MAHSHID ESSALAT-WEBER, L.Ac.
My studies have been life-transforming for me. I love my work and am passionate about Eastern philosophy. Coming to California from Switzerland has become an opportunity for me to apply all that I know from my European training, adding my experiences from PCOM and continuing my path to healing.
As a child I grew up in a Persian garden – lots of flowers and fruit trees and the land was irrigated with water supplied by a well. My fun would start by the beginning of summer and the end of school period. We children had everything to keep busy at home: a swimming pool and a fruit garden. My mother orchestrated this love of nature. There is no doubt in my mind that my mother transmitted the love of flowers and trees to us children.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from Tehran University. Later on, I earned my master’s degree in public administration from American University, Washington, DC, I was determined to combine my language abilities and love of travel. I looked for humanitarian jobs in an international organization. I received an offer from FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). I declined as the job offer came too late since I was pregnant with my first child.
Later when my family moved from Switzerland to Mexico, my daughter was 1 ½ years of age and my son was 8 months. We first lived in Morelia, a historical city in the north central state of Michoacán. My sister-in-law, who had four young children, warned me against the overuse of antibiotics. She alerted me about how many children grow up having dental problems (i.e. predisposing them to oral yeast) by the age of 7 or 8, due to excess prescribed and over use of antibiotics.
That was my “wake-up call.” I became interested to seek other ways of treating my children. I thought instead of running to the pediatrician every time my children came down with a cold, or other common ailments, I could treat them myself with natural remedies. I first began looking for and collecting healthy food recipes. This led to reading about and trying various approaches to health. The challenge was to find a healthy diet that would be nutritive and also delicious to both adults and children. It was wonderful seeing our children enthusiastic about meals. Thus started my interest in nutrition, natural remedies and food therapy, leading eventually to herbal medicine.
During the years that followed, and while we were living in Puerto Vallarta, I treated my children exclusively with natural remedies. I was proud to see them healthy and thriving. I geared our food preparation towards a Mediterranean diet. By 1992, when we moved back to Switzerland, I knew that I wanted to study naturopathy.
In 1994, I was delighted to finally start school of Natruopathy in Yverdon, Switzerland. In 2000, I graduated. In the same year, I received the Helipraktiker diploma which from Saarbrucken, Germany. The Heilpraktiker diploma is a European diploma of Naturopathy. Even though I was delighted with a new world of interest that had opened in my life, I wanted to acquire other tools – to learn more. I wanted the kind of tools that allow me to come to a diagnosis independently of Western Medicine. I found Traditional Chinese Medicine and began entering into its discipline. I was lucky to study under Giovanni Maciocia who taught that the importance of tongue and pulse diagnosis. I studied four years of acupuncture at the Academy of Healing Arts, now called Chi Way [Winterthur, Switzerland]. As a practicum, I spent three months at the National Hospital of Traditional Medicine, 29 Nguyen Binh Khiem Str., Hanoi, Vietnam, as an acupuncturist, working at the hospital. I marveled at the recovery rate I witnessed with many patients who were treated daily. My experience included treating a lot of patients with Bell’s palsy syndrome. At this juncture I decided to start studying Chinese phytotherapy under Michael McIntyre. Then second summer, I worked as assistant to the Chinese herbal pharmacy at Shen Zhou Open University, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
In 2008, I studied Feng Shui under Jon Sandifer for a year in London. Every weekend trip from Switzerland to London was an effort well compensated with interesting materials and new out-looks to the world that surrounds us. I remind you that Feng Shui is one of the branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine. To “Feng Shui” a Place is like to “needle” the space in order to create harmony; i.e. open up if stagnation, allow the Qi to circulate and create a smooth running Qi that allows to live and work in harmony. It is working with Qi in a different fashion. In 2010, I studied the chakras (they are acupuncture points) with Genevieve Lewis Paulson that gave me broader understanding of the Qi flow in the body (energy Vital) and how Qi stagnation in chakra(s) can create barriers.
I moved to United States five years ago. It has been a challenge to settle in a new country and to restart new habits, new life. I had to meet the requirements for practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine in California. For this reason, I was obligated to go back to school, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, in San Diego. I have learnt a lot form my experience at PCOM. I found working in different settings such as at the First Lutheran Church, offering acupuncture to seniors downtown on 3rd Avenue, San Diego, or working at center for Women’s Resource Center, Oceanside, the University of California, San Diego Health, Cancer Center [UC San Diego Health] in Encinitas and at sports medicine (orthopedics) center of UCSD, providing acupuncture for athletes, were all very enriching and helped to build confidence when meeting variety of patients.
Carlsbad Wellness Center aims at gathering different specialist in integrative medicine under the same roof. We wish to include services such as massage, nutrition, yoga and Pilates classes in near future. We are open to suggestions. Our desire is to be able to offer different therapies in order to serve better the need of our patients and clients.