Made in Uptown: Chicago Healing Center

Chicago Healing Center, led by Dr. C. Leslie Smith, offers acupuncture, massage, nutritional counseling, meditation, energy work, personal coaching, and much more via an integrative approach aimed at complementing clients’ health and wellness. Uptown United chatted with Dr. Smith about how the center came to Uptown, its recent expansion, and her vision for offering care that’s both affordable and accessible to all.

C. Leslie Smith, MS, MA, MD, DABMA, received her Doctor of Medicine at UIC and holds both a Master’s in Physiology and Biophysics and a Master’s in Medical Education and Leadership. After completing medical school and four years of surgery residency, she suffered a stress injury in her arm – radial tunnel syndrome – that caused severe pain in her hand. After physical therapy failed to help, she tried acupuncture, which helped tremendously and caused her to “fall in love” with the practice.

A big vision. The Chicago Healing Center is a 4.5-year project and a culmination of a vision for an affordable, integrative care center. To better reach this goal, the clinic recently launched a new business model and expanded to an adjoining suite to offer a walk-in Community Acupuncture Clinic. Equal parts support group and healing center, the new clinic provides low cost acupuncture that’s available in the evenings and on weekends and doesn’t require an appointment, helping make acupuncture more accessible. Since integrative care is often times paid for out-of-pocket, the clinic offers discounts to those on Medicare and Medicaid and to Veterans and active duty military/reservists to help support people from all walks.

Holistic care. Dr. Smith’s ongoing goals include bringing together practitioners to serve the community and promote health, already having brought together a therapist, a geriatrician, a massage therapist, an Ayurvedic practitioner, an energy healer, and multiple other acupuncturists/Asian medicine practitioners under one roof. She is currently looking for a gynecologist, a primary care doctor, a naturopath, and additional clinicians to round out the Clinic’s roster.

Why Uptown? Dr. Smith bounced around different parts of the city before settling on the space in the Bridgeview Bank Building at Lawrence and Broadway. She liked that the building houses numerous social service agencies and mental health practitioners, putting Chicago Healing Center right in the middle of a community of people doing good in the world and working hard helping others. Plus the location offers nearby transit, ample parking, and more-affordable rent than downtown or Lincoln Park.

Serving the community. In June and July, the Chicago Healing Center plans to launch additional services, including evening and lunchtime yoga several times a week plus Tai Chi on Thursday mornings, all particularly geared toward Uptown’s social workers, therapists, and non-profit professionals – providing the neighborhood’s many caretakers with support and self-care.

Chicago Healing Center also hosts community education workshops – recently it hosted an Ayurveda specialist and plans a medical cannabis lecture on June 17th from 10-noon where patients will also be able to apply for medical marijuana. It also has plans to begin cooking classes on Wednesday evenings.

So stop in! The Community Acupuncture Clinic is open Mon. through Sat. 1:00 – 4:30pm and also Mon., Tue., and Thu. 5:00 – 8:30pm. You can also make an appointment ahead of time or just drop in. Treatments are $55 each, with a one time $10 new patient fee. Discounts available to Medicare, Medicaid, and veteran patients. Yoga and Tai Chi classes are offered at $20 per class or $150 for a 10-class pass.