Ted Smith ’95’s office in the bowels of the Boettcher Health Center is distinctly different from all others in the building. The atmosphere is calming, with low light, soothing music, and a wall papered to look like a forest. The basement office was created a couple of years ago to accommodate Smith’s practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), another addition to Boettcher’s ever-expanding services.
Smith initiated the idea of bringing Eastern medicine to campus in fall 2004, approaching both Boettcher and the Asian studies department. Although he uses an Eastern approach to healing in an establishment that is otherwise Western, there has been only synergy, no conflict, between the two practices. “An exchange of ideas and information between upstairs and downstairs is beneficial for everyone — the patients as well as the practitioners,” says Smith.
Dr. Judith Reynolds ’71, medical director at Boettcher, says, “I have always had a strong interest in alternative and complementary healing modalities. For many years, we have had a massage therapist at Boettcher, and over time we have added a nutritionist, yoga instructor, and other wellness providers. Ted and I work collaboratively to help patients get what they need. When Western medicine is at a loss for solutions, Ted’s skills can make a big difference in a patient’s ability to function.”
Smith first became interested in Eastern medicine during his senior year at CC, while camping with a friend. As they hiked, they took turns reading from a Taoist book his friend had brought. “The philosophical idea of the Tao resonated with me,” he recalls. Taoist philosophy says that health indicates a body in proper balance; Taoist medicine moves a person’s body toward that balance.
Smith’s services include acupuncture, acupressure, Chinese herbs, tui na (traditional body work), and other traditional techniques. TCM, a healing tradition over 5,000 years old, is based in Taoist philosophy; its basic premise is to understand and live in harmony with the fundamental dynamics of the cosmos. Treatment and prevention of disease means applying these principles to the human body to maintain or restore harmony and balance. TCM is the most practiced medicine in the world. Although some practices have evolved and changed, the underlying concepts and philosophy have remained consistent. “The human body is basically the same as it was 5,000 years ago,” Smith points out. “It still responds to disease in certain ways, and it responds to acupuncture today as it did then.”
Anyone in the CC community can take advantage of Smith’s services, including alumni and family members of students, faculty, staff, or alumni.