We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Yvonne K Scarlett, DACM, Dipl. OM., L.Ac. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Yvonne K, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
As a child, I had always dreamed of becoming a doctor. At the age of 19, I was accepted into the pre-med program at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and quickly realized that wasn’t what I really wanted to do.
A few years later I emigrated to the ‘states’, and went after the American Dream by climbing up the corporate ladder. It was then that I started having headaches which I chaulked up to allergies. The migraines, nausea, visual auras gradually got worse, impacting my work. Add to that stomach ulcers, acid reflux; I was later diagnosed with ‘Adult-Onset Asthma’ at age 35. It seemed that my health was beginning its decline. Rounds of Cortisone injections, high doses of Prednisone, and too many hospital stays compelled me to start taking a more active role in my healing process. While trying to manage my asthma, I was then given a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia to explain the chronic fatigue, insomnia and pain everywhere in my body. Starting a wellness clinic was not even on my radar. I just wanted to feel better. I was leading a stressful life which compounded my health challenges. It was a daily struggle to feel better while raising a family and navigating my corporate career as a manager of a small department, which was becoming extremely daunting. My health continued to deteriorate.
I relocated to Florida in the summer of 2003, still suffering with the now daily migraines, made worse by the Florida heat and humidity. I was miserable. My options were prescription after prescription with their plethora of side effects. There had to be a better way. I remembered that I was able to manage the asthma by changing my diet and incorporating more whole foods and botanicals. Fast forward to 2004 – still suffering for many years with almost daily migraine headaches which didn’t respond well to prescription medication, I started researching other modalities. In my research, I “stumbled” upon Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture when I found a business card at the cash register of the health food store I visited weekly to get my organic produce and non-dairy milk products.
Despite my fear of needles, I decided to try it, and called the number to the clinic. I was desperate to find relief. After several treatment sessions, I noticed that I had fewer days of migraines, where I had to find a cool, dark room to hopefully sleep it off. That was in 2004. I’ve not had a migraine since completing that series of treatments. Well, that got my attention. It worked!
Years later I returned to Chinese Medicine and acupuncture for treatment of chronic anxiety, panic attacks, stomach ulcers, and recurrent sinus infections–all of which were resolved.
It was then that I decided to return to medical school to learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and how I could bring this medicine to my community, especially BIPOC (this phrase didn’t exist then). My agenda was to work primarily with children, so I completed two semesters of Pediatric TCM, which included two semesters of clinical training at Rady Children’s Hospital working in their hematology and oncology department, treating their pediatric patients, both in-patient, and out-patient in their chronic pain program. My youngest patient there was 9 months old. The children responded quickly to the treatments. This was so encouraging. During my Master’s program I hit a plateau with my health, especially with the added stress of being in graduate school and studying for the California Board exam. I started getting weekly treatments from a professor at her private clinic. She used a functional medicine approach to care and ordered comprehensive labs which showed that I was severely deficient is some key nutrients that my body needed in order to function well. I was placed on a customized regimen of a diet modified specifically for me, and was prescribed nutraceuticals, Chinese herbal prescriptions, plus lifestyle modification to include daily self-care routines. I started to feel better – more energy, less pain, better sleep. Life was good.
After graduating from Chinese Medicine school, I knew that I wanted to bring more awareness about this powerful medicine to everyone I knew and met. I wanted everyone to know about how I was able to regain my health and feel good, so I decided to open my own private clinic–initially in Banker’s Hill–and then in Carlsbad in 2014. It was about empowering individuals to take a broader view of their health and wellness care, being proactive about it, by incorporating Chinese Medicine modalities for the prevention, and management of their health concerns, in an integrative and holistic manner.
I really had no idea about what I was getting into by owning and running an integrative medicine clinic. It has been quite the journey. My focus has since been on Women’s health, helping those suffering with the symptoms of autoimmune disease, such as Thyroid
disorders, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Sarcoidosis – the third is the autoimmune disorder with which I was diagnosed in 2007. My other clinical focus is infertility which is now being called an ‘epidemic’ by some health agencies. So many women and couples are struggling to have a baby. I want to help them improve their odds, which clinical research has shown to increase by over 40%. I have helped hundreds of those dealing with fertility challenges with an amazing medicine bag of tools at my disposal.
This is why I show up in my clinic – to help people live better lives on their terms, with more energy, better sleep, and an improved quality of life.
What should our readers know about your business?
Lotus Wellness Center is my passion, my lifeblood, and purpose. Whenever I have an opportunity to share what I do, I often remind myself to be moderate – not to talk ad nauseam about what I do – because I could! I’m in my third career and wish that I had come to it sooner; however, it was my life and health experiences which brought me to it when I didn’t even know that it existed. Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture saved my life. What I bring to clinical practice is a deep passion,
borne out of my own debilitating health and tenuous health journey. I bring a combination of extensive and diverse clinical experience, academic knowledge, combined with personal wisdom which allows me to relate quite well to those who suffer from similar health challenges with which I have previously struggled. Additionally, I bring experience from my years of working in Fortune 100, and 500 corporations and, as an electronic engineer – overworked, stressed, poor sleep, etc., combined with my own survival of many traumatic life experiences. I understand their challenges, pain and struggles acutely. I can empathize and share from my vast and varied journey back to good health.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many great places to visit in San Diego. Balboa Park is a must to check out the museums, the Japanese Garden and Spanish Village, with many specialty shops. Adjacent is the world-famous San Diego Zoo. If you are looking for a yummy breakfast place, then it must be Snooze, with a couple of locations. Delicious vegan food can be had at Plumeria, Dao Fu and Loving Hut. For a more exotic fare, visit Realm of 52 Remedies. If you’re craving decadent desserts and treats, you’ll not be disappointed
at Extraordinary desserts on Front Street.
If you enjoy hiking then you may enjoy a hike at Torrey Pines, or one of the courses in Balboa Park, or in Point Loma to see the lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument and enjoy the expansive ocean views. You may even spot a whale or a few dolphins.
If you are a lover of fine teas, then visiting tea houses like Coral Tree or Shakespeare will delight. For the oenophiles, I encourage you to check out some of our local wineries – Koi Zen Cellars, Carruth Cellars, and the Bernardo Winery. San Diego is replete with opportunities to please all the senses.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Shout-out is multi-pronged: First my immediate family the Francis’, Murray’s, Escoffery’s, and Scarlett’s. My SoCal Family – The Lemoine’s, Harrison’s, Goold’s, Sleeth’s and Ouya’s;
Colleagues: Dr. Christine Grisham; Dr. Christine Adamo, Dr. Ayanna Cobb; Dr. Laurena White, M.D., and Dr. Pearl Zimmerman, M.D.
I could not have navigated this journey and reached this place without all these individuals who have supported me with their love, affection, encouragement, finances, shelter, and mentorship. I am eternally grateful.
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/DrYvonneScarlett