Our Approach

Our approach to wellness stems from our extensive training and experience in the fields of Chinese medicine and functional medicine (which bridges Chinese and Western approaches) – with the added perspective of a registered nurse – to thoroughly evaluate each individual patient. Our training allows us to see the whole picture by drawing on these areas of expertise to provide customized, holistic treatment plans for our patients.

Conception Wellness Approach Lisa Shares Her Background

Western Medicine

I began my career as a registered nurse in 1992. After working in various units within the hospital setting, I took a job in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). One of the ways the PICU was unlike other units was that, as a nurse, I had only one patient to look after. I was in charge of every aspect of that patient’s nursing care and facilitated the care and treatment from other professionals, such as doctors, respiratory therapists, and social workers. I was in charge, if you will. I loved being so thoroughly involved with one patient at a time and understanding the whole picture, as opposed to spreading my care among several patients and never feeling like I was truly connected with them.

In my current practice, I seek that same complete connection with each of my patients. It is important for me to fully understand my patient’s current and past medical history. I review all of the body systems and create a custom treatment plan based on what I see. I want to know everything! I also like to connect with the rest of the “team,” such as doctors and other health professionals, with whom my patients are working. With everyone collaborating, my patients can experience what they deserve – the best of both worlds.

My years working within the Western medical system have helped shape my current practice in many positive ways. I am comfortable within system and can help guide my patients to getting the maximum benefit from it. I have seen a great deal of both suffering and healing in my nursing days. I am grateful for it. I feel connected to some of the best doctors in San Diego and know when, and to whom, to refer my patients for care when needed. I also use my nursing experience each day in my practice. I provide support, guidance, counsel, and care to my patients. I have been told, “once a nurse, always a nurse.”

Chinese Medicine

In 1994, I met an acupuncturist who, like me, had once been an ICU nurse. I saw her for treatment of chronic sinusitis, something I had been dealing with for years and for which I had exhausted Western medical treatment without success. She helped me understand that my symptoms were caused by an imbalance in my body to which I was actually contributing with my dietary choices. It was a different way to view my symptoms and my health, but it made sense to me.

I began a treatment program with her that aimed to correct the imbalance, not just alleviate the symptoms, and it worked. For the first time in my adult life, I had no sinus symptoms and never got another infection. I was hooked. I wanted to know more. I wanted to help others like me find health and healing through this ancient medicine.

In 1997, I enrolled in a master’s program studying traditional Chinese medicine. I also began working with the acupuncturist who had helped me, Loisanne Keller, OMD. I loved that Chinese medicine doesn’t isolate and treat a single system in the body, as is common in Western medicine, but views the body as a whole, with interrelated and interconnecting parts. The healing power in this approach fascinated me back then and continues to empower me today.

The healing power of the Chinese medical perspective was most evident to me in the field of women’s health and fertility. This was a specialty of Dr. Keller. I learned a great deal from her, both before and after I was licensed as an acupuncturist. I continue to study and learn from some of the leaders in our field who work with women, such as Dr. Randine Lewis, Debra Betts, and Miki Shima, OMD.

Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is another way to view the body as a whole, just through a different set of lenses than Chinese medicine. In functional medicine, modern medical tools such as lab testing are used to gather information about a patient; but the results are analyzed with a more wellness-oriented model, rather than the disease model used by standard Western doctors.

Dr. Keller, in addition to being a nurse and an acupuncturist, was also a naturopath who incorporated functional medicine into her practice. She was able to see her patients with yet another perspective and offer an even wider spectrum of treatment options to her patients. I learned as much as I could from her about functional medicine and naturopathy. In 1999, I attended a class taught by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, considered by many to be the father of functional medicine, and I began an additional course of study.

Offering functional/nutritional evaluations and treatments to my patients is an important part of the care I provide. In some ways, I see functional medicine as a bridge between my Western medical background and my Chinese medical background.

I have studied functional medicine extensively since 1999. Much of the focus of my study has been in the area of blood chemistry analysis and endocrinology.


Putting it All together… Conception Wellness.

For several years after Dr. Keller retired, I kept her name on the Clinic. It felt important to me to honor my great teacher in this way. In 2013, I approached Dr. Keller with the idea of changing the name of the clinic to reflect my evolution as a practitioner. She was very supportive of this idea and in 2013 The Keller Clinic became Conception Wellness. Dr. Keller is still very much present at Conception Wellness.

Many of her patients still come to CW for treatment, some of her favorite art hangs on the walls of the clinic and, most importantly, her love and respect for her patients and her work is still very much present in the clinic.

Conception Wellness is a very special place. I am very careful about who can work in this space. I want practitioners who love and value the work like I do and who understand the unique history and evolution of Conception Wellness. I have been so fortunate to find amazing healers and staff to work with me. When you come to Conception Wellness, you will see and feel the love. I am beyond grateful.

–Lisa Pugliese