ski Border to Border again.  I guess my Swedish genes dominate!  For more information on the tour :

one American, 3 Danes, 1 Catalonian, and 1 Italian

My buddies – 1 American, 3 Danes, 1 Catalonian, and 1 Italian

The lodging was quite nice.  I loved the Finnish design.

The lodging was quite nice. I loved the Finnish design.

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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

endocrine disrupting chemicalsBy Julie Smith

Our endocrine system consists of the thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands. These glands manage and produce hormones.  Endocrine disrupting chemicals are a class of chemicals that mimic hormones and confuse the body. These chemicals disrupt a very delicate balance by binding at receptor sites, preventing the real hormones from doing their job. Some common ones are phthalates; abundant in body products, they are used to bind fragrances. Phthalates are also in plastics.  Perhaps more infamous is Bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic hardener found in dental filings, eyeglass lenses, and CDs. These are just a few.

BPA has been linked to breast and prostate cancer, urethra problems, cardiac irregularities, and negative developmental impacts on children and fetuses. In 2012, the FDA outlawed BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. Many plastics now advertise as BPA free. But do they contain triclosan? Another endocrine disruptor, it is common in plastics but less well known.

A list of some common endocrine disruptors:

  • BPA: plastic water bottles and canned food items
  • Dioxin: conventional meat, dairy, and eggs (choose organic and grass-fed!)
  • Atrazine: drinking water contaminant
  • Phthalates: personal care items and air fresheners
  • Fire retardants: plastics, textiles, and construction materials
  • Lead: industrial facilities, batteries, and home products including paint and plumbing materials
  • Arsenic: pesticides, fertilizers, rice and apple juice products
  • Mercury: seafood and amalgam teeth fillings
  • Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs): manufacturing facilities, Teflon cookware, personal care items
  • Organophosphate pesticides: pest-control products and frequently applied to agricultural crops, buildings, and lawns
  • Glycol ethers: solvents for paints, gum, dyes, and cosmetics

Most alarming of all, recent research has linked endocrine disrupting chemicals to obesity and diabetes. The study suggests these chemicals cause obesity by encouraging the formation of more and larger fat cells. Let’s review that laundry list again. These chemicals have been linked to: cancer, developmental disorders in children, obesity, and diabetes. And what are we waiting for?

It is important to keep up with this issue because it is virtually impossible to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals unless you’re a mennonite or a Buddhist monk, as Florence Williams so humorously points out in “Eat Like a Mennonite.”  It is encouraging to know, however, that by changing our eating habits (not eating food packaged or stored in plastic or cans) and altering our lifestyle (not touching anything with plastic, including  car interiors and bicycle helmets, etc), these chemicals or at least BPA, are easily excreted from our bodies. But the fact remains that most of us uphold a modern lifestyle and, glass water bottle or not, we are constantly in contact with these chemicals.  “It’s a daily drip” as Williams so morosely states.

In another opinion article in the NY Times, Nicholas Kristof, whose opinions on most world matters I deeply respect, states: “endocrine disruptors may be the tobacco of our time. Science-based decisions to improve public health — like the removal of lead from gasoline — have been among our government’s most beneficial public policy moves. In this case, a starting point would be to boost research of endocrine disruptors and pass the Safe Chemicals Act. That measure, long stalled in Congress, would require more stringent safety testing of potentially toxic chemicals around us.”

To me that says it all–the  toxic chemicals that surround us are the “tobacco of our time”.  Time to wake up and do something about this. I have difficulty convincing my fifteen-year-old daughter to use safe cosmetic products. How can the “natural” shampoo compete with the phthalate ridden shampoo that makes her hair so soft and shiny? The struggle to keep my kids eating healthy food is battle enough. If the government outlawed phthalates (among others), then I wouldn’t have to worry, and my kids chances of becoming sick from these substances would significantly decrease.  I don’t like being an anxious person and neither do you! But we need to pressure our representatives to act on this matter. In the mean time, what can you do to avoid the dangerous effects of these insidious chemicals:

  • Use a drinking water filter
  • Use a HEPA air filter
    Invest in infrared sauna sessions
  • Include chlorophyll in your diet

Fascinated by All things Ancient and Sometimes Magical

PompeiiBy Julie Smith

Early human civilizations, ruins, and all things ancient fascinate me. I sat in my favorite high school course, “Ancient Civilizations,” mesmerized by my teacher’s descriptions of embalming methods in ancient Egypt, the building of the pyramids, and Roman gluttony.  I fancied myself an archeologist while in college. When on an excavation near Nazareth, I unearthed a near perfect, pure white, bone needle. Measuring six inches long, sleek and smooth, this needle was an omen (talisman) of my future career.

Years later, I find myself a practitioner of an ancient medicine involving needles—acupuncture.  Unlike many traditional medicines, acupuncture has a written history dating back more than two thousand years. Furthermore, it’s grounded in thousands of years of clinical practice. I have my predecessors to thank when my patients get better. Yet, when my patients ask me how and why, it’s not something I can explain easily. I tell them, it’s something they can experience, like magic.

I recently visited  “ A Day in Pompeii” exhibit at the Denver Museum of Natural History.   There I came across a display entitled, ”Medicine in Pompeii.” The wall label read:

Pompeii revealed much about the medicine practiced by the Romans.

Medicine was perceived to be part magic and part science. People believed in potions and talismans as well as more practical medical treatments.  Doctors were considered to be craftsman, like potters and sculptors.

Complete sets of medical instruments, including scalpels and probes similar to those used by surgeons today, were discovered. These show how knowledgeable some medical practitioners were and how advanced Roman medicine was.

Pompeii’s doctors set bones, drilled holes in skulls, sutured wounds, performed amputations, and used prostheses to replace lost limbs. They performed minor plastic surgery such as the removal of moles. understood that arteries carried blood, and cleaned their instruments in boiling water after use.

In Pompeii, medicine embraced “magic”, and doctors were craftsmen. Unfortunately, in our culture, we expect doctors to be more like technicians and robots, eliminating subjective human input. But while there are facts, objectives, and scientific evidence, there are also so many unknowns and so much left to our own imagination. I like to think magic is our subjective experience of the unknown. And when I practice, I am tapping into that magic and into a force much greater than me. I am tapping into the unknown.


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Julie’s Journey: Falling Into Acupuncture & Moxibustion

When Julie Smith arrived in China in her early 20s, she didn’t know what to expect. But while teaching English in Chengdu, she lived across the street from The Sichuan Institute of Traditional Medicine. There, she took a few classes, her teachers and fellow students convinced her to try acupuncture, and, she said, she just fell into it.

“I would go to these clinics, and they would hand me these long needles, and say, put these in that woman’s face,” Smith said. “It was really fun.” Plus, she began noticing the impact acupuncture had on a wide variety of illnesses and the throngs of patients that passed through the crowded clinics. People who had facial paralysis, the flu, back pain, psoriasis or broken arms, among other things, found relief. For example, she recalled, “It was inspiring to see family members bring  their Nai Nai (grandmas) in for acupuncture every day if they had recently suffered from a stroke.  They often traveled great distances to receive treatment.” People who have a stroke need to regenerate the damaged tissues, so the more treatment they get in a more concentrated period of time, the more likely they are going to regain their faculties. In most Chinese hospitals, whether they are western or traditional, acupuncture plays a major role in post-stroke rehabilitation.

For Smith, this was eye opening. “The Chinese are really dedicated acupuncture patients,” she stated. And the practice is not only for adults. Smith saw a lot of infants and children pass through the clinics. “Parents in the United States are conservative,” Smith said. But there are techniques specifically adapted for children that are very effective and accepted by most children.  With shonishin  ( a type of Japanese acupuncture for children) tools are used on the surface of the skin rather than needles. “Children are very sensitive. The gentler you are, the better they respond. It’s a shame parents here don’t use acupuncture more often. You can really see a lot of improvement quickly with pediatric coughs, fevers,  asthma, sleep issues, and digestive problems … to name a few.”

After a year in China, Smith returned to Seattle, Wash., where she decided to be one of the first students to study in a brand new acupuncture school started by Dan Bensky, one of the more well known Chinese Medicine specialists in the Western world.

After graduating in 1997, she and her husband moved to Lyons, where Smith started practicing right away. Influenced by a close colleague who studied Japanese acupuncture, which included the use of specific moxibustion techniques, Smith decided to focus more on that medium. “When I got out of school, I came to realize that most people didn’t want to drink the disgusting tasting herbal decoctions I had to offer,” she explained. “But I’ve always liked using herbs to heal the body; I’m more comfortable with herbs than I am with needles.”  Incorporating moxibustion into her practice gave her the opportunity to use herbs externally rather than internally.  Smith saw results; most of her patients felt significantly better when she used a combination of moxa and needling.  Working with these mediums opened Smith’s mind and heart, she said. “It felt like I could accomplish a lot with just a little bit. It doesn’t really take an enormous amount of effort to heal; it just takes intention and attention.”

In 2002 Smith opened the Moxa Shack in a converted office space in her garage in Lyons. By 2010, Smith recognized a need in Lyons. “A lot of people wanted acupuncture, but couldn’t afford it, or couldn’t afford to get enough of it to get better.” So, she and Carol Conigliaro opened up the Lyons Community Acupuncture Clinic, styling it after Asian clinics. While LCA is not exactly the same as the busy, noisy clinics in China, treatments are more affordable and patients might find themselves being treated alongside other patients. “It’s not as good as getting a private, but I feel like people really see the value of this, and they appreciate the clinic a lot,” Smith added.

“How you treat your body and respect your health is really a reflection of your ethics and how you choose to be in the world. Health is a journey for people, and acupuncture can be a powerful healing tool.”

Smith has practiced for 19 years, taught at Southwest Acupuncture College, and currently offers treatments in both Boulder and Lyons. She lives in Lyons with her children Eva (17), Angus (14) and her husband, Tim, the Director of Asian Studies at CU, with whom she has been married for nearly three decades.