From Dream to Reality: the origins of the little clinic next to Aspen Medical Center

When Dr. Andrew Ropp, co-founder and Medical Director of Aspen Medical Center, tells his patients that they can get acupuncture and massage at a little clinic next door, some are still surprised. Aspen Wellness opened a year after Aspen Medical Center and is one of Santa Fe’s most affordable places for these complementary and alternative medical treatments.

Offering both Eastern and Western approaches to health care had been a goal of Dr. Ropp’s since his early days of training in New York over 20 years ago. As a student, he founded the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Club at his medical school. He organized speakers on a whole host of topics such as Nutrition, Homeopathy, and his personal favorite, the topic of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. After graduation and his medical residency in Family Medicine, he worked at the Hopi Health Care Center(HHCC) in Arizona. During his three years there, he became licensed in acupuncture and utilized his skills in the HHCC’s pain clinic for several hours per week in addition to his regular duties at the clinic. He saw first hand how powerful acupuncture could be to help people manage pain and how much people appreciated having a non-pharmaceutical option for pain relief.

Since moving to Santa Fe with his family in 2006, Dr. Ropp has concentrated his career on family medicine and operating Aspen Medical Center for primary and urgent care. But his dream of a clinic that provided the option of acupuncture to patients was realized with the help of his wife, Rachel Ropp, Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM).

Rachel had always been attracted to Asian cultures. Having grown up in an Asian suburb of Los Angeles, she was inspired to study Chinese, volunteer, and travel in Asia during her college years. Many years later, after seeing her husband study for his acupuncture certification, she chose to come to Santa Fe and attend Southwest Acupuncture College and gain her Masters in Oriental Medicine. After running a community acupuncture clinic in Albuquerque for 4 years, she decided to join her husband at Aspen Medical Center, opening Aspen Wellness next door to his clinic.

Chinese Medicine has been practiced for over 3000 years and consists primarily of herbal medicine and acupuncture. In general, acupuncture is the practice of placing very thin, painless needles at various locations in the skin with the purpose of balancing the body’s energy which has been shown to ease pain. Acupuncture can be used for pain anywhere in the body and also for stress, digestive problems, allergies, insomnia, general well-being, and even for strengthening the immune system. At Aspen Wellness, Chinese herbal remedies are prescribed for common conditions including stress, anxiety, insomnia, hormonal issues, and even the common cold. Nutritional and lifestyle advice from the Chinese medical perspective is available. Patients at Aspen Wellness appreciate having non-pharmaceutical options to treat their health issues. Aspen Wellness also offers massage by Licensed Massage therapist, Stephanie Salazar.

The goal of Aspen Wellness has always been to offer acupuncture for an affordable price. Pre-pandemic, that meant seeing multiple patients at a time in a common space. These days, each patient is seen in a private space with numerous safeguards to keep everyone safe. Despite the changes, the cost remains low at just $30 per treatment regardless of how many issues are being addressed. We are currently providing acupuncture for the lowest price in Santa Fe.

Aspen Wellness offers appointments Monday – Friday and can make accommodations for people who need to be seen after work hours or on the weekend. Call to schedule an acupuncture treatment with Dr. Rachel Ropp if you have back pain, neck pain, knee or any joint pain, headaches, digestive issues, allergies, stress, anxiety, insomnia, or even if you are just curious to try it and see what acupuncture can do for you. For more information, go to www.aspenwellness.care or call 505-466-5887.