Meet Acupuncturist Ashley Flores of Four Flowers Wellness

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Flores.

Ashley, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I began my exploration of Eastern Medicine as a way of dealing with my own health challenges. In my late teens and early twenties, I started to struggle with confusing health symptoms: fatigue, depression, horrible menstrual cramps, irregular period, digestive trouble and acne. I went from doctor to doctor, struggling to find any answers, let alone help in addressing my symptoms.

I finally got a diagnosis at age 23: PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), a hormonal imbalance that affects menstruation and fertility but also causes an array of other symptoms. I was told that I would never conceive a child naturally, that I’d be on medication for the rest of my life, and that there was little that could be done to manage my symptoms. I also learned that PCOS increases chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. I was devastated.

I started to seek out different kinds of healthcare. I went to an acupuncturist and a naturopath. I started to read everything I could and pored over books about hormones, herbs, nutrition, and Chinese medicine. I started to make changes and experience changes in my body, gradually gaining energy and vitality and shedding my symptoms one by one.

This journey had such an enormous impact on my life that I wanted to help others find the same transformation that I had, and enrolled in acupuncture school. In 2010, I graduated from acupuncture school, after 4 intense years of learning everything I could about acupuncture, herbal medicine, bodywork, and natural medicine.

That same year, my husband and I decided it was time to start a family. I knew that this might be a challenge for us, but I also knew that I now had the tools and knowledge to help me through this. I went back to acupuncture, took herbal formulas, and did everything I could to support my fertility, and it worked! We were able to conceive without medical intervention. We now have 2 beautiful children and are expecting a third this spring.

I now have the incredible pleasure of helping other women in their journey’s with infertility, menstrual difficulties, and hormonal imbalances.

Has it been a smooth road?
I struggled a lot with my own health issues for many years, but in a way, I’m thankful that I passed through those challenges because I learned so much along the way. I would never have discovered a passion for Eastern medicine if it weren’t for my own experiences as a patient.

The study and practice of Eastern medicine have always felt like a very natural progression in my life, and so while school was absolutely a challenge, learning and treating patients has always been more fun than work. The entrepreneurship aspect of owning a business came to me a little less naturally but is now just part of the journey. Being a business owner continuously pushes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to learn something new, and I’m thankful for that.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I started Four Flowers Wellness right out of acupuncture school in January of 2011. My passion is providing gentle, effective, holistic care with a specialization in women’s health, fertility, and pregnancy. I started studying Eastern medicine in 2006, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, and shiatsu massage, and I haven’t stopped studying since!

Although I started my studies with the intention of only studying acupuncture, I’ve come to really value how various tools in Eastern medicine fit together as an intricate whole. Acupuncture by itself is very powerful, but acupuncture in the context of the whole of Eastern medicine is truly transformative. I’ve always been drawn towards the way the Japanese have perfected the various aspects of Eastern medicine, and use these particularly gentle and precise methods in my treatments.

The acupuncture and shiatsu styles that I practice are strongly influenced by the Japanese emphasis on feeling the changes in the client’s body with our hands and using that sensation to guide the flow of treatment. This style makes for such a profound experience for clients, because they can also feel immediate shifts in their own bodies and strengthens the bond between the person giving and the person receiving the treatment.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Right now is an exciting time to be in the health and wellness field in Chicago.

Opportunity and interest in this field have blossomed over the last 10 years and are still growing. Acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, and complementary health overall have, in just a few years, gone from fringe healthcare practices to common and accepted modalities.

I think we will continue to see our field grow for a long time to come as more people become aware of how useful Eastern medicine is and as insurance coverage continues to grow.

From Voyage Chicago

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"Amazing. Both acupuncturists I've seen here are wonderful, and I'm so impressed by the results. It's such a lovely atmosphere and comfortable experience!"​​​​​​​​​
Thanks, Sandy!
When I was first diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) in my early 20s, I was terrified about what it would mean for my future health and fertility. The doctor's advice at that time was to simply take the pill and consider IVF when I decided to conceive. ​​​​​​​​​
As someone who felt horrible on the pill and wanted to take a proactive approach, this advice didn't sit very well with me. I dove into the one (!) book I could find at the time, started acupuncture, visited a number of holistic health providers, and gathered all the information I could find. I was determined to understand the reasons behind my condition and find ways to address its root cause. I wished for a comprehensive resource that could guide me and help me tailor a plan that suited my needs.

When I established Four Flowers Wellness, I envisioned it to be the resource I had sought but couldn't find. Our mission is to help women solve their health and fertility challenges, not by handing them a magic pill (it doesn't exist), but by collaborating to find the best solutions for each individual and together crafting a clear plan to turn their dreams into reality. 

Over the past 20 years, the understanding of PCOS and women's health issues has grown significantly, offering a wealth of knowledge. However, with this abundance, there is also a flood of misinformation. At Four Flowers Wellness, we spend our days sifting through this vast sea of information so that our clients don't have to.

What has been the most significant obstacle you've faced while trying to solve your health challenges?
Trying to find a solution to your cranky injury, chronic pain, or stubborn tension?​​​​​​​​​
The answer could be a treatment using the humble soup spoon, known as Guasha! Guasha is a unique and effective form of soft tissue mobilization using simple, smooth tools such as these ceramic soup spoons. This therapy helps to transform your soft tissue injury back into healthy functioning tissue.

You may have never heard of Guasha before, but like many traditional Asian healing therapies, it has been rebranded in the West as "Graston" or "Astym" which are commonly used by professional sports teams and physical therapists.

Guasha is clinically proven to treat the following (and more!):

- Neck, shoulder, knee, and lower back pain
- Tendonitis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Scar tissue
- Women’s health (post-Cesarean scarring)
“It’s like magic!”​​​​​​​​​
✨ This is one of my favorite things to hear from clients because even after years of practicing acupuncture, it really does still feel like magic! 

✨ Acupuncture is generally considered a cumulative practice in that we see the greatest results over time with regular treatments, but we can also often feel changes in the body immediately with even just a single needle. 

✨ These immediate changes with acupuncture treatment are most often noticeable when treating pain because the discomfort starts to change as soon as we place the needle. 
For more chronic issues, such as painful menstruation or infertility, we rely on tender areas that reflect the underlying imbalances. For example, many women with painful menstruation have a tight area below and just to the left of the belly button which corresponds to poor blood flow in the uterus and feels sore or painful with pressure. We will check in on this area throughout the acupuncture treatment to make sure that our points are changing the uncomfortable sensations in that area. 

✨ Often, these reflection areas change quite dramatically with treatment. When an area that was painful just a few minutes ago becomes perfectly comfortable just from placing a couple of needles, "It feels like magic!" ✨
Small joys, like flowers, are important reminders to stop, breathe, and find beauty in the moment. ​​​​​​​​​
What small joys can you find right now, in this moment?
8 Evidence-Based Ways That Acupuncture Improves Fertility. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So you know what acupuncture is. Your friends are all telling you to try it to help you get pregnant. Maybe you’re getting frustrated with your fertility journey – why is it taking so long? – or maybe you’re just getting started but want to know you’re doing everything you can to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. But you’re wondering - How will getting treated with tiny needles improve your fertility? Here are 8 ways acupuncture can help you get pregnant:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1. Hormone Regulation 〰️ Acupuncture regulates hormones that play a role in the menstrual cycle and ovulation, such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, and progesterone.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
2. Healthy Blood Flow 〰️ Acupuncture can significantly increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, improving egg quality and the ability of a fertilized egg to implant. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3. Stress Reduction 〰️ Acupuncture regulates the nervous system to improve stress resiliency, allowing you to bounce back from stress more easily and reducing the impact of stress on your hormones.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
4. Improved Ovarian Function 〰️ Acupuncture can improve ovarian function and promote regular ovulation, which increases your chances of conceiving.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
5. Sperm Counts and Quality 〰️ Acupuncture improves both the number and quality of sperm in as little as 4 weeks.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
6. Reduced Inflammation 〰️ Acupuncture reduces overall inflammation in the body and balances immune factors to promote conception and implantation.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
7. Egg Quality 〰️ Acupuncture helps eggs have enough energy (mitochondria) and internal organization (chromosomal integrity) to successfully fertilize and implant.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
8. IVF Success 〰️ Acupuncture can lead to an improved number and quality of eggs and may improve IVF success rates by up to 65%.

Your Initial Consultation is Free.

Come in and meet us in person. Learn more about our approach and what we do. The free consultation is an opportunity to review your health history and goals and see if you’re comfortable with our philosophy and recommendations.

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