There are many entry points to the pathway of healing.
One person might begin their journey with acupuncture for pain, for example; but then find they need help from a psychotherapist to process emotions that may become unblocked during treatment.
Another person may start their journey with a health coach looking for strategies to lose weight. The health coach may recognize underlying anxiety that can be helped with stress reducing practices like meditation or yoga.
A truly integrative approach to healing rests on collaboration between practitioners. To have access to a well-rounded collection of alternative healing modalities under one roof is unique, and one whose time has come.
“One healer cannot do it all,” said Robert Gittli, acupuncturist and co-founder of Meridian Acupuncture.
This team approach to healing is the impetus and the excitement behind our burgeoning multi business model within the Meridian Building at 311 Wallace Avenue.
This year has seen the addition of Yoga Baum studio on the 2nd floor and the upcoming opening of Meridian Integrative Wellness Center, both independently owned, but collaborative, businesses. We also will be adding a physical therapist this year.
We have supported the value of having multiple modalities under one roof since we opened Meridian Acupuncture 7 years ago. Aside from our acupuncture practice, we have offered massage and Chinese herbal medicine here from the beginning and have also referred our clients to practitioners outside of our building.
“Many of our regular patients already come for both acupuncture and massage therapy, which has been a successful collaboration since the day we opened our practice, in helping people manage pain, prevent pain and manage stress,” said Karen Alladin Gittli, acupuncturist and co-founder of Meridian Acupuncture.
“We are complex human beings that are to be treated as a whole person with so many facets, and one type of medicine cannot do everything. There are times in people’s lives where they might need one intervention over the other, and collaboration is key to making those gears fit together and work as a whole.”
Aside from acupuncture, massage, yoga and physical therapy, the addition of Meridian Integrative Wellness on the 2nd floor will continue to build the collection of practitioners with health coaches, psychotherapists, a teaching kitchen and wellness chef, childbirth educators and Tai Chi and Chi Kung.
“Clients need only walk upstairs from their favorite acupuncturist or massage therapist to begin their exploration of lifestyle changes that will lead to lifelong well-being,” said Jessica Hill Powell, Duke Integrative Medicine health coach and owner/founder of Meridian Integrative Wellness. As an integrative health coach, Jessica will work with clients to further the main tenant of integrative medicine - that the relationship between client and practitioner is a founded on a partnership of equals.
“Clients are the experts of their own lives, values and health goals,” Jessica said. “Coaches are taught to establish an environment of open-ended curiosity, respect and trust. This enables clients to explore the full range of issues and values that affect their well-being.”
All educators at the center were chosen for their shared holistic approach to wellness. “As entrepreneurs at the top of their respective fields,” Jessica said of the MIW team, “what has made them so successful is their ability to practice non-judgment and to meet clients where they are in life.”
One of our first class offerings will be a six-week therapeutic elimination diet class taught by wellness chef Rhona Bowles Kamar. The title of the class is The Exploration Diet, which reflects the belief that determining our own best diet is an individual journey. Identifying potential food sensitivities can be an important first step.
“There are so many aspects of a fully vibrant life - discovering the optimal diet for each individual is one,” said Rhona. “The ability to educate people about the beautiful range of food choices as a part of the big picture of their health will mean greater success and enjoyment for them long term.”
This class, along with an evolving schedule of other healthy lifestyle classes, will be taught in the newly finished teaching kitchen and education room. With an expansive wall of windows and brand new cooking and A/V equipment, the room is situated between the MIW offices and Yoga Baum studio.
Although we have worked in collaboration with practitioners around the community for years, the physical proximity of our carefully curated team will make all the difference for our clients.
“The field is highly fragmented, with most practitioners working independently without alignment or physical proximity to other practitioners,” Jessica said about the inspiration behind Meridian Integrative Wellness.
“The businesses within the Meridian building, including MIW, work collaboratively to provide our clients with a seamless experience,” she said. “Folks don’t have to run all over town seeking different providers. They can come to one place and be provided with the services they need to help them reach their health goals.”
If clients choose, they can allow practitioners to communicate between each other to further build upon the team approach to healing.
“With client (written) permission, MIW and Meridian Acupuncture are able to share information so that we can provide the best care possible. This means they don’t have to feel pressure to deliver a message from one practitioner to another that may be misunderstood or lost in translation.”
We have already seen the impact of that proximity has with the yoga studio in the same building. “We have been prescribing yoga to some of our clients for years, but we couldn’t get people to consistently leave here and go do yoga,” said Robert. “So we built a studio upstairs and now we have almost 100 percent compliance with the clients we recommend it to.”
“Because they know where it is, they can see it. We take the mystery and guesswork out of it.”
The success of this integrative team approach rests on the strength of trust between practitioners, something that we have worked hard to build along with the physical space.
“Each practitioner cultivates some level of trust with each patient or client, so it’s a great responsibility to refer them to other practitioners who are trustworthy,” Karen said.” When we are in the same building, it allows for me to easily refer to professionals whose work I trust and value greatly.”
This sense of trust is what Jessica said she envisioned as she developed the MIW concept while on staff at Meridian Acupuncture. “True partnership is what creates empowerment and lasting healthy changes.”
Meridian Integrative Wellness Center will celebrate its grand opening on January 5, 2019. Please visit their website at www.meridianiw.com more information and class schedules.