Dr. Sara Marie, DAOM, L.Ac., Dipl. OM (NCCAOM)
Professional & Educational Background:
I have been providing health care in Montana since 1982 after graduating from the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My first practice, Bitterroot Natural Therapeutics was located in Missoula where I offered therapeutic massage, polarity therapy, reflexology, Bach flower remedies, iridology, nutrition and colonics. During my time in Missoula I attended the University of Montana to acquire the pre-med requirements for licensing as an acupuncturist, and apprenticed with Donald R. Beans of the Acupuncture Clinic of Missoula.
Upon passing the exam and licensing requirements of the Montana Board of Medical Examiners I earned my acupuncture license in 1985. As standards of the profession have grown, I have earned the highest level of national recognition, having passed the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine exams in acupuncture and also in Chinese herbal medicine, earning the status as Diplomat in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Oriental Medicine.
I continued my studies in China at the Hei Long Jiang college of TCM in Harbin and at Chengdu University, in Chengdu. When the first approved doctoral level program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine was established in 2003 at the Oregon College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, I attended the two-year program, earning a doctorate in 2005.
I have been practicing in the Flathead Valley since 1986 when I moved to Bigfork. I served with the Bigfork QRU as a licensed emergency medical technician for a number of years and participated in search and rescue.
I am available, by appointment at the Wellness Resource Center and at the Montana Center for Wellness and Pain Management in Kalispell, Montana.
Oriental Medicine is the oldest, continuously evolving medicine on earth. Ancient written texts date back 1800 years, with a prior oral history over 5000 years. Three-quarters of the world’s population utilizes this unique and powerful medicine.
The body is always striving towards balance; we are homodynamic moving in and out of balance. Balance is not a static condition but a gentle, graceful ebb and flow. Pain and disease is the result of an obstruction of the free flow of Qi and Blood.
The practice of Oriental Medicine utilizes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Gua Sha, cupping, massage, Qi gong, nutrition and lifestyle coaching.
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine, sterile, solid needles into specific points on the body to facilitate the free flow of Qi (Vital energy) and Blood (Vital substance) to bring the body and mind to a state of balance and harmony. Research has shown that acupuncture affects the higher brain centers, stimulating the release of neurotransmitters that influence the immune and antinociceptive systems. Several types of opioids, norepinephrine and acetylcholine are released that help normalize the autonomic nervous system and reduce pain. Acupuncture activates receptors that inhibit the transmission of nociceptive signals in the dorsal horn, which interrupts painful signals and allows the nervous system, to reset by breaking the pain cycle. Acupuncture manipulates the electrical system of the body by stimulating closed-circuit transport in the tissues, thereby facilitating healing. Studies have shown that acupuncture affects blood chemistry and can both raise and lower blood components thereby regulating the body systems. Recent functional MRI studies show that specific acupuncture points that are traditionally said to influence a certain area of the body, cause the corresponding area in the brain to “light up” when those points are stimulated. For instance when a point is traditionally used to treat the eyes, the visual center of the brain will show activity when that point is stimulated.
Chinese herbal medicine is unique in that each formula is designed to treat an individual’s complex presentation of signs, symptoms, tongue picture and pulse pattern. Is the patients internal environment too cold, hot, damp, or dry? The herbs are classified as to whether they are warming, cooling drying or moistening in nature. A formula is designed using often between 4 and 20 herbs to create the correct proportion of properties to balance the internal environment of the body. The color, coating and shape of the tongue are examined to help distinguish the internal environment of the body. The pulse is felt at the radial artery on both wrists in 12 different positions and 3 depths, to evaluate which of 28 different pulse characterizes are present. This information helps us to see the relative balance between 12 of the primary channels through which Qi flows in the body and aids in the determination of the internal environment. By incorporating all of this information we are able to determine patterns of imbalance and establish the root, (the underlying cause of the illness) and the branch, (an individuals presentation of signs and symptoms).
Gua Sha is a technique that uses a blunt tool to scrape the skin bringing fresh blood to the area and breaking up old scar tissue.
Cupping utilizes jars that are heated inside and then placed on the skin to create a vacuum which lifts the tissue and brings fresh blood to the muscles and disperses old stagnate blood. It is very good for chronic muscle tension patterns.
Qigong is a system of healing that incorporates movement, meditation, visualization and breathing techniques to facilitate the free flow of Qi and Blood which results in an optimum state of well being.
Nutrition and lifestyle are the corner stones of good health.
Many conditions respond well to Oriental Medicine. My areas of expertise are in the alleviation of painful conditions and women’s health issues.