Melissa West LAc, LE
Founder of First City Wellness
A part of me always knew I would be a healer. I didn't know in what capacity, but I knew it would encompass skincare. Growing up in a small town in Oregon instilled me with a great connection with nature, so I grew up fascinated with the intersection of art and science. Though the scientific part of my brain led me in my classwork in high school (including my first foray into making cosmetics in AP chemistry) my heart led me toward pursuing my art professionally. After attending my first college, an art school, I realized that something was missing, which led me to move back to Oregon to pursue a degree in Health Education. I found that I had a passion for nutritional supplements and focused much of my undergraduate studies in that direction.
While attending Portland State University I had my first experience with acupuncture. I was involved in a car accident and sustained some soft tissue injuries that chiropractic care and physical therapy could not address. On recommendation from a friend I decided to try acupuncture. It was a fantastic experience that reduced my pain and increased my well being significantly. Thus, the seed was planted.
After graduation I worked in the corporate world of health for a little while, but was unfulfilled because of its exclusivity, and ultimately found myself examining my life again. This time I began asking myself not only what do I want to be when I grow up, but who do I want to be when I grow up? After a few twists, turns and odd jobs I finally landed at the doorstep of Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM). For the first time in my life I knew that I was doing the right thing for myself mentally, artistically and spiritually. By the time I began classwork at OCOM I had received aromatherapy training and began my second venture into creating cosmetics, this time with a natural twist. After creating some popular salves my first year at OCOM, I finally realized a way to bring my love of art, science, medicine and skincare into fruition. I immediately enrolled in Portland Beauty School (PBS) in the evening aesthetics program and received advanced facial rejuvenation training from the International Cupping Therapeutics Association.
After graduating from PBS and receiving my aesthetics license in Oregon I began working in the beauty industry. While working as an aesthetician, my day can contain anything from doing makeup artistry backstage at an amazing fashion show or wedding, to treating many different skin issues in my own practice. In 2012 I had the pleasure of returning to Portland Beauty School to teach the Makeup Application Class portion of the Esthetics curriculum. I have received training in medical aesthetics and chemical peeling from Image Skincare and additional makeup artistry training from Motives By Loren Ridinger. I have also received advanced training in Cosmetic Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Acupressure Facials, Hot Stone Therapy, Bamboo Massage, Thai Herbal Compress Treatments, Reflexology, TCM Dermatology, herbal medicine and Nutriceuticals.
After receiving my MAcOM degree from OCOM, Oregon State Acupuncture Licence and NCCAOM Diplomate in Acupuncture, I began my practice in Clackamas, Oregon and finished my development of Beautypuncture. When I am not practicing aesthetics, acupuncture, working in my lab or teaching classes, I enjoy spending time with my family, curling up with a good book, watching all types of films, visiting farmer's markets, writing in my blog, and singing karaoke.
I strongly believe that everything in our world and beyond is interconnected and that everything happens for a reason. I also believe that our bodies have the innate capacity to heal themselves, but with the increasing demands of our modern society, we lose sight of this truth. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine helps remind us of our own healing potential, and assists in restoring the natural balance of our mind, body and spirit and strengthens our connection to ourselves.
I also believe that access to care should not be judgmental in any way and it is my goal to provide safe access to healthcare for all shapes, sizes, colors and orientations.