Today we’d like to introduce you to Namrata Chansarkar.
Hi Namrata, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My personal battle fueled a passion for a new type of care. I was introduced to acupuncture and Chinese Medicine by my oncologist. After experiencing a serious health battle, acupuncture was a life changer for me and was pivotal in restoring health naturally. I left my successful biotechnology career behind in 2012. I explored multiple different holistic healing modalities to feel better for my own healing, read a lot on holistic health and received twice-week acupuncture for a couple of years without fail. I was in a healing incubator, receiving, receiving and receiving.
When life shakes you up, life questions come up. From a busy, proud multitasker who is always on the go to a quiet meditator, I wondered what is the purpose of life!
I come from a science background where my first master’s was in Nutritional Sciences (from India). Then I completed a master’s in biotechnology from U.B.C., Vancouver, British Columbia, and worked in the biotechnology industry until 2010. At the time, my analytical, inquisitive ‘science’ mind had a hard time believing that acupuncture can be therapeutic. I used to ask a lot of questions to my acupuncturist, and they were really kind to direct me to the right source to suffice the thirst to know how it works! I followed a lot of practitioners (MDs, ND, Functional medicine practitioners, chiropractors, energy healers…) who practice holistic health, which helped me gain a better understanding of integrative medicine.
Being a perpetual student, I read (a lot), meditated, and used all my senses to soak in the knowledge that is out there. One day I decided to take on this new journey and applied and joined Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, San Diego. Considering my health situation, I was initially apprehensive about how and when I would be able to complete this intense program. But one day at a time, I lived with conscious intention to pave forward my own unique path.
To become a licensed acupuncturist in California, one goes thru an intense program of ~47-semester credits in Oriental Medical Theory (diagnosis and treatment techniques, acupuncture, Chinese herbology), ~22 semesters in clinical training, and ~30-semester credits in biomedical sciences. After finishing masters of science in traditional oriental medicine (MSTOM), we have to pass a California state licensing exam which is a daylong proctored exam similar to another medical board exam.
Along with MSTOM, I also completed my Doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM), passed my national acupuncture board exam and California board state exam. I was so immersed in learning that time just flew and I had my license in my had in four years.
What next… I started my private practice, “Matru Sparsh Acupuncture Health and Wellness Clinic Inc” in Encinitas, CA. I named my clinic “Matru Sparsh,” which in Sanskrit means Motherly touch. When I was a student and I would touch to take the pulse or palpate acupuncture channel on my patients, they used to tell me that my touch reminds them of their mother’s gentleness. That was the biggest complement for me, and I decided to name my clinic with Matru Sparsh… “mothers gentle touch.” At Matru Sparsh, I offer acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, herbal consultation, nutritional consultation, and lifestyle recommendations.
This week is the 3rd-year anniversary celebration of “Matru Sparsh Acupuncture.” I feel happy and privileged I get to share my story with you all on SD Voyager. Though the road to find the purpose of life is not smooth, I am grateful for every experience and lesson learned. Each experience has enriched and strengthened my life in its own way.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Going through an intense oriental medical program was challenging in its own way. Coming from a hardcore science background, biomedical science subjects like biochemistry, physiology, anatomy were relatively easy for me. But oriental medicine theories of 5 elements, Yin/yang, Hot/cold… so on were abstract and difficult to accept, understand or measure in relation to each other.
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, nothing is absolute. For example: when sun is on our head and is full Yang, the moon is at the least expression. Everything is about balance in Chinese Medicine philosophy. When we are in harmony, we are free of “dis-ease’. So, how does it apply to our life and health today? I will share some examples of how we bring disharmony in life by being too Yang which in turn can cause different illnesses such as insomnia, mood disorders, hypertension, digestion issues, eye strain apart from aches and pain: 1. Staying up late in night, 2. Overworking, 3. Drinking stimulants such as coffee, alcohol excessively, 4. Constant screen time, 5. Eating on the go.
Once I started understanding the philosophy behind Chinese medicine, I realized being in disharmony is a product of today’s lifestyle. Mindfulness and a balanced lifestyle are the key.
At my Acupuncture School, I did many off-site clinic shifts such as pediatric at Rady’s Children’s Hospital, sports medicine in UCSD, and Geriatric Care at downtown church to name a few… While each shift taught me special clinical skills, I was blessed with lots of hidden gift of life lessons.
For example: While treating terminally ill little kids, I would be filled with compassion and would tear up on my way back home on most of my shifts. It was tough but life-changing, I started experiencing so much gratitude towards what I have that I completely stopped complaining about anything in life.
The senior geriatric care clinic was a very busy, fast-moving clinic serving the homeless or underprivileged seniors of San Diego County. It was an eye-opener to see so many seniors living in poverty and sometimes with disabilities but still full of cheer. In this clinic, I had the opportunity to shorten my name to Dr. Namu. Here is the story; While I would be busy treating multiple patients in an hour, I used to tell them to holler my name if they have a question or any discomfort. Since I have such a long first and last name that is difficult to pronounce or remember, they would be in a fix of how to call me. I noticed that in my first week and decided to shorten it to ‘Namu.’
UCSD’s RIMAC sports medicine clinic was an amazing learning experience as I learned a lot about how to treat athletes. The most challenging aspect was to watch the athlete not have any downtime or off season breaks to recover fully. I do apply a lot of sports medicine training while treating dancers in my practice.
Each experience, challenge taught me about Chinese medicine and life. I am so grateful to have listened to the inner voice and pursued this path. My Chinese medicine practice allows me to help others reach their own health and wellness goals while enriching my life. Each challenge on this path was a blessing in disguise. I am grateful to the divine for everything that has touched my life.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Pain, Pain, Pain… Pain is what brings patients in the acupuncture clinic. I treat a lot of pain! Commonly treated pain is migraine, Low back pain, neck pain, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, carpal tunnel, abdominal pain, TMJ, knee pain, ankle pain, Planters fascitis and shoulder pain.
I learned different forms of Indian Classical Dance throughout my life. As a dancer, I suffered a lot with cramps, muscle soreness, pain, fall injuries, and overuse injuries. I suffered a lot but didn’t know acupuncturist help was around the corner. So, once I joined the school, I used to educate a lot of my dancer friends about acupuncture. I started treating my friends as patients in the school clinic as a student. The benefit of acupuncture is enormous. They used to come for pain, but they would go home pain-free with a calm mind, improved digestion, restful sleep, better focus and mood. A lot of the dancers I treated also reported to me that their stage fright was reduced.
In my first year, my practice grew quickly as I started treating a lot of Indian classical dancers. I still treat a lot of Indian classical dancers to improve flexibility, endurance, and performance. I am personally passionate about women’s health. I feel and see that women are excellent caregivers but always put others before them. I love to educate, encourage, and empower women to take care of themselves. There are a lot of myths in society about women’s health, such as period pain is normal and irregular bleeding is normal. Educating women of what is not normal is the first step to healing.
I treat a lot of PCOS, PMS, period pain, irregular uterine bleeding, and peri and post-menopausal symptoms of night sweat, hot flashes, and weight gain. Being a breast cancer survivor, I support a lot of breast cancer patients in or out of town thru acupuncture, food therapy, and hopeful kind words.
Over the years of school and practice, I have realized that our emotions can be the root cause of disharmony and pain. I do treat a lot of mood disorders such as anxiety, depression. I also work with my patients to do journaling and ask them pointer questions so that they become aware of their own emotions. Once they are ready for more deeper work, I refer them to counseling, therapist, or Chei Nei Tsang (Chinese abdominal massage) if I feel the root cause of pain is a stuck emotion.
I also strongly encourage my patients to have a balanced routine of rest, exercise, mindfulness, sleep, and work. I share a lot of free resources to learn mindfulness meditation, stretching, emphasize the importance of sleep hygiene and encourage them to write a journal. or find a way to express themselves.
Food/Diet/Nutrition: Since I have a masters in western nutrition and training in eastern nutrition as well, food is medicine for me. When appropriate, I use my eastern or western nutrition cap. Although most of my food recommendations are based on eastern medicine analysis, I do understand the western medicine labs and detox pathways, and I love to use food and diet as a personalized therapy. If digestion is compromised, it doesn’t matter how much nutrition you pour in them; they are not going to digest or absorb anything. Therefore, I work with my patients to support digestion. I believe in having a diet based on whole foods that are organic, simple home-cooked meals. If they don’t know how to cook, I support them by sharing resources of how to cook or share my own easy, simple recipes. I also recommend herbal teas as medicine.
A lot of my patient population who come to me for a holistic approach is from Indian ethnicity because I understand the Indian food habits, and I am able to help them adapt the food therapy to their meal plan. There are very few acupuncturists with an Indian ethnicity in San Diego County, and my Indian background has proved to be my strength.
I use herbal formulas in my practice to bring harmony in my patients. I also review their vitamins and supplements and make appropriate recommendations if requested. I love gardening and try to grow a lot of herbs in my garden. I love to share my gardening tips and herb cuttings, seeds, and plants with our local community. I dream that one day we have acres of Chinese medicinal herbal farm here in San Diego.
What really makes me happy in my practice is when patients become aware of what they need to change and start taking baby steps to come in harmony. I feel awareness is the key to any change. I feel proud of my patients when they take ownership of their health and reach their goal. I am truly blessed to live my life fully and align my purpose, passion and profession thru my Chinese medicine practice at Matru Sprash Acupuncture health and wellness clinic.
Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
Yes! COVID crisis has taught me lots of important lessons. Unfortunately, we are still swinging with the waves. We certainly learned that wearing masks and washing hands can prevent a lot of communicable diseases. *Masks Masks and Masks, Hand wash, wash wash…. is our new mantra of this century.
Self-care and preventive care is very important. It was gratifying to see a surge in my telemedicine calls for preventive health. A lot of new patients reached out to take care of their health with per-existing conditions such as diabetes, obesity, blood pressure, asthma etc which were risk factors for COVID-19. Lots of them followed the advice and reversed their health condition just by lifestyle changes. Preventive care is the best care. Self care is the best care!
Although technology really helped reduce the isolation and helped stay connected with the world, It was a wake up call for a lot of people to practice forgiveness and resolve conflict. I don’t know when is our last day here.
With the sudden demise of a loved one lot of people didn’t have closure with their loved one. It was quite traumatic, but at the same time, people have started realizing the importance of relationships and people in life. This social isolation did bring mental health issues to the surface. depression and anxiety diagnosis are on the rise, but at the same time awareness and acceptance of mental health issues is on the rise. I am hopeful that people will become more resilient and tolerant after this crisis is over and value and live life to the fullest.
Live fully, Live life with loving-kindness. Spread love and spread kindness.
- New patients: 90 mins = $120
- Returning patients 60 mins =$90
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.matrusparshacupuncture.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/matru_sparsha_acupuncture/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MatruSparshAcupunctureHealthWellnesClinicEncinitas/
Art by Joni Conner