Nikki Doner-Sherwood

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Nikki Doner-Sherwood is the director of the new Community Centered Oriental Medicine, opening on State Street on January 7, 2008. The Community Centered Oriental Medicine offers the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine affordable and available to everyone in the Santa Barbara Community.

Occupation: Acupuncturist

How long I have been in Santa Barbara: I was born and raised in LA, and I have been living in Santa Barbara for 32 years.

Favorite Local Restaurant: I love Italian food, and some of my favorite restaurants are Via Maestra 42, and Via Vai Trattoria and Pane e Vino in Montecito.

Music I’m currently listening to: I’ve been listening to a lot of Portuguese fado music. I really enjoy listening to Césaria Évora, and her mix of Brazilian
and Portuguese sounds.

Favorite sport/hobby: My favorite sport is hiking, and my hobby is designing and sewing aprons made from vintage fabrics.

How I spend a typical Sunday: I like to go on long walks or hikes with our dog, cook a lot of food for the family, and go bird watching with my husband in the afternoons. Sunday is family time, and I love having dinner with the family. I also like to sleep in on Sundays!

How I first got involved in the health industry: I started out in my 20’s in midwifery, because I had been attracted to complementary/alternative medicine from a young age. But midwifery, where I was working by myself and was on call 24/7, was more of a commitment than what I was looking for, and I didn’t have what it took. I had studied herbal medicines informally, but then I decided to formalize my studies. I got involved in acupuncture mostly from the effectiveness of my own treatments I received. My symptoms went away, so that caught my attention. I have also worked with Project Recovery for treating substance abuse with acupuncture, and with Native American clinics.

What inspired me to open the Community Centered Oriental Medicine Clinic: The Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine is closing in two weeks after 26 years. I’ve worked as the Director of the College of Oriental Medicine for seven years, and in social service settings doing acupuncture for much longer. There is a need for affordable, alternative medicine, and I wanted to continue the tradition of the College, and start a community centered clinic for people who cannot otherwise afford high-end treatments like acupuncture.

What Community Centered Oriental Medicine offers: We offer low cost, sliding fee scale for community treatments. It is up to the patients to decide how much they can afford. In China, acupuncture is performed daily, or at least several times a week, to treat acute symptoms. Frequent acupuncture offers a more effective therapy. But many patients in America cannot afford treatment several times a week, which makes it hard to make a change. We want to include all aspects, and all members of the community in our clinic. We have many professionals, students, retired people, and family care givers as our clients. I hope to make the clinic a gathering space to teach classes, and really focus on the community. My wish is to service our community members.

How I would like to see the health community of Santa Barbara evolve over the next ten years: I would like to see the integration of Western and complementary medicines. This could lead to a more effective, encompassing, and complete care. I think Santa Barbara is slowly moving in this direction. I think medicine could be bettered by including all types of medicines, because each method is limited. By using all the skills, we can treat people better.

What I love most about my job: I love people, and I love being able to help people feel better. I love the intimate experiences, and the meaningful ways in which I can connect with people through acupuncture. It’s wonderful to be a part of someone getting better. It’s my passion to make this medicine affordable to people who need it, not just people who can afford it. I love teaching, and educating people how to be better, and how to take care of themselves. I am so excited about the opening of the Community Centered Oriental Medicine.

My definition of healthy: Someone who feels balanced emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Healthy is someone who is mindful of their body, and takes good care of it. Healthy is the integration and balance of the mind, body, and spirit.

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