Amy Hazard is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and bodywork therapist. She started her training in massage in Santa Barbara, California, in 1996 and continued her training in Hawaii. She became certified in massage including Hawaiian Lomilomi, Thai massage, Deep Tissue, and Shiatsu in Hawaii in 1997. Her training continued at the Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine in Shiatsu, Chinese nutrition, Acupuncture, and Chinese Herbal therapy. Her passion for herbal therapy includes a lifelong study of native plant medicine. She specializes in back, neck, and knee pain, gynecology, and digestive disorders. Her approach is to treat disorders using a combination of therapies including acupuncture, cupping, massage, herbs, and essential oils. She is the author of continuing education courses in Chinese Medicine and Native Plants.

Chinese Herbal Therapy and Santa Barbara Native Plant Medicine

Santa Barbara Health and Healing Center offers a unique blend of traditional Chinese Medicine and Native Medicinal Plants and Herbs. The most potent and appropriate remedy for inhabitants of any given region is arguably that region’s local native plants. For example, similar to how an unhealthy deer eats a certain native plant to rid itself of disease, humans have traditionally used herbal medicine that is endemic to where they live. Some herbalists claim that local medicinal plants are better suited to treat the local human population. According to Professor J. R. Worsley, “Anything that can be done with needles can also be done with herbs, but if you use herbs, for God’s sake use local ones, because they are not ten times stronger, they are not a hundred times stronger, they are one thousand times stronger than any plants that grow someplace else (Cowen 64).”

In Santa Barbara, California, there are numerous local wild endemic and naturalized medicinal herbs. Many of them are rarely used or only discussed as ethnobotany of the past. Our goal is to incorporate native and naturalized plant herbs, essential oils, and hydrosols when appropriate into the patient’s holistic treatment. Using a comprehensive approach, acupuncture or bodywork can be greatly enhanced by the addition of native plant essential oils and herbs.

We steam distill our own local essential oils such as White sage, Honeybutton sage, Hummingbird sage, Goldenbush, Woolly blue curls, and California Artemisia in small batches to ensure a highly therapeutic oil that can be used directly on the patient during treatment or in a diffuser to scent a room. Other nonessential oil medicinal plants such as Yerba santa (See photo below) and Figwort are potent medicinal plants that grow locally and treat ailments such as colds, cough, flu, and skin disorders and can be prescribed as a tea. We have a massive herbal pharmacy growing right in our back yard just waiting to be discovered. Blending these herbs in Chinese herbal formulas synergistically enhances the medicinal value of the decoctions or teas.