Conversation with Said Isayed and his patient, Susan Smith, about his practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine and his use of the whole person approach to treat a wide variety of complex conditions.
Topics of Discussion:
-Eastern medicine success through multi-faceted approach and whole person connection
-Different tools within Traditional Chinese Medicine
-Health equity and community health
Said Isayed is a Traditional Chinese medicine doctor who graduated from Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine after a six year Bachelor’s program in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine and Allopathic medicine. Said spent five years interning in several Chinese hospitals and clinics, training under some of the most well-respected doctors of Chinese medicine. He focused strongly on the treatment of neurological diseases, auto immune disorders, men’s and women's health, orthopedic injuries, mental health and painful musculoskeletal conditions.
In addition to acupuncture, Said is well versed in several types of bodywork including Chinese fire cupping, hijama (traditional Arabic cupping), tuina (Chinese medical massage) and guasha. He also practices Chinese and Arabic herbal medicine and grows and processes his own herbs.
In 2016, Said relocated from Hebron, Palestine to Minneapolis, MN. He is fluent in English, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese.
Susan Smith is his patient who was able to find him after years of struggling with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRSP). For 25 years, she existed in a wheelchair, only getting worse with treatments and medications, living in constant pain, basically being in bed 20 plus hours a day.
Now, after years of treatment with Said, she is out of her wheelchair, engaged in her community and sharing all that she's learned from Said about Traditional Chinese medicine to support others who have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
Minnesota Integrative Health Studio Website: www.mnintegrative.com
Susan Smith's Facebook Group: Positivity with RSD-CRPS
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Ep 120 - Provider + Patient: Traditional Chinese Medicine for Complex Conditions with Said Isayed and Susan Smith
[00:00:00] Cynthia: You are listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. I'm your host, Cynthia Shockley, and I'm here to learn alongside you through meaningful conversations with health and wellness practitioners. This is your time to experience some mindset shifts, learn practical tips, and get excited about what is possible.
[00:00:22] We want you to own the power of choice in your personal well being journey. Let's discover what's possible right here in our Twin Cities community.
[00:00:33] welcome to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. I'm your host, Cynthia Shockley, and today we get to really hear a story between a provider and a patient. And I'm really excited for you to get an in depth look at the struggle of navigating pain conditions within the Western health system.
[00:00:54] Versus what happens when you open up to the options and possibilities with an integrative approach Specifically with traditional Chinese medicine. So today we're sitting down with two people Provider and patient. So first up we have Said Isayed. He is a traditional Chinese medicine doctor who graduated from Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine after a six year bachelor's program in acupuncture and Chinese medicine and allopathic medicine.
[00:01:26] Said spent five years interning in several Chinese hospitals and clinics, training under some of the most well respected doctors of Chinese medicine. He focused strongly on the treatment of neurological diseases, autoimmune disorders, men's and women's health, orthopedic injuries, mental health, and painful musculoskeletal conditions.
[00:01:47] In addition to acupuncture, Said is well versed in several types of body work, including Chinese fire cupping, hijama, traditional Arabic cupping, tweena, Chinese medical massage, and gua sha. He also practices Chinese and Arabic herbal medicine and grows and processes his own herbs. In 2016, Syed relocated from Hebron, Palestine Minneapolis, Minnesota.
[00:02:12] He is fluent in English, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese. Thankfully, Susan Smith is his patient who was able to find him after years of struggling with complex regional pain syndrome. For 25 years, she existed in a wheelchair, only getting worse with treatments and medications, living in constant pain, basically being in bed 20 plus hours a day.
[00:02:39] Now, after years of treatment with Said, she is out of her wheelchair, engaged in her community and sharing all that she's learned from Said about traditional Chinese medicine to support others who have complex regional pain syndrome. It is my honor to now introduce these two amazing people. I'm so glad to have both of you here to share your story and dive into your work together and hearing from both the provider side, also the patient side and what that whole experience was like. But first, I want to Start with Said and just ask you about your own journey to becoming a traditional Chinese medicine doctor.
[00:03:23] What inspired you? What got you on this path?
[00:03:26] Said: First thank you for having us today on your podcast. My journey is long, but I'll try to be brief today. I come from a family of healers. My great-great-great grandfather. opened his first spice shop in Jerusalem in 1837 and the family is still working in the same business till today.
[00:03:54] So I'm sixth generation now. So that kind of growing up around You know, nature, herbs, and medicine inspired me to take it a further step and go to China and learn about their medicine, their culture, and how they do things. And that brought us to today having a business in northeast Minneapolis. So there's a lot of details, but that's in a brief words, I would say.
[00:04:29] Cynthia: Yeah, and I know you worked at other clinics in the past, and that's how Susan initially found you. What inspired you to then start your own clinic, the Minnesota Integrative Health Studio in Northeast Minneapolis?
[00:04:43] Said: Working in the community and see how health care is and the problem with health care and also the problem with employment and how employees are being treated, being paid a fair wage and my background
[00:04:59] the way we run our business back home, it's all community based, it's not about money, it's about helping people, and I wanted to create the same exact thing, the same exact community I grew up in when I was a kid, and also add what I learned from Chinese culture into my business. All of that.
[00:05:21] Cynthia: Yeah. That's beautiful.
[00:05:24] And Susan, I know you got to be there to witness that transition. And I know Said's made just a world of a difference for you and your life. Can you share a bit more about your own health journey before you started working with Said?
[00:05:40] Susan: Sure, and thank you for having me and us. I've had a disorder called CRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, for 30 years.
[00:05:49] For 24 of those years, I did everything traditional doctors would prescribe. So the meds, the blocks, the injections, the spinal cord stimulator trials, you name it, and I pretty much Had done it and it was told, so sorry, but there's nothing we can really do for you. So just go live your life. And I happen to be working with a pain psychologist and she got really frustrated by that.
[00:06:19] And so she forced me to do acupuncture. And the gentleman that was doing acupuncture with wound up employing Said at his clinic. And when I read Said's bio and his history and how he has an interest in neurological disorders, there is just something that said go see this guy. What the heck?
[00:06:43] I've done everything else. I've got nothing to lose. All it is is, time and a little money. And if it doesn't work just add it to the loss columns like everything else. However, it wasn't a loss. It changed my life and I will be forever grateful to that psychologist that forced me into looking for other alternatives than traditional medical options.
[00:07:07] And there's such a difference between the two. Typical medicine, Western medicine, we have doctors that are all specialized, everybody specializes in something. So if you have an orthopedic problem, You have to see the guy if your problem is for your knee, so you have to go to the knee orthopedic doc.
[00:07:28] However, if your ankle is also bothering you the knee guy can't treat your ankle because of insurance and the way they have doctors slotted into the profession. So now you need to have. Two doctors looking at you and but what if the ankle is like throwing off the knee which then throws off the hip guess what now I have to go find another doctor and I have done This is how it works and then you know, once you have a chronic condition, especially a painful chronic condition There's a whole group of doctors called pain management Which is I really hate the name because the name implies we know how to manage your pain That's not true.
[00:08:13] They know how to give you prescriptions, they know how to offer you procedures, but when those don't work, they just toss you aside and say, oh, go try this guy, which I have, I've been through. And so when I went, met Said, I literally, I had issues from I have head down. I have damage to my eyes from a medication.
[00:08:36] I have damage to my ears from an antibiotic that was infused incorrectly. I have structural issues from my neck all the way down to my feet. I need an entire team of doctors to treat me. However, they all don't communicate with each other. And even though your primary is supposed to be there to manage things.
[00:09:01] They can't manage a complex issue in the 15 minutes you're allowed to see them. And you're allowed to go see them for one problem, one complaint. So if your complaint is you aren't sleeping well, Okay, great, you go in and see your primary to talk about that and say, Oh, by the way, I've noticed that since I'm not sleeping really well, Gosh, my legs are swelling more.
[00:09:24] Okay, that's a separate issue. Now you have to make a second appointment to come back and see them again. This is where Said is so different. This is where Chinese medicine is so different. I am not just a section or an organ of the body. I am one whole person, mind and body. Everything is connected. When he, I first met him and some of the questions he would ask is, I kept thinking okay, he's gonna tell me to come back to talk about this another time because we can't talk about multiple problems at once.
[00:10:00] And that wasn't the case. And when you book your time with him, your time is with him. You're not answering the questions of the receptionist checking you in. You're not answering the questions of a nurse checking you in. And then the doctor has to read the nurse's notes. And now he's running late, so gosh, you're down to 10 minutes to get what you need.
[00:10:22] That's not how it works with Said and he asks you... How is your family? How is your stress? How is your sleep? Where are you hurting today? What's different today? Eaten anything different that maybe, has affected you? So he looks at every system in the body and addresses what you need addressed in that moment.
[00:10:45] And then comes up with a plan on how together you're going to tackle this. Where it's not he's just handing me a prescription and saying, Here, take three of these a day and follow up with me in two months and let's see how it's going. He gives you work to do. You are a part of your healing journey.
[00:11:06] You're not a passive bystander. You actually have to put in work and he'll tell you. You got to do the work. His favorite line is just do it. When I first went to him and I'd be like, he'd say something. I was like, but I can't just do it. And he'll help you to do it. He's gotten on the floor to show me how to do exercises.
[00:11:29] He wants me to do. He's, he makes herbs, special herbs for you that, you can't just go to target and buy. And do you really know what you're buying when you buy supplements? That, the television tells you to get because it's going to help you. There's fillers in them.
[00:11:46] There's all kinds of chemicals that you do not need. Where he takes natural ingredients and makes the herbs himself. Grinds them. He'll turn them into a delicious tasting tea. If you do not like the taste of the herbs, that would be me. I couldn't drink. I had a hard time drinking them. He found Japanese rice papers that I could put the powder in, roll it up and swallow it like a pill.
[00:12:14] And then he went on and got capsules and now he puts them nicely into capsules for me. And I so appreciate that. But he, you, he knows what you're getting and then he can tweak it also. The next time you come in, how is that working? If it's not working for you, you do not have to wait a month to tell him it's not working.
[00:12:35] He will change the herbs up. He'll fine tune what he added, take out, add more. This is what makes it unique. You're not just a person with a disorder. With CRPS, there's a standard. Okay, when you go to the doc and you have that diagnosis, you're going to get. Presents Alpha meds like gabapentin and Lyrica, Cymbalta, lots of side effects.
[00:12:59] You're going to be told you need to have nerve blocks, which are injections usually into your spine or neck. That's standard treatment. And then if those don't work, you're going to move on to devices like spinal cord stimulators, DRG stimulators, even pain pumps that are implanted into your spine. His approach is unique to you.
[00:13:21] I have met people. And with your piss and sent them to him, while some things are the same, cupping Guasha, it's targeted different and herbs are applied differently for different people. It's all individualized. You're not just a number. You're not just your medical record number. You are a person and he sees that.
[00:13:44] Cynthia: Yeah. That's amazing. so Said hearing this, I'm curious how you would describe complex regional pain syndrome and how you approached treating Susan when you first met her.
[00:13:59] Said: Anyone can Google complex regional pain syndrome and the answers you would get always is very vague. There's no direct explanation why this is happening to people. It's always related to trauma, injuries, stroke, heart attacks, or other trauma that people may endure. Symptoms vary. It's a wide range of symptoms what I would like to call it an umbrella diagnosis because doctors are not sure what this is.
[00:14:34] So they collect bunch of symptoms together and they call it CRPS or fibromyalgia. But the symptoms varies from one person to another. It represents a different effects on the body from this person to that person depends on their lifestyle, diet, exercise, mental health. So when you when someone like that comes to you and what I learned from Chinese medicine, the way they diagnose there is those basics.
[00:15:08] That you'll look at, the way that people walk, the people that people talk, the expressions on their face, light of their the color of their face, the skin, too, how they smell it's all about details we call it wenwenqie in Chinese medicine. So someone like Susan came in, she she couldn't come up the stairs there was no elevator.
[00:15:36] She decided to crawl up with her oxygen machine and she refused to anyone to help her get up. So I was like, yeah, we have a good material here. Someone want to work on something. Maybe they'll be able to do it. So first session was like just listening. What's going on? How did you get to, to this point?
[00:15:58] Tell me about your life. What do you eat? Where do you live? All these details to understand what you're dealing with. And then give them tools to work on. Maybe today we need to think about what we eat. If sugar can inflame the body, can make your nerves hyperactive. What you have is a problem with your nervous system.
[00:16:23] Maybe we should cut down this slowly or get rid of it. Try to make your food at home, try to introduce yourself to new foods that you've never had before. Expose yourself to different cultures where they add their medicine to their foods. All the spices, all the herbs can be used in your food.
[00:16:44] You don't have to buy expensive supplements all the time. And then, encourage people to talk to a mental health provider. It's I'm not a psychologist. I can listen to you, but also I might not have the tools that needed to respond in an, in the right way. So knowing your limits and practice can help you guide people where they need to go from here on work with their providers as well
[00:17:15] because what we have under acupuncture Chinese scope of practice is really limited. So if I need to help with diagnosis, I have to send, for example, Susan to her primary asking for a CT scan or for some blood works. I can make sure this is not going the wrong way. Later on, introducing some exercise start with gentle treatment, a little bit of twina or cupping.
[00:17:43] First time with Susan, we did cupping, quick session. What I noticed is the symptoms, the hands and the feet feel pretty cold. That's indication of... bad blood circulation. So we needed to work on improving the blood circulation. Once you get enough blood flow in those limbs that hurt, the nerves will stop aching.
[00:18:09] The nerves will ache if they don't get enough nutrients. Like people with diabetes, they have insufficient vein disease or like CRPS where the brain is just sending all these signals to The hands, the feet, the arms, or wherever it's affected and then the person will be scared of getting more pain, they won't move, they won't exercise, leads into atrophy, change of skin color, getting more swelling and edema, so trying to improve that one thing is the blood circulation can make a huge difference for the person. So that's how we started, but there's a lot of details as well.
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[00:20:57] Cynthia: Yeah. And for those who might not be familiar with cupping, can you explain what that process looks like?
[00:21:05] Said: Cupping basically is a uses suction device. There's all kind of devices and stuff out there. What we use is fire cupping, which is the traditional way of doing it.
[00:21:16] We use a torch, a glass cup, applying that fire inside the cup, place it immediately on the skin. As the air cools down, creates a suction, and that kind of pulls the muscles, the skin, the tissue inside the cup, what people call In other words, myofascial release, it's negative the opposite of massage where in massage you push into the muscles while cupping allow to suck it the other way.
[00:21:48] Allows more blood circulation, release blood tension improve lymph circulation. And causes some bruises, which resolve in about 7 to 10 days. Those bruises are very essential to the mechanism of cupping because the negative pressure that you apply on the surface of the skin because of the cup, breaks those small blood vessels underneath the skin which according to your body or to the patient body is we have an injury.
[00:22:24] Which triggers the healing mechanism in the body by bringing more circulation, more attention to this area and try to heal this, the broken blood vessel issue, but also sometimes might have some, muscle injury or tendonitis or some inflammation that also by doing that you can trick the body into help you heal.
[00:22:51] small tools, not very invasive, but we can train the body to do more work by, because we, the human body gets lazy over time. The things we don't do, we don't exercise. Muscles get atrophied. We don't stretch. And. Medicine alone is not going to do anything for it. You need that manual work where you stimulate the muscles and you stimulate the body into starting to move in a different way and promote the blood circulation and the healing in the body.
[00:23:26] Cynthia: Yeah, that makes total sense. And I love the idea of it being instead of massage pushing in it's sucking out and that's still, creating that release and getting more into the blood. I, I wonder Susan, cause I know we had a little chat beforehand and I've personally seen those bruises on people's bodies and how it looks like a giant.
[00:23:50] Octopus just slapped them across the back. Susan, what was your experience like on the other end as a patient of Said's while you were going through his sessions?
[00:24:02] Susan: As he said in the beginning, we started really slow, just a couple cups on my shoulders and back. And
[00:24:09] they don't hurt but they can sting, especially when you're not used to it. It's new and my body was tight. My body had so much fluid in it. So it was It's different. You really have to experience it. But I encourage people to do, and when people find out I do it in areas where I have CRPS, I'm like, that's what got me better.
[00:24:35] Because as Said points out, he also has to sometimes refer you back to your primary. Said and I had only been working together about four months when I had an issue with my shoulder. Couldn't use my right arm, couldn't move the shoulder. He sent me to my primary we did a CAT scan.
[00:24:54] Turns out my shoulder's pretty messed up. Went to an orthopedic shoulder doc and he's Yeah, you need a full replacement. I have tears in the cuff, tears in cartilage and ligaments. The muscles, he said, looked like really good steak, very marbleized, which in humans is a bad thing. However, he said, you also have CRPS and you're in a wheelchair.
[00:25:17] Learn to be left handed and I'll send you to PT. I went to PT for about three weeks when they discharged me and said, learn to be left handed. I couldn't, I'm right handed, I couldn't write, I couldn't reach for a tissue without being in agonizing pain, I couldn't touch my shoulder, I couldn't reach for my face, I couldn't do anything.
[00:25:39] And I was beyond frustrated that once again I was told, just live with it, there's nothing you can do. And that is where Said, and my journey, I think, really got cemented together and how important he was because his first question after I told him what the doctors and therapy said was, do you trust me?
[00:26:01] And I thought for a minute. And I thought, yeah, I do. You're the only one that has listened to me and has come up with, let's try this, let's try this. Even if it was telling me, cut out the sugar and things like that. Yeah, I trust you. What do you want to do? And when he talks, when you talk about the bruising, he started working on my shoulder.
[00:26:22] That became our primary focus for 10 months. I would leave covered. On my shoulder, upper back and arm, just in bruises from the cups and from Guasha, and he did acupuncture and acupuncture with stimulation. He made me special herbal saps that he would apply at the clinic and then send me home with and tell me to put them on, two and three times a day.
[00:26:46] This is where I really started to. Understand how Chinese medicine was so different and also how much the brain, your mind, and the body truly are connected because they would begin having me close my eyes and hold my arm out and have me visualize. moving my arm above my head, he would talk me through, I'm moving your arm this way, I'm moving your arm over here, we're touching over here, yet he wasn't even moving my arm half an inch, but he was trying to get the brain to use neural pathways to bring back up that, yeah, you know how to move brain, you do, you know how to do this, we just need to get it back.
[00:27:30] The right message is going back and forth, cupping got circulation going into the area. The herbs brought nutrients into the area. So it really is such a multifaceted approach by one person, one guy, and thanks to him, I did not have to learn to be left handed. I can use my arm. I lift weights at the Y.
[00:27:57] I can write. I can reach up. It doesn't have full range of motion, but that's a structural issue. But it also doesn't hurt. It's amazing what he can do with the knowledge that he has. And it is so different than what people are used to. Dealing with when you go to the doctors or you go to your clinic and say, I'm struggling, Minnesota Integrative Health Studio.
[00:28:28] It's, they're there and, and so he has other providers too, that are, part of his team. He has, acupuncturists, massage therapists, he has health coaching Pilates to learn how to move your body correctly. So it's one stop. You can just go to one place and you can have multiple people that
[00:28:51] we'll talk to each other and they know you and they're all there to help with Said leading basically, the team of people there to help you. you don't find this everywhere. It's just not, it's just not out there.
[00:29:08] Cynthia: Yeah, and it's just becoming so clear why traditional Chinese medicine, that approach that, you are a whole person, that there's always options, that, we can understand the diagnosis as a launching point, but we don't have to feel like we have to sub come to it.
[00:29:28] It's like, all right, now we know what we're working with here. A bunch of tools we can start to work with. I can see how this is really effective for something that is complicated, chronic, something that maybe other providers are like According to the diagnosis, this is the protocol.
[00:29:44] This protocol didn't work. Learn to be left handed. Learn to deal with the pain. And, just go to therapy and manage mentally how you're going through it. And, so for you to get these different answers. Gosh, it just, what a beacon of hope. I would hope for other people that might be dealing with this pain.
[00:30:06] Said do you mind sharing other examples of cases that you've been able to support? I know I've heard about someone with diabetes and their foot, Susan was telling me earlier. But yeah, if you can just share some other cases that people might feel stuck in that you might be able to help with.
[00:30:26] Said: There is a lot. Especially if people don't get answers they want to, it becomes a mental burden. Plus, what their physical body's going through, trying to find answer. Sometimes some people fall into scams where they go to a provider and they just try to sell them a bunch of tests and supplements, thousands and thousands of dollars for years, and they have no improvement.
[00:30:55] But what choice do they have? So some examples is one time. I got this person that was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and they're in health, a healthcare provider and, they understand a lot about medicine and how things go. They came to me to get a cupping session. I was asking, doing cupping, chatting about what kind of medication do you take?
[00:31:22] What do you do? All these questions are related to the treatment. And then I found out that, this person is hyperthyroid, they're taking thyroxine, supplemental hormone therapy to help the thyroid function. Then I was like, oh, how much are you taking? And the dosage was a bit high for, a tiny person.
[00:31:50] I was like, okay, we'll do the cupping, that will help your muscles, but I think your metabolism is getting faster because of this high dose of thyroxine. Go to your doctor, get that tested again, see your numbers, see if they need to adjust your dosage for you. Meanwhile we have some Chinese herbal supplements that can help, with hyperthyroid symptoms, just slowing down things.
[00:32:20] So I was like, take this meanwhile while you can get to your doctor and get this done. So they did. Turned out what I expected. They adjusted the dose. Now there's no fibromyalgia anymore. It was too simple, but it was missed for years. So it comes the training that we've, that I've been through in China, where you work Western medicine and Chinese medicine together, you have all the tools you need.
[00:32:50] You can order a lab test, an x ray, a CT scan, and then you can compare and see what's going on, if something wrong with that side of medicine, or is something else we can work on. So in this case, we could have tried everything in life. But if you if they didn't adjust their dosage of this medicine, you're getting nowhere with that So it's good to try to look at everything at once and listen to people.
[00:33:20] It's The most important thing is to listen.
[00:33:25] Cynthia: Yeah, to really notice all those details. And how amazing. Just a testament to the power of integrative care, right? That we can all work together within all the different systems to find a solution for each unique individual. Gosh, and I know, so Susan shared this one story and I wonder, Susan, if you want to share about the patient.
[00:33:48] And the foot and what you witnessed just being in the waiting room.
[00:33:54] Susan: So do you remember back when we first started to go back six years? I know that's a lot of people, but there was a gentleman and his daughter. He had come in to see you. He was chatting with me in the in the waiting room. We were talking with the daughter and I was finishing up my appointment, but I was refilling my water and we passed each other every week at the, I would come and he would be going.
[00:34:16] And The daughter said, he was diabetic, and when you looked at him in his shorts, from the middle of the shin down, his legs were black. He... He had dressings around both his feet, with some blood on them, and they looked just horribly painful. And the daughter had brought him there in hopes of getting him some help because they were, the doctors were discussing if things
[00:34:41] didn't get better, they would have to amputate his legs.
[00:34:44] When tissue dies and becomes necrotic, There is nothing you can do to bring it back. You have to remove the tissue. And being a nurse before I was injured, I just thought, Oh, this poor guy, he's gonna lose his, he's gonna lose his feet. There, there's nothing that's gonna, nothing that's gonna help him.
[00:35:07] And lo and behold, I would see him and the color in his shins and feet started to improve. I literally was blown away and The gentleman did not have to lose his feet and this is part of the problem when, doctors just look at the problem in the area and don't look at the whole person and what else is going on in their life and they don't incorporate.
[00:35:37] everything about them into looking at what the problem is. And how do we make this better? Luckily for this man, this daughter brought him into be seen because, gosh, his life really would have been greatly affected if he had not been helped.
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[00:36:38] Cynthia: It's amazing. And I know Susan, you're clearly such a passionate advocate for Said for traditional Chinese medicine. And I know you actually We also have a Facebook group for those with complex regional pain syndrome. Do you mind sharing just a little more about what this Facebook group is? What kind of support and information people might expect?
[00:37:05] And just so everyone knows, the link will be in the show notes for you to check out as well.
[00:37:11] Susan: About the same time that I started with Said I had connected with another person and we created a group on Facebook to help people with our disorder. Thank you. And it was focused not on the what was me doom and let's share all our horrible photos of how bad we are.
[00:37:31] It was focused on instead that mindset really matters. And I didn't realize it truly how much it matters until I had worked with Said for quite a while. And so as I started to get better. And I would tell the girl I would ask, gee, what are you eating, because literally my hour with Said, I would pick his brain.
[00:37:57] He gave me books to read on Chinese medicine. And then that led me to explore more things on my own. And I literally would try and suck information out of him so I could absorb it. And then I would take it back because there are so many people out there like me. Literally. Thousands of people that they're just told nothing we can do, go live your life.
[00:38:19] And so not everybody has a Said, sadly, I wish we could clone him. And my group has grown, we're over 4, 000 people in the group. I have referred, it started out that Said this is how nice of a guy he is. I would message him on Facebook and private messenger like nine o'clock at night and I'd be like, see, I've got this gal in Australia.
[00:38:44] She's really struggling. She wants to try Chinese medicine, but she doesn't know what to do. Okay. He just messaged her like he didn't charge her. He talked with Maz. He found her a Chinese medicine provider over in Australia. Maz went from having to be at home in her apartment. She's now in her 70s to three years ago, she and her husband bought their first house.
[00:39:14] She's back traveling in Europe like she used to. I hear from her every once in a while and she'd be like, I will never ever be able to thank you guys enough for you finding the group and having the group. And then you reaching out to Said to have him help me. She's not alone. I have done this with several in the group where now when COVID hit and we had to go virtual and everything.
[00:39:40] I said to Said, I'm like, you really need to set up a virtual link because I refer people to him all the time even if you can't give you cupping or other things and touch you hands on, he can help you come up with a plan. And then you can go back to your own community and sometimes even finds people in their community for them to work with and at least give you direction he will ship herbs to people in the United States to help them because they don't have an herbalist with his extensive background and knowledge.
[00:40:16] In their area, and they just don't know what's best for them and is the person they're going to go into and talk to really understand a condition like CRPS and then understand how herbs can impact and how one herb might help somebody. But the next person that same herb might not help them even though they have the same medical condition and you'll have to change it.
[00:40:42] And so he and I collaborated in that, gosh, there are so many people in need. And I run the group with the focus on retraining the brain to help build those new neural pathways. Promoting, you gotta get up and move. Nobody told me to move. Literally, the doctors told me to go to bed.
[00:41:07] And I, when I went to study the first, our first year, I was in bed 20 plus hours a day and completely in a wheelchair. Nobody told me to move. In fact, I was told don't move. Just, if it hurts, don't do it. Everything hurts, so then you don't do anything. And then, like Said points out, you have muscle atrophy, and I developed contractions in limbs, that's where tendons, ligaments, and muscles shorten, so instead of the limb being straight, it's now bent.
[00:41:36] I have a lot of damage, structurally, from doctors that just said, don't do it. If it hurts, don't move. Okay, great. And I try to take his message and send it out to others to give them hope, maybe to plant a seed, you don't know what you don't know until you start learning it. I thought as an RN with a degree, I had worked in an ICU, I considered myself pretty darn educated.
[00:42:13] And this was my own medical profession, treating me that ultimately messed up badly. And so that is not uncommon, sadly, that is not uncommon, and especially when you have a chronic condition. So I try to take everything that she teaches me each week and then send it out to others in need so that maybe somebody has a better day tomorrow because of what they learned today.
[00:42:45] If I had not been forced to get acupuncture, and then ultimately that led to me meeting Said I would still be in a wheelchair. I would still be on oxygen. I would still be in bed. I would not be living life. I Saturday night, my service dog and I volunteered at the Minnesota Zoo Dream Night for people with disabilities.
[00:43:11] We were there talking to hundreds of people about service dogs and things. I couldn't have done that before. Could not have done that before. I took my grandsons to Great Wolf Lodge by myself. Three boys and a service dog. I go to their sports games. I could not have done that. I would not be doing that.
[00:43:34] If it wasn't for, by the luck of the universe, my Pat's Crest would say. That's amazing.
[00:43:42] Cynthia: Gosh, Said, I know that health equity is important to you and I love you sharing how that aspect of community coming in and healing is just a part of your upbringing and it's something that you want to have in Minneapolis, which is why you even started the Minnesota Integrative Health Studio.
[00:44:02] What are some ways that your clinic aims for accessibility and health equity?
[00:44:07] Said: So basically you treat anyone that comes through the door regardless of if they can pay or not they have a job or not. A lot of people with chronic conditions, they end up on disability. They don't have enough money to pay for their treatments.
[00:44:26] The mentality of business in America, all they care about is how much money. Everyone is making and not how much people were helping. If you don't have health insurance, your expenses are high. It's not covering everything acupuncture or Chinese medicine, mainly not covered, or they will give you six sessions a year.
[00:44:51] So people cannot. Get a consistent treatments. Nobody can afford to pay that much. Some people do, but not everyone. So basically we have the community room that you can basically get everything you need in a community setting. Chinese medicine treatments in a community setting the way the same way that gets done in China.
[00:45:17] People come in and I can't afford to pay 20. Cool. Pay 20, as long as I'm helping you. I'm okay. I'm okay with whatever you can afford. Also I'm investing in my community that I'm sure they'll have my back over time. I'm not looking into short term, making profit. I'm looking into a longterm investment in my community, my employees and my neighbors.
[00:45:45] The problem now comes into how people of color or minority has been treated into health care system. Also, women A lot of times get people that don't speak English very well they send them to you because this one time a Somali guy come to me and he's Oh, I have this horrible shoulder pain.
[00:46:09] I just went to urgent care. They told me to go get massage or acupuncture. And then examining this guy, I found out like this guy just had a stroke. Why this guy came to me and not went to the hospital to get medication, check on his blood pressure and all of that. I had to write down everything that he needs to go and sent him back to the ER with his kid.
[00:46:34] To get treated and I said later on when you are not in danger, come back to me. I can help you through recovering from this, but now I don't have the tools to help you. You have to be there, but What blows my mind is like, how did a trained MD miss this? Like someone could have died or something worse could have happened.
[00:46:58] So that's why we create this kind of this kind of business where we care and hear and learn from people experience and try to help them everyone needs to make a living, but. I'll work out, help people and everything will work out. So that's how it goes.
[00:47:24] Cynthia: Just that abundance mindset.
[00:47:26] And I love the, that you're just living it. That you're investing in your community and having faith that you know your community will have your back as needed. And here Susan is like singing your praise and
[00:47:42] Susan: And he's not boasting. I have been there when somebody has been at the front desk and said, I can't pay you this week.
[00:47:51] He has never said come back when you pay. I hear him say, don't worry about it. Come on, let's go. And back to the room. They go. He offers sliding scale fees for community acupuncture with no questions asked. You don't have to fill out a financial paperwork. You don't have to explain, you don't have to do nothing.
[00:48:08] It's just, I've been there when people have said, I only can pay this. He offers monthly specials. For 10 percent off his services, he, for community acupuncture for sauna, he offers a monthly special. He offers packages to make it more affordable. It's, the sad part is insurance does not cover someone like him.
[00:48:29] That is the sad. And he's very aware of that. And that's why. He truly does care about the community. If you walk outside on the sidewalk with him, the entire block knows who he is. He helps the gentleman downstairs. He, gets his hair cut at the salon on the corner. He knows those people.
[00:48:54] He knows the people down the block and around the corner. He knows them. He's truly an... An integrated and interval part of that system of that community system. He's an important piece and he's there 6 days a week. Do you know what? Saturdays and Sundays he works. Because he knows Monday through Friday people work.
[00:49:22] You have full time jobs. You have kids after school. You can't always take care of yourself. He understands that. He's there Saturdays and Sundays to see people and treat people. Tell me somebody else that does that, because I sure don't know others that do this. And that's what makes Minnesota Integrative Health Studios so unique.
[00:49:46] He makes it unique.
[00:49:47] Cynthia: How does it feel hearing that, Said
[00:49:49] Said: I don't know.
[00:49:53] Susan: His head is spinning.
[00:49:54] Cynthia: Your smile says it all.
[00:49:57] Susan: It's a truth, though. I get no benefit. I You know, for saying like how great he is. And he truly becomes more than just a provider he will for me he has become a friend. I've had my primary for 15 years, 16 years. I don't even know how many kids he has.
[00:50:18] I assume he has kids. He's married. So I assume he has kids. I don't know. I know nothing. I know nothing about him. I know about Said he knows my family. It's, he's treated my family, he's treated my daughter, he's treated my nine year old grandson. And my nine year old grandson thinks he's just the best thing and he's a great cook.
[00:50:39] And, he loves having Said around. I had to see Said and my daughter and her husband both had to work. There was no one to watch the kids. It was either not see Said or bring them with. Brought them with. They sat in the clinic and were on their tablets and stuff while we did our thing, not many places will let you do that either,
[00:51:03] Cynthia: it sounds like just such a beautiful community space and for anyone interested in checking out the Minnesota Integrative Health Studio, all the information is in the show notes. So I'm just so excited to have both of you here just sharing both of your stories and the passion is so real.
[00:51:29] And I'm so grateful to have you in our community Said and to have you sharing more on how wonderful the services are, Susan.
[00:51:40] Susan: Thanks for having me. It really was a pleasure getting to tell others
[00:51:45] Said: yeah, I would like to thank you for having us on this podcast.
[00:51:49] Looking forward to do more and help me help educating people and help them through their health and wellness journey.
[00:51:58] Cynthia: Perfect. Thank you both so much.
[00:52:00] Susan: Thanks so much, Cynthia.
[00:52:03] Cynthia: Thank you so much for listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. Did you learn something new? Did you feel that spark of hope and excitement for what is possible? Because so much is possible. Tell us about it in a review on Apple podcast. Not only would we absolutely love hearing from you, but these reviews help our ratings and help other curious minds like you find this resource.
[00:52:28] We are always better together. Thank you again and see you next time.