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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Send the Kids Back to School : Without Worrying What Germs They’ll Bring Home

Jul 29, 2015 05:35PM ● By Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

The onset of August means back-to-school season is officially underway. Along with your child’s eager anticipation over entering a higher grade level, reuniting with friends and swapping summer anecdotes in the cafeteria, comes the heightened risk of catching airborne illnesses.

During this transitional and often anxiety-inducing time of year, prioritizing your whole family’s health is imperative. For in-depth pointers on how to promote optimal wellness while in school and at home, I spoke with Dr. Christina Captain, DOM, licensed Acupuncture physician and founder of the Sarasota-based Family Healing Center. Dr. Captain utilizes a holistic approach to help individuals – regardless of their age bracket or medical history – achieve both physical and mental healing.  


Natural Awakenings: Which therapies or treatments does Family Healing Center
 specialize in, and how can these services benefit 
the entire family?

Dr. Captain: Family Healing Center specializes in making people well. We integrate the best modalities from all worlds of healing to create a unique, comprehensive treatment package for each individual’s needs. Focused in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Chinese herbs, as well as proper food intake and nutritional supplementation when necessary, we can address almost any issue. 

Men, women and children can benefit from these services, especially stress management which people frequently experience during back-to-school season. In fact, we will be presenting a back-to-school seminar on August 26.    


NA: Is there an age range your patients generally fit into, and how soon would you recommend that parents start their children on a holistic regimen?

Dr. Captain: We currently have patients aged two–95. Even prenatally is a great time to start. Children can be raised holistically beginning in the womb, and often, they will require much less treatment for ailments with proper nutrition and preventative care.   


NA: Have alternative or Eastern Medicine practices been proven effective for maintaining both physical and mental wellness? 

Dr. Captain: Eastern, or Oriental, Medicine, is the original functional medicine that looks at the whole person then provides lifestyle and nutritional treatments to enhance the entire being. Eastern Medicine can treat almost any ailment, and since the mind and body are very much connected, I find it to be effective for both physical and mental health.


NA: Could you please describe your individual approach to healing, and what specifically fuels your passion for helping others? 

Dr. Captain: My tagline says it all – “The greatest medicine is to teach people how not to need it!” I am passionate about educating people on how to heal themselves and keep their entire beings healthy. My purpose is to explain to each person I come into contact with – whether face-to-face with an individual patient, in a class setting or through a video on my website – why something is broken and how to fix it. 

After all, every individual’s wellness is their own responsibility, not a doctor’s or anyone else’s. Education is key for patients to adopt a more holistic and healthy lifestyle outside the walls of Family Healing Center. 


NA: Why were you initially 
attracted to the study and 
practice of Eastern Medicine, as opposed to the more mainstream Western Medicine?

Dr. Captain: My first education was in speech and language pathology, and throughout my early career, I traveled extensively. As a result of this lifestyle, I developed unhealthy eating habits which caused both physical discomfort and emotional discontent. I turned to conventional medicine as a last resort and learned that I had uncontrolled Diabetes and high blood pressure. I had no idea what to do, but I was not going to take Western medications. 

Growing up, my family really loved doing things naturally, so I didn’t want to try antibiotics or anything like that. Instead, I ignored these issues and enrolled in medical school. Many physicians or healthcare providers go into the field because they want to heal themselves. While studying for the MCATs though, I started having migraines, and a friend who was studying Oriental Medicine at the time, suggested I try Acupuncture. 

At first, I resisted; however, doctors began giving me ultimatums and saying I needed surgery, so finally I agreed to do the “Acupuncture thing.” I went to the student clinic at what’s now called the East West College of Natural Medicine in Sarasota, and after the session, I felt better than I had in about eight years. Later, I found a professional Acupuncture physician who became my mentor, then I made a decision to pursue Oriental Medicine rather than conventional medicine. So, I did and have been practicing here in Sarasota for 15 years. 


NA: Does Family Healing 
Center provide any community-wide initiatives such as health seminars or workshops, for 

Dr. Captain: We offer complementary monthly lectures and demonstrations on a variety of topics. July’s topic was Nutrition, and in August, we are discussing Natural Methods of Stress Management. Like I mentioned earlier, this presentation will take place onAugust 26 at 6 p.m., and it is open to the public.

NA: In preparation for 
back-to-school season, do 
you perform comprehensive physical assessments or youth counseling services?

Dr. Captain: While this is not my main service, I do provide lifestyle counseling. Also, I was recently made aware that, as licensed primary care providers, Family Healing Center can complete school physicals. 


NA: Finally, does Family Healing Center offer complementary consultations or any other incentives for first-time patients? 

Dr. Captain: The initial consultation visit is always 100% free, and if I can’t personally help you, I will refer you to someone who can. I am not afraid of integration with conventional medical professionals. Integration is the future of healthcare, and we all must work for the best interests of our patients. 

In fact, that’s why I am currently enrolled in school again. Having already received multiple Master’s degrees, – one in speech pathology from UCF, another in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and yet another in Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport – I am now into my second year of pursuing a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas. I owe it to my patients to be on the cutting edge, all the time. 


Christina Captain, DOM, AP, SLP, is a nationally board-certified Acupuncture physician. She founded Family Healing Center in 2000 and has been practicing Oriental Medicine in the Sarasota area for 15 years. Family Healing Center is located at Midtown Medical Park at 1219 East Ave., S., #104, Sarasota. To schedule an appointment or free consultation, call 941-951-1119. For more information, visit


Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer is the Managing Editor of Natural Awakenings Sarasota-Manatee. She also works as a freelance writer, blogger and social media marketer, based in Southwest Florida. Her personal blog,, features practical tips for embracing a fit, nutritious and empowered lifestyle. 


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