Welcome to our Specialist Spotlight Series. We launched our Resource Library because we wanted women everywhere to know that urinary incontinence is a treatable condition, and for them to be able to explore what specialists and treatments might be right for them. In this series, we highlight some of the incredible specialists within our Specialist Directory, and shine a light on the ways they’re helping women every day.
Name, occupation, and where you practice.
Hello! My name is Snow Xia. I am an acupuncturist in NYC and the owner of a boutique practice Hima Acupuncture based in Flatiron, Manhattan and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I specialize in women’s health, chronic pain and stress management.
If you feel comfortable, feel free to add some context beyond your professional identity.
I am a first generation Chinese immigrant. Having grown up in various countries, I have always struggled with feeling a sense of belonging. After spending the past 12 years living in NYC, I’m now rooted to this city and proud to call this place home.
Your Purpose and POV
What inspires you to do what you do [professionally] every day, and how did you end up focusing on this profession?
I grew up in a family of Chinese Medicine practitioners. I learned from a young age that mind-body wellbeing is the key to radiant beauty. This knowledge has helped me navigate a modeling career spanning two decades. However, I still learned the hard way that health is the greatest gift of all. After college, I spent a few years working in investment management. During this time, I started developing various health issues under the high-stress, high-intensity environment.
Eventually, I suffered from severe burnout.
The frustration with my own ailments prompted me to seek out acupuncture and other Chinese Medicine practices to get myself healthy again. Ultimately, I was able to recover and regain balance. My own healing journey has guided me back to my ancestral roots. It inspired me to dedicate myself to study this ancient science, and go on to gain my Masters in Acupuncture with studies in the United States and China. More importantly, it became clear that my mission is to share this powerful mind-body medicine to help others restore health.
What POV do you bring to your profession?
Having worked in demanding environments in the fashion and finance industries, I understand what a lot of high-achieving women go through. I have been there. We as women can take on and give so much in both our professional and private lives. At the same time, most of us tend to be very self critical. This combination usually means we ignore our own needs on both the emotional and physical level till issues start manifesting as illness. I am a big proponent of finding a work life balance and listening to our body before anything else.
What do you find resonates best/most with your audience?
A lot of modern health issues arise from stress and poor lifestyle choices. The foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is built on preventative care and the belief that each individual’s constitution is unique. The pillars of health are an all-encompassing lifestyle supportive of overall balance; in relation to the mind, the body, external environment, diet, and hereditary factors. Based on this lifestyle theory, I like to share easy, approachable tips to help people optimize their wellbeing. Tips on diet and acupressure points engage people to take part in their own healing, so that they know they are in control of their wellbeing. Sometimes, even a simple reminder to take slow, deep breaths is so helpful to bring one’s nervous system back to homeostasis.
When it comes to women’s health (and your specialty), where is there still “work to do”? Any myths to dispel? Misperceptions about treatments? Attitudes to change?
One major issue in women’s healthcare is the lack of education. Women usually do not know they have other options besides surgery and hormone therapies. There needs to be more education on holistic treatment options out there before opting for more invasive procedures.
Another problem is the lack of attention to women’s fertility and postpartum care. On one hand, modern women are having children much later in life, and there aren't enough resources out there on how to support, extend and boost one’s fertility. On the other hand, new mothers are not given the attention they need for their physical and emotional recovery. Most women are unaware there are ways to speed up their recovery and attain better health after childbirth. Women’s bodies go through rather drastic changes during pregnancy and postpartum is an opportunity for cellular regeneration. TCM wisdom describes this as a golden period in life in which women can improve their overall health with proper postnatal care.
Finally, healthcare in this country is still on a reactive trajectory instead of a proactive one. Our culture prefers to slap on an instant bandage instead of spending the time and effort to eradicate the root cause. There needs to be a mindset shift. Health is not simply the absence of disease. The WHO has defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being since 1948. In reality, we are far behind. Again, it’s all about education. With social media, people are now more aware and have more resources available than ever before. The mindset shift needs to move towards investing in preventative care and sustaining wellbeing to support graceful aging.
What advice would you give to women reading this when it comes to taking charge of their health/wellness?
Educate yourself and always seek a second opinion. There are many holistic options out there to help improve gynecology concerns besides surgery and medication. For example, acupuncture and herbs can regulate menstruation, hormonal imbalance, improve fertility and IVF outcome, and soothe the menopause journey.
What’s the biggest “lesson learned” (personally or professionally) to come from living through a pandemic?
Surrendering and making peace with things outside of your control.
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