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Dr. Riley Smith, LAc, DACM, Dipl.OM

With Southern roots and an Idaho cattle ranching family, Riley does not exactly fit the stereotype of what some might think of as a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. As the son of a professional football player and collegiate coach and whose mother was the quintessential Southern California “weekend warrior” athlete, fitness and health were engrained in Riley from day one. From early on, nutrition, exercise and a focus on body-mind balance was always a pivotal aspect of his rearing.

Originally from Portland, Oregon but able to call many parts of the country “home” due to his father’s profession he returned to Southern California over 12 years ago where his family had originally laid roots back in the 1980s. At university, Riley graduated cum laude and pursued a triple major earning an Honors BS in Management, a BS in Marketing and a BA in Spanish. Along the way, he took many electives ranging from yoga to Qi Gong to practically the entire set of requirements to graduate as a pre-med student.

Upon graduation, Riley entered the corporate world and had tremendous success rising up the ranks as an account executive for a large international non-profit and as a VP of Business Development for a children’s book publisher. While boardrooms, presentations, suits and constant travel kept him active and nourished his pocketbook it did not feed his soul. After 6+ years in the rat race he contemplated his next move. He knew that his interests in nutrition, health, wellness, alternative healing, and medicine, along with the strong desire to serve and always learn and explore absolutely had to converge somehow.

Riley discovered Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego and growing up in the family that he did, he was no stranger to acupuncture and alternative healing. It was a natural fit. Five years of post-graduate study, 6 months of board exams and a few extra gray hairs later, he has never looked back.

Riley’s Philosophy

Nothing becomes out of balance within the body without effecting the system as a whole. The human body is not a compartmentalized system of individual departments working separately from one another. This applies both to anatomical systems as well as the connection between the body (physical) and mind (mental). This fundamental truth is not only part of Western medicine, but is also what fascinates me about Traditional Chinese Medicine. Besides the recognition of the body as a cohesive and cooperative unit, I am also drawn to TCM because if it’s emphasis on preventative care.

Again, we are most accustomed in this country to seeking healthcare upon the arrival of pain or disease. I believe in empowering my patients with knowledge and treatment before any imbalance arrives. This makes acupuncture and herbal medicine one of the most effective ways to stay healthy, balanced and prosperous. I have a very healthy respect for conventional medicine and believe that it has a crucial place in our society and healthcare delivery system. I am fortunate to have a wide network of Medical Doctors with whom I refer patients to and vice versa. I strongly encourage my patients to seek out Western care when appropriate.

That being said, TCM is unique compared to Western Medicine. However, when both are combined for the best interest of the patient, often truly remarkable healing can occur. This is an exciting time in our history as we continue to collaborate across modalities creating the best outcomes possible for patients. Superior patient care delivered in a fun and easy-to-understand yet professional manner is what gets me up in the morning and drives every decision that I make. Licensed over 5 years now with 2 offices and thousands of patients treated, everyday is still new.  It is the lifelong learning aspect of this profession that I love and the meaningful relationships he enjoys with his patients.


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