Monica is a licensed acupuncturist and has studied and practiced natural medicine around the world. Valuing the principles of body awareness and preventative care, Monica helps her patients through noninvasive natural medicine. She fills us in on her future plans, her advice for preventing injuries, and the most rewarding part of her job.
Occupation: Licensed Acupuncturist
Resident of Santa Barbara since: 2006
Favorite Sports/Hobbies: Soccer, Ashtanga yoga, travelling
Favorite Local Restaurant: Le Bon Café
My “feel good” music: Stevie Wonder, hip hop, reggae, world music, classic rock
Where I see myself in ten years: I see myself teaching or lecturing, still practicing traditional Chinese medicine, perhaps publishing a book, and last but not least, being a Mom
How I first got involved in the health/fitness industry: I worked as an assistant manager in a health club in St. Croix, USVI. I made the connection that taking care of your body through exercise was the best form of preventative medicine. I’m glad that I made this connection at a young age. Natural medicine is really an off-shoot of this – just another form of non-invasive preventative care.
Why I think acupuncture is important for anyone: Acupuncture has a regulatory effect on the nervous system. I have actually seen it lower blood pressure after a twenty minute needle session. Anyone can benefit from this, athlete or non-athlete.
My biggest tips for preventing injury: Body awareness. Being present during workouts. This is hard at the gym, where multiple distractions can keep you from focusing on your workout. Also, respecting your body by drinking lots of water (not out of plastic bottles) and eating right. Nothing says disrespect like fast food.
Why I chose Santa Barbara as the place to establish and expand my business: My fiancé lives here. While visiting him, I fell in love with the geography. Nowhere else can you have a view of the mountains and then the beach by doing a 180 degree turn.
My definition of healthy: Energy. I love the feeling of waking up early and charging all day and not feeling lethargic. I must admit that caffeine in green tea is partly responsible for my energy. One day I’d like to get to a place where I could have the same kind of natural energy that green tea gives me! But we’re all just a work in progress, aren’t we?
What I love most about my job: My patients. Healing happens when the person feels that they are being treated by an equal, not somebody who is distant and condescending. I enjoy sharing with my patients my truth and hearing theirs. Every day is an opportunity to learn. It is never mundane, and that is a rarity.
How I would like to see the fitness community of Santa Barbara evolve over the next ten years: The fitness community of Santa Barbara is already such a prototype for the rest of the country. When I come back to Santa Barbara after being away I am always shocked to see so many people, young and old, exercising. Very few places in the country are like this.