Meet our Practitioners!
Updated: Apr 14, 2019
For those of you out there who have visited us at our new location in Frankfort, Michigan, THANK YOU! It has been an amazing experience, for all of us here at Freshwater Wellness, to be able to come together, collaborate and offer the best darn wellness services we can!
That said, we decided it might be a good idea to introduce our dream team in a series of blog posts, so you all can familiarize yourselves with who we are, what we do, and maybe even feel free to say hello if you catch us walking down main street.
First up...Meet Abigail Ellsworth, Owner of Sleeping Bear Natural Health, Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist. Let's hear from Dr. Abigail:
After spending 3 years in solo practice here in Frankfort, and collaboratively in TC, I am excited be a part of this amazing group of Women in Wellness! We are really looking to create an environment in which the sum is greater than the parts, and I think we are on that path with Freshwater Wellness.
MY PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY
My professional path is a bit of a curvy one, in which I spent a lot of years (likely too many) in school, but connected enough that I can bring a diverse set of expertise to my patient care. I started as an Engineering major at University of Wisconsin-Madison, but realized that I wanted to be spending more time outside, and less time at a computer. So, I switched my major to Zoology, expecting to head to Vet school after undergrad. Well, a semester in Australia and about a thousand encounters with wildlife later, I decided to pursue animal behavior research and jetted up to Alaska for what was supposed to be a three month internship at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
While in Seward, AK, I had the opportunity to work on multiple projects focusing on reproductive behavior, survivorship and population dynamics of endangered and threatened animals (e.g. Steller Sea Lions, Steller Eiders, Harbor Seals, Long tailed ducks). Eventually, I landed in a graduate program in Marine Biology at University of Alaska-Fairbanks, in which my research focus was reproductive endocrinology and behavior of Spectacled Eiders. So, that three month internship turned into 5.5 years, lots of hiking and camping, and a Masters Degree!
For those of you who have been to Alaska, or for those who binge watch all the reality shows based in Alaska, you may be familiar with the stark transitions in daylight hours throughout the year, as well as the remoteness of the state in general. Well, these two things led me to my next career path, Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture. The truth is, if you are out hiking or doing fieldwork, or really just in a town that is not Anchorage, Juneau or Fairbanks, you are in a medically underserved area. That said, you have to get a little creative with how you are going to manage health complaints. Long story short, if you can't get to a hospital, what are your options.
This is what happened to me. Before I defended my thesis, I threw my back out in a big way...like finishing the powerpoint slides while I was lying on my back "big way." Fortunately, I found a chiropractor and acupuncturist, and they fixed me up. I started researching alternative health programs, and found National University of Natural Medicine, in Portland, OR, which had both a Naturopathic doctorate program and Chinese Medicine program, and away I went.
While in Portland, I had the opportunity to work under the guidance of MDs, NDs, DOs, DCs and acupuncturists in the areas of Primary Care, Women's Health, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Neurology and more. Using the experiences I gained through academic and clinical training at NUNM as well as those I had from my time in Alaska, I found myself gravitating towards clinical training in optimizing fertility and hormones, sleep disorders, autoimmune conditions (e.g. RA, lupus, etc), mood disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression, psychosis, bipolar), and neurological conditions (e.g. neuropathy, pain disorders, headaches, MS, movement disorders).
Now, I work with patients dealing with these conditions and more, primarily offering acupuncture, nutrition/diet, lifestyle, supplement, homeopathic and herbal advice to help folks achieve their healthcare goals. On a side note, I love working with other practitioners, at Freshwater Wellness but also at other facilities in the area. This means I DO work with MDs and DOs; I DO make referrals when appropriate; I DO monitor therapies for potential herb-drug-nutrient interactions; and I DO try to keep other members of your healthcare team up to speed on what we are doing.
MY PERSONAL JOURNEY
I grew up in the Lansing area, and spent my summers on Crystal Lake for as long as I can remember. I learned how to play sports here, had my first, second, third, fourth and fifth jobs here (name a restaurant, I probably served there) and met my fiance here. So, even during my years away in Alaska, Oregon and Wisconsin, I always suspected that I would land here, and now I have.
A little more about me:
I am a biker, hiker, paddleboarder, skier rollerblader and runner. Anything I can do outside, I'm on it.
I have two dogs, a schnoodle (Franklin...you can hit him up on instagram @frankfortfranklin :) ) and a pit-boxer-lab mix (Judy...she's too young for social media), but would adopt just about every dog out there if I could.
I'm a "foodie." My partner is a chef, so it kind of comes with the territory. That said, I also believe in Food First medicine, so I try to combine all things food to make it work for my patients.
I love a good Hallmark/Lifetime movie...I am not ashamed.
I love this area and community and am committed to giving back wherever and however I can.
I believe in collaborative care, and that includes active participation from the patient, My goal is to empower folks to take charge of their health. In other words, I'm a team player and we are in this together!
I hope this post gives you a better picture of who I am. If not, then feel free to check out my bios:
Thanks for reading and hope to see you around the office!!
Abigail Ellsworth, ND, RAc