An Interview with Margot Chambers, Acupuncturist at Promises
By Meghan Vivo
Holistic medicine has been part of Margot Chambers’ life since she can remember. As a child, Margot had an illness that baffled western medical doctors. Her parents, who had always embraced homeopathy, brought Margot to a holistic doctor. He advised them to eliminate all sugar, nitrates and preservatives from Margot’s diet, and she never had another seizure again. This experience, Margot says, helped shape the way she sees the process of health and healing.
A Calling to Serve
Despite experiencing the power of holistic medicine firsthand, Margot never planned to make the healing arts her livelihood. She majored in psychology and political science at UC Santa Cruz and travelled throughout the east, visiting Thailand, Indonesia, Laos and New Zealand, where she realized that she wanted to spend the rest of her life helping people.
After working as a nonprofit event coordinator in Los Angeles for 10 years, Margot decided to follow her calling to serve and enrolled in a five-year program to earn her master’s degree in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Margot became a licensed acupuncturist in California, completed her residency in a pain management clinic and started her own practice in Los Angeles.
In 2010, Margot got a call from Dr. David Sack, asking her to head a TCM program at Promises Malibu drug rehab center. What began as a pain management unit for opiate withdrawal quickly expanded to address all forms of emotional and physical pain during detox and early recovery.
“I absolutely love working in addiction recovery,” says Margot. “There is nothing more inspiring than seeing people want to get better and persevering.”
Using Traditional Chinese Medicine to Heal from Addiction
At Promises addiction treatment centers, Margot conducts a complete diagnostic of every patient multiple times per week. She utilizes Traditional Chinese Medicine including constitutional acupuncture, cupping, tuina, movement therapy (using tai chi and qigong) and Chinese nutrition to treat pain, insomnia, anxiety, digestive issues and a host of other complaints common in early recovery.
“I believe that everyone’s body strives to be in a state of balance (homeostasis) and that it is the human being that pushes ourselves out of balance,” says Margot. “It takes just a small push to encourage the body to regain balance. In early recovery, when our bodies are in an acute state of disharmony, Traditional Chinese Medicine is highly effective in returning balance to the body.”
Margot believes passionately in the healing power of holistic medicine. Her approach is integrative in nature, working closely with medical doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors and psychologists to provide the best in patient care.
“As a society, we work ourselves so hard and live in a constant state of stress,” says Margot. “Healing the human body requires the concerted efforts of a team. I form a team with every patient I see, treating each as an individual with a unique make-up and distinct treatment needs.”
Holistic Addiction Treatment Gains Traction
Traditional Chinese Medicine is having a profound impact on the clients at Promises. Although most have never tried acupuncture before, 95 to 100 percent come back – and come back often, Margot says. And about 75 percent get their own TCM doctor after leaving treatment.
The reach of TCM is also being felt on a more global level. Although it originated in the east, acupuncture is gaining a strong following in the west, where an estimated three million Americans use it to treat various forms of pain and for overall wellness. Both the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for a wide range of conditions.
“The field is growing exponentially,” Margot explains. “There are TCM practitioners in hospitals, cancer units and rehabs all over the world, and I see that more and more people are using TCM as a real alternative to a failing healthcare system.”
And it’s not only Traditional Chinese Medicine that can aid in addiction recovery. Massage, osteopathy, chiropractic care, meditation, herbal remedies and energy therapies are all examples of alternative treatments for addiction.
“There is always a holistic way to heal ourselves,” Margot says. “If it is not TCM, then there are many other avenues to naturally treat emotional and physical pain. Holistic medicine empowers us as individuals to take control of our own health and heal ourselves from the inside.”