Health checkup: An integrative approach to medicine

Sara Mills; photo by Nicole McConville

Editor’s note: The following Q&A is one of several featured in this week’s Wellness, Part 1 issue. Additional Q&As will appear in next week’s Wellness, Part 2 issue. 

Sara Mills is a licensed acupuncturist and owner of Acupuncture Center of Asheville. She holds a Master of Science in Chinese medicine and has lived in Western North Carolina since 2015. Mills speaks with Xpress about the community’s growing awareness of herbal medicine and the benefits of an integrative approach to medicine.

What is a common misconception about herbalism?

People often think that herbalists use one single herb for one individual symptom. In Chinese medicine, we typically use multiple herbs in a formula to treat a pattern of imbalance. When using a formula, each herb has a specific action and direction in the body, and they can balance each other out for a desired effect. By treating the root imbalance, we can resolve a number of symptoms and support overall health and vitality.

How has the community’s understanding of herbalism evolved within your time here?

Based on my clinical experience at the Acupuncture Center of Asheville, I have witnessed that more patients are willing and interested in taking an herbal formula. More people in our community are gaining an understanding that herbal medicine can be used preventatively and as a first line of defense.
What role does herbalism play in Western medicine?

Herbal medicine is safe and effective and can be used as an adjunct or alternative to Western medicine. I truly believe that a patient can receive the most effective care by taking an integrative approach and combining the strengths of Chinese medicine and Western medicine. Chinese herbs are a powerful way to address a wide variety of conditions without the many side effects of prescription drugs.


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