Dr. Shari Auth has long been passionate about practicing integrative care. In addition to being a doctor of Chinese medicine, licensed acupuncturist, and board certified herbalist, Dr. Auth has studied ancient medicinal practices around the world, including Ayurvedic medicine, the Rolf Method of Structural Integration, Ashtanga yoga, pilates, and shamanism. Today, she remains devoted to helping people live happier, fuller lives.
Read on to learn why she co-founded WTHN with business partner Michelle Larivee, how acupuncture and herbal medicine can complement other types of care, and why she’s passionate about being a part of HealthQuarters’ holistic and preventive approach to health.
What inspired you to become a licensed acupuncturist and how did you get started?
I was inspired to study acupuncture by acupuncture itself. Acupuncture is a powerful, versatile tool that can be used as a supplementary or standalone treatment for hundreds of health concerns including pain, digestive issues, sleep complaints, women's health, hormonal imbalance, and mental and emotional issues.
As part of a time-tested practice, I did not study acupuncture without also studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)—an intricate, elegant, and thorough system of medicine that I have a deep regard for.
In addition to becoming a licensed acupuncturist, I'm also a board certified Chinese herbalist and I feel that our patients get the best results when they combine acupuncture and herbs.
Can you tell us about why you and Michelle decided to create WTHN?
We both saw an opportunity and a need to make Chinese medicine more accessible, which we’ve approached in a multitude of ways.
First, we're doing the education necessary so that people understand the diverse benefits and applications of acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine, what the process entails, and what to expect in terms of the experience, results and frequency of treatment.
Additionally, many people are wary of acupuncture because of the use of needles, so it's also important for us to educate people on the type of needles used. Acupuncture needles are small, so small that each one is roughly the size of a human hair. The sensation is completely different from hypodermic needles, which are much larger. In fact, you can fit about 40 acupuncture needles into just one hypodermic needle.
What’s more, acupuncturists train for three to five years to know how and where to place acupuncture needles. At WTHN, we practice a painless style of acupuncture. Most clients find it to be a relaxing experience, and it’s common to fall asleep on the table or experience a feeling of relaxation and rejuvenation similar to getting a massage.
Secondly, we wanted to create a model of practice that was cost effective and wallet friendly, while also creating a frictionless experience complete with different locations, online booking, and convenient hours.
Put simply, we created WTHN to share this ancient practice and bring its benefits to more people.
How do personalized acupuncture treatments help target health concerns from the inside out?
Acupuncture works via the connective tissue to send messages to the brain that alter brain chemistry, which it can alter in a variety of ways, depending on what you need and which points the acupuncturist uses to address your health complaints.
At WTHN, all acupuncture treatments are personalized. At the start of your visit, your acupuncturist will do an intake to understand your health concerns and determine how best to take care of you. You'll also be given a customized point protocol of acupuncture points that will help target your health concerns. Your practitioner may also suggest cupping as part of your treatment, which is particularly good for muscle tension but can also be used for respiratory congestion. And you will likely be given recommendations for WTHN’s Chinese Medicine based herbal supplements to take at home in between sessions to accelerate your healing.
How does acupuncture in general complement other types of care?
Acupuncture is a flexible and holistic practice that can complement care for hundreds of health conditions.
To give a few examples, acupuncture is great for mental health issues and stress because it can help lower cortisol levels and increase serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine.
Acupuncture can also help balance hormone levels to help with women's health concerns, including fertility, PMS, regulating menstruation, PCOS and menopause.
For digestive issues, acupuncture can help shift the body into the parasympathetic nervous system so the blood can go to the stomach to help heal digestive issues.
Acupuncture is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it’s both good for acute and chronic inflammation, including autoimmune or chronic inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease. It can also stimulate local circulation to help relax tight muscles, and when done on the face, it helps to stimulate collagen and elastin for anti-aging.
What can a guest expect from an appointment with you? What's it going to be like?
We work to ensure that your experience is relaxing and professional. There is nothing particular you need to bring or wear to your appointment.
We’ve designed our studios to incorporate the feel and hospitality of a spa appointment. We also respect your time and work hard to make sure that you don’t spend time waiting for your appointment to start, so you can expect to start and end your treatment as scheduled.
All of our practitioners have either a master's or doctor's degree in Chinese medicine. At the start of your appointment, your practitioner may ask questions about your primary health complaints and overall health.
During treatment, you'll be lying on a heated massage table either face up or face down, depending on whether the treatment is focused on the front or back of your body.
Smell and sound are also important for us, as we engage all the senses in your treatment experience. We couple all sessions with sound therapy which uses entrainment and binaural beats to relax the mind into an alpha state.
By the end of the session, you can expect to feel relaxed and rejuvenated. How many sessions you’ll need will depend on the reason for your visit, the severity of your symptoms, and how long you’ve had the condition being treated.
For example, if you come to us for chronic migraines that you’ve had for five years, it may take weekly treatments for 8-10 weeks to circumvent the migraines and then find your cadence of prevention.
After your session, you will also have the opportunity to incorporate Chinese herbs into your preventive practice. We have a complete line of Chinese herbs, all of which use organic plant material to complement your acupuncture treatment.
Can you talk more about how you see your practice as connected to holistic preventive care?
Acupuncture is both holistic and preventive by nature.
In ancient China, people saw their doctor when they were well and the doctor helped to keep them well. In other words, the focus in TCM has always been prevention.
Chinese medicine reads the body in such a way that we can see things coming before they get worse. We use pulse and tongue readings as our system of diagnostics to learn more about the body and which systems may be off balance. At the end of the day, the foundational element of Chinese medicine is balance.
With that in mind, Chinese medicine is meant to be used as an ongoing treatment to help you stay in balance, rather than as a one-off solution.
I like to say that once a week treatment is ideal, once a month is minimum, and somewhere in between is often a patient’s personal reality.
What excites you most about practicing within HealthQuarters?
If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When it comes to healthcare, it’s really important to have a group of people who all have different tools because, depending on the patient and their health complaints, what they usually need is a couple of different tools to get the best outcome possible.
Since the beginning of my career, it's been my passion to practice integrative care. When I worked at an integrated care center of a major medical hospital in the early 2000’s, it was deeply disappointing to me that I received no referrals. Looking back, I think many providers and patients just weren't ready for acupuncture then. Thankfully, things have changed. We're now in a position where we have the evidence to show that acupuncture can be a beneficial and efficient treatment option for hundreds of conditions.
I'm very excited to be at HealthQuarters to have the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse and experienced array of practitioners to take better care of our patients.
Finally, can you tell us a bit about your life outside of acupuncture? What do you like to do with your time? Any passions or hobbies?
I'm really into gardening. I have a big organic vegetable and herb garden in upstate New York, which has long been a dream of mine. After growing, I love cooking with the food from the garden.
I also have a beautiful daughter, Siena Blue and a loving husband of over 10 years and enjoy family life.
I love living a wellness lifestyle that includes lots of exercise and self care. At the moment, I’m really into my Peloton bike and in the summer I love swimming in our saltwater pool.
Last but not least, I love talking about people's healing journeys and taking the time to have authentic and meaningful conversations with people.
Dr. Shari Auth Dr. Shari Auth has long been passionate about practicing integrative care. In addition to being a doctor of Chinese medicine, licensed acupuncturist, and board certified herbalist, Dr. Auth has studied ancient medicinal practices around the world, including Ayurvedic medicine, the Rolf Method of Structural Integration, Ashtanga yoga, pilates, and shamanism. Today, she remains devoted to helping people live happier, fuller lives. You can schedule an appointment with her WTHN healer team at HealthQuarters here.