Mia Blomquist is an acupuncturist, herbalist, and Redwood City native. Natalie and I recently spent the morning at her practice, Boho Family Wellness, for an interview. As soon as we walked through the door we felt so calm and at ease, which I think stems both from Mia's serene demeanor and the relaxing space she has created for her patients. Mia uses several aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat patients including acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, herbs, and counseling. We chatted about everything from how she got started in acupuncture, to empowering women through holistic healthcare, to where to get the best gluten-free muffins in town.
What is acupuncture and how does it work?
Acupuncture is one of many tools in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Chinese medicine is the oldest, professional, continuously practiced, and recorded medicine in the world. This medical system's written literature goes back almost 2,500 years. So to answer your question, acupuncture is the insertion of needles along energy channels or meridians. We use the needles to access the body's 'Qi' or life force and manipulate it to clear blockages or nourish the body as needed.
How did you get started in acupuncture and Chinese medicine?
I started receiving acupuncture as a teen, and it very quickly changed my life. Within a few months, I was no longer dependent on inhalers for asthma and antibiotics for chronic respiratory illness. I knew then I would apply to ACTCM after completing my undergraduate degree.
What's the biggest difference between Eastern and Western medicine?
We are incredibly lucky and fortunate to live in a time with access to modern medicine; however, unless it’s an emergency, virulent infection or a bone needs to be set, Western medicine offers little in the way of chronic or idiopathic disease management and pain. Nearly 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug, and as 4.6% of the world’s population, America consumes 80% of the world’s opioids. That’s a problem. Chinese medicine and other alternative health care offers so much more. Chinese medicine treats the individual—mind, body, soul. If you have migraines, for example, an MD will prescribe a pharmaceutical that most other migraine patients use. A TCM practitioner will tailor the treatment (acupuncture and herbs) to the person’s experience of the migraine while accounting for various causes of it. The treatment, therefore, varies significantly from person to person for the same chief complaint. The same is true for insomnia, depression, colitis, irregular menstruation, unexplained infertility, etc. Chinese medicine treats the root (cause) of a disease/syndrome to deal with the branch (symptoms).
You specialize in women's health? Can you tell us a little more about that?
While there’s a recent tendency for acupuncturists to specialize, a good practitioner should be able to treat everything because traditionally that's how it worked. With that said, I see so many women because I love giving women back their power. Women's health includes everything from irregular or painful cycles to fertility, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause, which allows me to work with a wide range of conditions. There's really nothing like seeing a person who had debilitating periods or menopausal symptoms get their life back, or holding a patient’s newborn babe when she struggled to conceive or carry a baby, or getting a postpartum mom back on her feet. I love it all. But I especially love seeing women get what they want.
What do you love about your work?
It’s rewarding. I get to be a part of my patients’ journeys to healthy living and living pain free. I get to help women and families have babies. Though this is a form of medicine that requires an undergraduate degree and 4 years of postgraduate education, it is also an art and a little bit of juju (by juju, I mean magic). I really enjoy that as well.
When did you open your own practice?
I started practicing in 2008 and opened this location just last year.
Why did you choose to open your business in Redwood City?
I grew up here in Redwood City. I went to Mt. Carmel and Notre Dame, so I love the area. RWC has grown into such a hub and hip town since I was kid.
Any favorite places to hang out around town?
I like Peacebank for yoga, and Pamplemousse Patisserie/Cafe is delicious. I live for their gluten-free muffins!