Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week! We’re back with a new CNSM Meet a Mom spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law. We are excited to introduce you to Lijana Shestopal, a Lake Forest trilingual mom and owner of Sports Acupuncturist in Northbrook.
Lijana has always been into healthy living with a holistic approach as long as she can remember. And suffice it to say she’s really done the work! After getting her Bachelor’s in Business, Lijana went back to Chinese Medicine school for 3 years, completed her Doctorate in another two years and then decided to specialize in sports medicine, which was an additional year of intensive study. What’s more, she’s constantly keeping up with the latest in Chinese medicine. “I am the biggest book nerd. At any one time there are about 5 books on every table/desk in the house… Most of them are health/Chinese Medicine related…” Welcome, Lijana!
Hi Lijana! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?
My name is Lijana Shestopal and less than a year ago my family and I moved to Lake Forest. Originally I am from Lithuania and came to US when I was 14 years old. Most of my teenage years were spent in Buffalo Grove (Go Bisons!). I started a family in Glenview and now we are in Lake Forest so our fur babies can have more space to run around!
And your family?
I have one daughter, Livya. Even though we only have one child, her personality and energy levels keep us busy! She loves to draw, swim, create videos, and is hell bent on getting her black belt soon!
What are one or two fun facts to know about you?
I am the biggest book nerd. At any one time there are about 5 books on every table/desk in the house that I am reading at the moment. Most of my Amazon purchases are book-related (and there are quite a few of them). Most of them are health/Chinese Medicine related, with a few psychological thrillers for those Sunday afternoon reads 🙂
The second fun fact is that I am trilingual. In Lithuania, in second grade we had to choose a second language, which for me was English, in 5th grade we had to choose a third language, I chose Russian, and of course in Lithuania, the native language was Lithuanian.
What are your favorite North Shore places, spaces and eats to frequent?
Ever since moving to Lake Forest, walking to the beach daily is a must. As far as restaurants go, we love Guildhall in Glencoe and Le Colonial in Lake Forest. We are quiet homebodies so if we are not off traveling somewhere, we love being home.
What gets you through a tough day?
I sure love a good coffee. Spending time by myself always recharges me, whether it is taking a walk or reading a good book.
Please introduce your endeavor and tell us about your practice, Sports Acupuncturist!
My practice Sports Acupuncturist is located in Northbrook and I specialize in treating pain conditions such as back pain, neck pain, shoulder and elbow pain, etc. I also have quite a few athletes come through to ensure that their muscles are working optimally and to reduce chances of injury. One common misconception is that you should only get acupuncture if you are in pain. Everyone should be getting acupuncture regularly because when muscles are tense, they are locked and loaded for injury. In my clinic I don’t just treat pain conditions, I also treat digestive issues, anxiety, stress, etc. If one is not sleeping, they won’t be healing properly. So while a patient might come in with a pain condition, we will be addressing more than that.
How did you get involved in the field of acupuncture?
I have always been into healthy living, holistic approach to health. When deciding which field I wanted to get into (after a slight detour into business world), I knew it had to be medicine. I was not a fan of our current medical model “pill for every ill” with many side effects, so once I found Chinese Medicine and saw the kind of results that it produced, there was no going back.
After getting my Bachelor’s in Business, I went back to Chinese Medicine school for 3 years, completed my Doctorate in another 2 years and then decided to specialize in sports medicine, which was an additional year of intensive study. Sports Medicine Acupuncture is a newer field focusing not only on reducing pain but also ensuring that muscles are functioning well to prevent any future injury. There are just over 150 Sports Medicine Acupuncturists worldwide that have finished this program.
What can prospective clients expect when they visit your practice for the first time?
The reason why I got into this medicine is because I truly love it, hence why I do not treat just the symptoms. I get to the root cause of the issue. If one comes with an elbow pain, we will get into the nitty gritty of what you are eating, how you are sleeping and so on. Your body is not a machine and everything is connected. Food and sleep will affect your inflammation levels, how well you heal and your risk of injury, so in my clinic we address a whole person not just individual pains.
Why do you think the practice of acupuncture is really picking up speed in this country?
I think the acupuncture field is expanding for a reason. It is an amazing, effective medicine that has no side effects but produces amazing results. Because this medicine is not native to our country, it is quite misunderstood in the West. It is not “energy medicine” as a lot of people view it. It is a physical medicine, in which we use needles and/or herbs to make changes in the body’s physiology. Chinese Medicine is all about improving blood circulation and releasing your own natural opioids, which is what reduces/eliminates pain and improves organ function. If organs and muscles get enough oxygen and nutrients through blood supply, the tissue is healthy and heals.
How does acupuncture work as a preventative modality?
While some people already know that acupuncture is not just for pain, most do not realize that it is an amazing preventative medicine. It is called the Emperor’s medicine for a reason. Back in the day, Chinese Emperor’s used this medicine to not get sick and to live longer. At this point, people go to an acupuncturist if they have pain but once they start using it as a preventative tool as well, our health will take a turn for the better.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about yourself or Sports Acupuncturist?
A lot of people always ask, do needles hurt? My answer is, if my 9 year old can do it, you can do it. The needles are hair thin and while you will feel some as they are going in, others you will not feel at all. Small price to pay for optimal health!
How do we get in touch with you to book and learn more?
We are located at 1535 Lake Cook Rd, Suite 405 in Northbrook. Visit our website www.sportsacupuncturist.com for more information on services. Give us a call at 847-238-2066 or you can email me at [email protected]. Follow on Instagram and Facebook.
About our Meet of Mom Sponsor
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm (wills and trusts). Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here! Contact Mary directly here: [email protected].