For Elizabeth Alexandre, acupuncture is a calling.
Her early interest in plant medicine and her own positive experience with the natural healing arts led her to graduate with honors from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and continue her studies under Dr. Wang Ju-Wi at his private clinic in Beijing, China. She later also trained as a DONA International birth doula.
Since then, Alexandre has worked as an acupuncturist everywhere from Beth Israel Medical Center to Housing Works Community Acupuncture Clinic, and has volunteered her services on medical missions to the Barbara Ford Peace Center in Guatemala and Bumi Sehat Foundation International in Indonesia.
Today, she is driven by a desire to illuminate the causes of discomfort and illness and heal her patients in a balanced, holistic way. In particular, she is passionate about helping women in arenas from reproductive to emotional health and beyond.
Here, Alexandre explains why combining Eastern and Western philosophies can benefit the entire world:
Live The Process: How did you find acupuncture?
Elizabeth Alexandre: I have been drawn to the natural healing arts since a young age. My initial interest began in ethnobotony and plants as medicine. I was an Eastern Philosophy major as an undergrad and had a keen interest in shamanism and indigenous medicine men/women. Traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture and herbalism) is Daoist medicine, therefore, I was drawn to experience the philosophy I was studying on a medicinal and physical level.
I started seeing an acupuncturist for my own health and well-being my freshman year of college. It had a profound effect on me, and I continued to seek out Chinese medical practitioners throughout my young adult life. Post graduation, I looked into studying Chinese medicine, but life took me in a different direction. It wasn’t until years later that two different acupuncturists I was seeing suggested I enter the profession. I took their advice, sat in on a class and felt called to the craft.
LTP: Can you talk about the various acupuncture methods you employ and their different applications?
EA: Applied Channel Theory Palpation is a style of classical acupuncture developed by Dr. Wang Ju Yi, a Chinese medical practitioner I studied under in Beijing, China. What makes this style unique is the diagnosis and treatment. In Chinese medicine, there is a saying: “one disease, many treatments’” and “many diseases, one treatment.” In essence, there are many ways to treat a certain disease or pathology. Applied Channel Palpation uses a specific type of technique to palpate the physical channels along the body to determine any change or abnormalities to better diagnosis which channel or organ system is involved in the pathology. This technique is applicable to all.
Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is a modern technique or style of acupuncture that not only provides cosmetic benefits (improves muscle tone, increases collagen, promotes skin rejuvenation, improves tonality etc.), but also promotes overall health and well-being from within.
My primary focus and passion is women’s health. My work has many facets which include helping women regulate their menstrual cycles, promoting optimal reproductive health, offering support during pregnancy, preparing for labor and giving post-partum support.
LTP: How did your philanthropic work abroad inform your worldview?
EA: The volunteer work I did in both Bali (Bumi Sehat) and in Quiche (BFPC) was equally meaningful. However, both experiences proved how necessary community health clinics are in impoverished, developing countries. It became clear to me that, as much as the people of each community appreciated and benefited from the acupuncture and care we provided, what most of these people really needed was healthy food, clean water, medical supplies and intervention. I think a more powerful contribution to these communities would be to combine both Eastern and Western medicine into one integrative community health clinic.
My greatest inspiration during this work was in Bali at the Bumi Sehat Birthing Center. I am a great supporter of maternal healthcare and promoter of natural birth. Women in developing countries need our help with funding for more birthing centers, doctors, midwives and supplies to ensure safe and, if possible, natural and positive birth experiences.
LTP: What comprises your own current wellness routine?
EA: I find it difficult to find the time to do all of the healthy self-care practices I recommend to my patients. I went six months without seeing an acupuncturist myself! I am now back to weekly appointments.
My relatively new obsession is Kung Fu (almost a year). I have fallen in and out of various martial arts practices over the years and have finally made a commitment to Kung Fu and other forms of boxing. I absolutely love it.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
EA: Happiness is loving the work I do, creating and sustaining meaningful connections and spending time with the ones I love.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that every day?
EA: To me, “Live The Process” means to live in the moment, let go of what cannot be controlled, don’t look back, don’t look too far forward—just enjoy. It’s very difficult to do that every day, especially if that day is a challenging one, involving loss and disappointment. I think the first step is starting some sort of meditation practice. Whether it’s quiet seated meditation, guided or physical or movement meditation, the practice helps.