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Community Highlights: Meet Stace Nelson-Hicks of Elixir Lifestyle Medicine | VoyageLA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Stace Nelson-Hicks, DACM

Hi Stace, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today? After working in the entertainment industry for over a decade, first as a publicist and then as a television producer I had acquired great behind-the-scenes anecdotes, a museum’s worth of frameable memorabilia and what I considered the worst stress-related PMS a woman could have.

Because I knew that the birth control pill was all that allopathic medicine had to offer to control my unbearable monthly symptoms, and I didn’t want a pharmaceutical band-aid, I looked elsewhere for help. I found a Licensed Acupuncturist who treated me twice a week for six weeks and prescribed personalized herbal formulas that I took daily. Within two months, my symptoms were gone and my life was forever changed. At the time, I was producing medical segments for a morning talk show and soon realized that I would rather be the medical practitioner than the medical producer! My Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training expedited my acceptance into Asian medical school and I’ve never looked back!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way? Establishing a practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a calling and, I believe, must come from a passion for the medicine and a commitment to helping others. It is not an easy path to follow. The biggest barrier to overcome is ignorance about scope of our practice and the extensive medical training– both Eastern and Western—completed for licensure.

Most people don’t know our scope of practice. When they hear ‘acupuncture’ they tend to think only about needles and non-narcotic pain management. But like other primary care providers, we can diagnose and treat a very wide range of conditions using massage, exercise, herbs, supplements, and nutrition. We are able to order blood work, urinalysis, stool and saliva testing to look at hormones, blood sugar issues, the gut microbiome, and toxic exposures including mycotoxins, Lyme and tick-borne diseases.

Another little known fact is how rigorous our education is; TCM schooling is a four-year Master’s degree that includes two years of Western Internal Medicine, Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology; two years of herbology (400 individual herbs and 100 formulas), Chinese Internal Medicine, Orthopedic Acupuncture (Dry Needling) and completing over 900 hours in clinic before we can sit for the California State Boards. Many of us continue our studies and earn a Doctorate; my focus was integrative medicine.


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