Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese  Medicine (TCM)  is an ancient and complete system of healing developed over 3000 years ago. TCM recognizes the importance of harmony between the body, mind, and spirit, and seeks to restore and maintain the balance among them. TCM utilizes various modalities in order to achieve total body wellness. These include but are not limited to, herbal medicine, qigong, cupping and moxibustion, therapeutic massage, nutritional counseling, and the gentle and effective art of acupuncture.


Acupuncture is based on the concept of qi (“chi”.) Qi is the body’s own unique energy, or life force. Qi circulates throughout the body within meridians, also known as energy pathways. When the body is healthy, qi flows smoothly and freely through the meridians. However, if qi flow becomes disrupted, then illness may take root. We use painless needles inserted at certain acupoints along the meridians to restore proper balance and harmony to the patient.

TCM and Acupuncture have been used successfully in the treatment of many health conditions. These include: digestive disorders, back pain, headache, sleep disorders, menstrual disorders, stress and depression, hormonal imbalances, skin conditions, immune system dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, fertility issues, and many more. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has now endorsed acupuncture in the treatment of over 40 health conditions.

Clinical Nutrition

Our body is made up of 100 trillion cells and relies on us to deliver proper nutrients to the cells and allow the waste products to be released. A hefty order! Without all of the proper nutrients, our cells cannot function optimally, and this can result in a compromise of tissue and organ function. If the toxins and waste products do not leave our bodies efficiently, our overall health and energy will be compromised. At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we have a passion for good food and nutrition, not fad diets!

Our nutritional counseling does not consist of giving you a diet to follow. It is about finding out what your lifestyle and health concerns are and educating you about food choices that are reasonable for you. It is about finding out what is realistic for your lifestyle. For example, if you aren’t able to cook at home, we need to help you find the best ways to eat out or at your office. It is about being realistic, setting reasonable goals to help to you achieve your nutritional goals. Good nutrition is not a diet that you are doomed to go off of, it is a delicious lifestyle that can be enjoyed guilt free.

Integrative / Functional Medicine

Integrative Medicine and Functional Medicine are two terms that describe a holistic way of looking at health and wellness. The terms are often interchangeable. You will probably notice these terms used more and more in hospitals, medical offices, and wellness centers.

Integrative Medicine seeks to encompass Western biomedical sciences with as well as traditional healing approaches such as those found in Traditional Oriental Medicine and other forms of health care that often come from Eastern traditions. It seeks to look at the patient in context of their diet, lifestyle, physical, and emotional health. As more research continues to support the use of natural therapies, integrative medicine seeks to be evidence-based, drawing upon scientific research when available to validate the use of modalities and therapies.

Functional Medicine takes a biochemical nutritional approach to healing and prevention of chronic illness. Functional medicine takes a systems biology approach as it seeks to evaluate the patient’s unique biochemistry in context of their diet, lifestyle, and exposure to environmental toxins. Assessment and treatment are personalized and take into account genetic uniqueness, biochemical individuality, nutritional needs, and lifestyle stressors.

Herbal Medicine / Homeopathic Medicine

Herbal Medicine and Homeopathic Medicine are two terms that are often mistaken for each other as well as misunderstood.

Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine is the use of a plant’s various parts, such as berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Long practiced outside of conventional medicine, herbalism is becoming integrated as more research points to the value in prevention and treatment of many health concerns.

Plants have been recognized for their healing properties long before recorded history. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian papyrus writings detail uses of medicinal plants. Native American and African cultures used herbs in healing rituals. Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine are sophisticated styles of medicine that include herbal medicine as a main part of the therapy.

As improvements in chemical analysis developed in the 19th century, scientists began analyzing the properties in plants. Eventually, they started making a synthetic version of various plant compounds, and we saw the birth of synthetic pharmaceuticals.

Homeopathic Medicine
Homeopathic medicine was introduced by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1796 and is based on the principles of “like cures like.” Homeopathic remedies uses plant, mineral, or animal parts in very small dilutions to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.

Functional Endocrinology/Hormone Balancing

The study of endocrinology is the study of how glands and hormones interact. Functional endocrinology uses laboratory testing, nutrition, herbal, acupuncture, and other natural therapies to restore balance to support the body’s natural hormone production and balance.

NAET Allergy Treatment

NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) is a non-invasive way to desensitize patients from allergies and sensitivities, both food and environmental. This technique was developed by Devi S. Nambudripad, M.D., D.C., L.Ac., Ph.D. Over 9000 licensed medical practitioners have been trained in this innovative technique around the world. At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, Patricia Fitzgerald and Lauren Howard have over 17 years of combined experience with NAET. You can learn more about this innovative technique at

Laboratory / Diagnostic Testing

At the Santa Monica Wellness Center, we use various types of testing to help uncover the cause of your health care concern. These tests help us to determine what type of therapies may best assist you in creating optimal health.

Here is a sampling of some of the testing that is available:

Blood Work

Panels from the basic (cholesterol, cbc, chem panel, etc.) to more complex (hormones, autoimmune markers) are available based on patient’s individual needs and health concerns.

MicroNutrient Testing

According to William Shive, PhD (University of Texas at Austin) – 50% of those taking supplements will remain deficient. MicroNutrient Testing is a next generation blood test for measuring specific vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential micronutrients within an individual’s white blood cells (lymphocytes). It is the gold standard for this type of test.

Lipoprotein Particle Profile (Extensive Cholesterol/Heart Disease Assessment)

Cholesterol testing has historically been used as the standard indicator for cardiovascular disease classified as HDL (good) or LDL (bad). However, it is actually the lipoprotein particles that carry the cholesterol throughout the body, not necessarily the cholesterol within them, that are responsible for key steps in plaque production and the resulting development of cardiovascular disease.

Measuring cholesterol alone does not provide the complete picture and can be misleading. Approximately 50 percent of people suffering from heart attacks have shown normal cholesterol numbers (NIH – National Heart Blood and Lung Institute).

The Lipoprotein Particle Profile is advanced cholesterol testing technology that accurately measures both the density and number of lipoprotein particles. Measuring the lipoprotein subgroups is the only way to evaluate new risk factors, which is crucial for an accurate assessment of cardiovascular risk according to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).

Stool Testing & GI Effects

The GI Effects Profile uses DNA analysis to identify microbes including anaerobes. DNA assessment is specific and accurate, avoids the pitfalls of sample transport, reports results as specific numbers, and is more sensitive than classic laboratory methods. Gastrointestinal function is important for general health. The intestinal tract contains significant amounts of bacteria; some beneficial, some neutral, and some harmful. Balancing gut is key to proper digestion, nutrient assimilation, and efficient waste elimination.  Poor digestion and malabsorption can lead to immune dysfunction, nutritional insufficiencies, mental/emotional disorders, and autoimmune diseases.

Adrenal Stress Index (ASI)

The adrenals are two small glands, each weighing 3 to 5 grams, that are located above the kidneys. The adrenals have one of the highest rates of blood flow per gram of tissue, and the highest content of Vitamin C per gram of any tissue in the body.

Each adrenal gland is composed of two separate functional entities. The outer zone, or cortex, accounts for 80% to 90% of the gland, and secretes adrenal steroids (Cortisol, DHEA(S) and Aldosterone). The inner zone, or medulla, comprises 10% to 20% of the gland, and secretes the catecholamines adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. Cortisol, DHEA and adrenaline are the three main adrenal stress hormones.

The human adrenal gland does not secrete its steroid hormones at a constant level throughout the day. The hormones are actually released in a cycle with the highest value in the morning and the lowest value at night. An abnormal adrenal rhythm can influence many functions of the body, such as:

  • Energy Production
  • Bone Health
  • Immune System Health
  • Sleep Quality
  • Skin Regeneration
  • Thyroid Function
  • Muscle and Joint Function
  • Blood Sugar Regulation
  • Hormone Balance
  • Memory and Focus

Hormone Testing (Serum and Saliva)

Both female and male panels are available to assess hormone balances.

Organic Acid Profie

Provides a view into the body’s cellular metabolic processes and the efficiency of metabolic function. Organic acids are metabolic intermediates that are produced in pathways of central energy production, detoxification, neurotransmitter breakdown, or intestinal microbial activity. Marked accumulation of specific organic acids detected in urine often signals a metabolic inhibition or block. The metabolic block may be due to a nutrient deficiency, an inherited enzyme deficit, toxic build-up or drug effect. Several of the analytes are markers of intestinal bacterial or yeast overgrowth. This test is often helpful to determine what nutritional interventions are necessary for complex health concerns.

Fatty Acids Profile

Measures key omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and calculates key indicators to establish your optimal balance. Trans fatty acid-the “bad” oils in processed food are also measured. Optimal levels of fatty acids are essential for healthy immune function, hormone balancing, anti-inflammatory support, and energy production.

Extronex (Estrogen Metabolism Index)

The Estronex test measures the ratio of two critical estrogen metabolites that give information on long-term risk factors for breast, cervical, and other estrogen-sensitive cancers. Based on the test results, nutritional interventions can often be implemented to reduce risk.

Osteoporosis Prevention/Support (Bone Resorption Assay)

The Bone Resorption Assay measures the deoxypyridinoline fragment of Type I collagen breakdown from a single urine specimen. This is the fragment that contains the cross-linking point and has been demonstrated to be more specific to bone resorption than breakdown fragments measured in some earlier assays. Serial bone scans are costly and do not indicate present bone activity. Also, they can only detect changes in bone density over long periods of time, often up to twelve months. The Bone Resorption Assay detects biochemical markers which reflect present remodeling activity. The relatively low cost of this assay makes it a cost-effective tool to routinely monitor bone resorption rates and the effectiveness of therapy. Repeated measurements every six to twelve weeks will monitor the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions and allow timely adjustments.

Food/Environmental Testing

There are various types of allergy/sensitivities testing for foods and environmental substances available.

Heavy Metal Testing

Exposure to toxic metals such as mercury can have implications on your health. Sometimes testing is necessary and helpful for a treatment protocol.

Telomere Testing

This type of testing can provide a window into your cellular age. For more information click here:

Neurotransmitter Analysis

A urine test that measures levels of serotonin, epinephrine, nor-epinephrine, GABA and dopamine. Still being researched as a clinical tool, this test can provide the clinician with guidance when used as part of a comprehensive assessment.

Genomic Testing

This test uses gene SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) to help identify risks that are modifiable using nutritional intervention and lifestyle changes. Genomic testing is available to identify predispositions to a variety of conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, allergies, and immune challenges.