Spotlight: Silvia Salinas
by Colleen M. Quinn
The old adage that “variety is the spice of life” is rather clichéd, perhaps with little meaning anymore. Although for Silvia Salinas, a practitioner of Chinese medicine in Miami Beach, Florida, variety is not just spice but the essential key to healthy living.
“I encourage people to do many different things,” Salinas says, explaining that everyone requires a variety of exercises, meditation, and healthy eating habits to live happily and healthfully.
From a very young age, Salinas was interested in helping people. It was for this reason that she began to study medicine in college. She later became interested in and pursued traditional Chinese medicine. She was attracted to the principle of Chinese medicine, not only as a way to cure ailments, but also because it taught students how to live healthfully.
She studied Chinese medicine and acupuncture in Miami and has studied Tai Chi, an internal Chinese martial art form, with several masters for more than fifteen years. She is also trained in Body Talk, a new form of healing and an “energetic medicine” as she calls it.
Describing herself as a student of life, Salinas is always learning to become better at what she does, both professionally and personally. It is this wisdom is what she wants to impart to her clients.
“Life takes you where you need to go,” she says. For Salinas, life and her own desire to help people has led her to build her own practice based on Chinese medicine and Body Talk in Miami Beach, Florida.
Most of her clients come for various aches and ailments, everything from headaches to abdominal pains to digestive pains. Her methods can also help those who suffer from stress or anxiety because, as Salinas describes it, emotional suffering can affect the body more than one would think. Some, though, go to her practice simply for a way to become more mentally and physically balanced.
“People really enjoy these treatments,” she says. “They just feel wonderful afterwards.”
When working with her clients, Salinas takes the body and mind as a whole.
“I look at the person as one unit,” she says. “I don’t separate the head from the toes. Everything needs balance.”
In examining the body as one unit instead of separate parts, Salinas finds the source or sources of a person’s problems, and sees how they affect the rest of the body.
Salinas begins with a diagnostic evaluation of the client that takes a whole-body approach. She looks at the eyes, the condition of the skin, and also the tongue including what it looks like and even how the person speaks. This evaluation is based in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture practices, as external observations may reveal what is happening inside the body. Furthermore, she discusses with the client what their lifestyle is like, in terms of diet, exercise, sleep, and stress. From the information gathered during evaluation, Salinas then determines what kind of treatment is needed.
Salinas’ training is rooted in Chinese medicine, which uses herbs, acupuncture, and massage to treat a range of health problems. This medicinal practice is based on the concept of Chi, which is the body’s life energy that follows pathways throughout the body. In a healthy body, Chi flows freely; but if there is a physical obstacle in the body or a blockage of energy the flow is inhibited and the Chi may stagnate. According to Salinas, symptoms of stagnate Chi often involve physical pain. It is at this point that Salinas utilizes different methods of Chinese medicine to stimulate the Chi’s flow.
This can be done in a number of ways. One technique Salinas uses is acupuncture, which is an increasingly popular treatment for many types of physical pain. Fine needles are inserted into the skin at specific acupuncture points to arouse the flow of Chi. The practitioner often uses a technique called cupping, where small cups are used to create a vacuum next to the skin. Moxa, or mugwort, is also useful to relieve pain. Bunched together in a cigar-shaped bundle, the herb is burnt and the heat placed near the skin to stimulate Chi movement. In addition, Shiatsu massage, characterized by light touch, is helpful to various physical problems.
Moreover, Salinas uses Body Talk to treat her clients. “It’s asking questions of the innate wisdom of the body,” Salinas says in describing the core concept of the technique. The body-mind connection is often taken for granted, but Body Talk uses the brain’s knowledge of its body to become healthier. Salinas considers this form of healing very safe because it is non-invasive.
Once she has determined through the evaluation what parts of the body need attention, Salinas may exercise the Body Talk technique to help the person’s body to essentially heal itself. The method is surprisingly simple: Salinas lightly taps the part of the body that is not healthy, then taps the top of the head. This treatment allows the brain to focus on whatever physical problem is present.
“I look at what [parts of the body] are not linked,” Salinas says. “Then the body takes care of itself.”
Besides the services that she offers, Salinas stresses the importance of healthy living to maximize the benefits of these treatments. During the evaluation process, she examines how the client lives: a healthy diet, the amount and quality of exercise and sleep, and how much stress they have in their lives.
Using this information, Salinas also helps clients design a blueprint for a healthier way of life. “I always ask, what is the plan to stay healthy?” She adds that such planning helps prevent future problems. It’s essential to observe daily practices that promote health; she specifically recommends exercise and meditation.
As a longtime student and teacher of Tai Chi, Salinas knows firsthand the benefits of activities that enhance both the body and mind. Tai Chi not only builds a strong, healthy body, but also incorporates meditation which Salinas says is the best part.
“The mind is most important,” she says. While she personally teaches and advocates Tai Chi, she recommends other physical activities that are simultaneously good for the mind and body, like yoga or other martial arts.
Whatever her clients come to her for, Salinas’ goal is to make sure they leave her with the tools necessary for a fuller, more wholesome life. She makes sure that each person is equipped with a plan to stay healthy, whether it’s through meditation, exercise, or a return to her for an occasional treatment.
“You need to have a support system for yourself,” Salinas says. “Everyone has to have the tools to live.”
Silvia may be contacted at:
333 W 41 Street, Suite 414
Miami Beach, FL 33140
About Colleen Quinn
Colleen Quinn graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication. A writer for most of her life, she has been writing for Whisperingtree.net for over two years. In that time, she’s had the opportunity to meet with many practitioners and masters of the healing arts. Using her years of customer service experience and time as an intern reporter, Colleen provides a unique means of expression for each practitioner she meets. She believes that honest interest and open ears are paramount for learning and understanding the world around us. Through her writing, Colleen offers readers a valuable insight into the work of those who are doing so much to help others.