Who We Are – Update

Essential-Acupuncture-Chicago-jewel

Essential Acupuncture Chicago approaches care and healing as a collaboration between practitioner and patient.

We work with each person to help restore health and balance using patient identified goals.  We are honored to be part of the process and are committed to thoughtful, compassionate, and respectful care for everyone. 

A licensed acupuncturist’s education is a 4 year, 3000 hour master's degree program. The program consists of eastern medical theory, western medical anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmaceuticals.   EAC is committed to ongoing educational studies.

Practioners

Photo of Essential Acupuncture Chicago co-owner Leigh Gilkey.

Leigh Gilkey, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.

Leigh began her training at the Santa Barbara School of Oriental Medicine.  After completing the first year of study she returned to the Midwest, her family, the seasons and Chicago.  Continuing her studies at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine’s Chicago campus, she apprenticed at Chicago Women’s Health Center and assisted Marie France Collin at her private practice.

She has volunteered her time doing private and community acupuncture at the Cancer Wellness Center Northbrook, community acupuncture at the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and done outreach events for teacher wellness day at Chicago Public Schools.

Leigh has completed additional training in the following areas:

  • Canonical Chinese Medicine™ with Dr. Arnaud Versluys
  • Acupuncturist Without Borders - Healing Community Trauma
  • Classical Five Element Acupuncture with Neil Gumenick
  • Dr. Tan Balance Method Core Foundations
  • Dr. Tan Balance Method Advanced Track​
  • Cosmetic Rejuvenation Acupuncture with Denise Ellinger.

Leigh believes in the magic of the body, discovering avenues of self-growth and empowerment of the individual.

Leigh is a member of ILSA Illinois Society of Acupuncturists.

Photo of Essential Acupuncture Chicago co-owner Siri Michel.

Siri Michel, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.

Siri chose helping others as her path due to her own profound experiences of being helped by acupuncture at challenging points in her life.  She believes that it is an honor and a privilege to help others with their physical and emotional health goals, challenges, and transformations. She is committed to creating a safe and respectful space where people can follow their wellness journey.

While in school, she had the privilege of assisting both Marie-France Collin and Dr. Lixin Sha in their private acupuncture practices.  This experience allowed her to shape her vision and define her skills in a hands on setting while learning from experienced practitioners.

Siri has completed additional training in the following areas:

  • Canonical Chinese Medicine™ with Dr. Arnaud Versluys
  • Auricular Causative Diagnosis with Dr. Nadia Volf: observation of the ear, its structure and markings to more precisely determine the root cause of dysfunction in the body.
  • Dr. Tan Balance Method Core Foundations
  • Master Tung's Points with Brad Whisnant
  • Cosmetic Rejuvenation Acupuncture with Denise Ellinger.

When it's warm out, you can find Siri at her local community garden.

Siri is a member of ILSA Illinois Society of Acupuncturists.

Photo of Nicole Ruffolo, Associate Acupuncturist at Essential Acupuncture Chicago.

Associate Acupuncturist, Nicole Ruffolo

L.Ac.

After recovering from a near death experience, Nicole found herself in search of a healing modality that would mend the disconnect between her mind and body. As a patient of Chinese Medicine, she discovered the healing she was searching for which led her to pursue training as a practitioner. After graduation, Nicole volunteered with Mindful Medicine Worldwide to treat individuals living outside Kathmandu, Nepal, who presented with an array of conditions such as pain, stress and anxiety, women’s health, headaches, trauma, and digestive issues.

Through Nicole’s personal and professional experience, she believes there is a true connection between how we experience life stressors and the way they manifest in the body. By addressing the root cause of these symptoms, the body will gradually rebalance itself and get to a place of harmony and equilibrium.

Nicole works closely with each person to best understand the underlying causes to their symptoms. She is committed to creating a safe space that is accessible to all walks of life, where clients feel comfortable restoring and growing.  She strives to educate her clients in self-empowerment and healing while working with them collaboratively to find a path that works best for them.