M'illumino Natural Medicine | Sara Bowes LAc

Herbal Medicine

Classical Chinese herbalism involves thoughtfully customized formulations of botanicals to address the underlying root cause of a patient’s symptoms. The Chinese art of herbal prescribing is a highly sophisticated system that has been used and developed over centuries to address all manners of illness from chronic health issues to the common cold. Where conventional medicine struggles to find more than just symptom suppression (an approach which causes deeper problems down the line)— chronic digestive issues, menstrual, fertility, and hormonal struggles, chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety and depression, ongoing and recurrent infection to name a few— Chinese herbal medicine excels. Chinese medicine does not treat symptoms, it treats the person. This is to say that ten patients could walk into the clinic with a headache, and ten distinct treatments might be administered. By treating the root of the problem, not only are symptoms improved, but the body re-learns optimal function and lasting change occurs.

Acupuncture + Physical Medicine

Acupuncture involves the use of fine, sterile, stainless steel, disposable, single use needles inserted into the body as a means of stimulating the body's innate healing capability. The needles used are extremely fine: 40 acupuncture needles are said to fit inside the shaft of a single syringe. Acupuncture is an extremely safe, effective, and relatively economical treatment for a range of health and wellness concerns from anxiety and depression to chronic pain to longstanding mysterious health troubles that have not responded to other treatments. Because acupuncture has beneficial systemic effects on the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems, patients often report pleasurable side effects like improved mood, sleep, energy, and immunity, and for these reasons, acupuncture can be an important part of wellness maintenance. In addition to acupuncture, we may use cupping—a suction therapy gaining much popularity, guasha—a superficial scraping therapy, moxa—a warming therapy, and bodywork to address the blood, fluids, warmth, and inflammation in the body.

Mindfulness-Based Healing

For a holistic medicine practitioner, all aspects of a person—physical, mental, and emotional—are important and necessary to include. I incorporate mindfulness-based, experiential, and somatically-oriented methods to assist my patients in studying and getting to know themselves.

Mindfulness is a way of listening to ourselves with curiosity and gentleness. It is a state of self-awareness that we are all have access to, and when combined with therapeutic work, it allows for lasting changes in our brains (neuroplasticity) to occur. Experiential work values the present-moment and the transformative potential in actually entering in to the experience of being you, being stuck, having pain, etc. When we go toward our actual experience, feeling into it and exploring it gently and deeply (rather than just talking about it) insight and lasting change become possible. My work is body-centered because as a Chinese medicine practitioner, my primary orientation is toward the body and its unique patterning, and as a holistically-oriented healer, the body is central to working with emotional and psychological themes.

My view of the human being is that we each carry within us a drive toward a whole, complete, and free sense of self, and that various, often early life experiences taught us that we were something different. Our work in healing is to disentangle the messy result of conditioning from our true, authentic nature. Within the context of applied mindfulness, present-moment experiential work, and the safe and compassionate container of the therapeutic relationship, the brain actually reconfigures itself, and the possibility for a new experience in the world surfaces. We are complex, resilient, and plastic creatures with an unrelenting drive toward healing and a whole and integrated experience of self.