We had the good fortune of connecting with Geoffrey Helms and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Geoffrey, how does your business help the community?
As an acupuncturist, my job is to help people. Integrative health systems recognize that our physical, mental and emotional health is inter-connected. I observe these
connections and use acupuncture to help someone feel better. Using different body
systems, like the nervous or circulatory systems, I can ease pain, improve function
and balance emotions.
This holistic approach has never been more necessary than it has this past year. COVID, the stay-at-home order and especially the shutdown of medical offices (as they shifted towards COVID), really brought the contribution of my profession into focus for me.
Initially I shut down for a couple days to reevaluate how I could best service my
patients. Calls rapidly started coming in. People were hurting and overwhelmed. Unless
they were bleeding out, the best they could get was a tele-doc call and a bottle of pain
I was nervous to risk exposing my family to COVID but I couldn’t handle the thought of
not helping my people.
I stayed open. Strapped tight with a mask, dripping in sanitizer, and cleaning like a
madman, but open. My goal was to be the first contact point for my patients and to keep
them as mentally and physically healthy as possible. I wanted to protect my patients
and I know they were happy I was open and there for them.
Sometimes the best way to help your community is to stand up and show up. People
respond in kind when they see someone they trust, who is part of their community,
helping spread strength and compassion.
What should our readers know about your business?
My business, Performance Edge, is made of two parts. The first part is the clinic. We specialize in pain, injury, pre and post-operative care, movement and orthopedic issues. If you are in pain, you like to move and/or you can’t move like you want, we can be a big help.
I handle everything from smaller comfort issues like soreness from repetitive motion to issues that can overlap with surgical needs like partial ligament or tendon tears, a damaged meniscus, or other mechanical defects. If you do need to get surgery, I can help you heal quicker with less pain and resume movement and training faster. I often work hand-in-hand with a patient’s coach or care team.
I am a pain and performance issues specialist but it’s my work with professional/ pre-professional athletes and entertainers
is where I shine and what sets my business apart from all but a small sliver of colleagues and contemporaries.
My work has taken me into all means of productions and events. I’ve worked on athletes and artists in small black box theaters, massive arenas, televised competitions, dressing rooms, green rooms, behind camera, on camera, pre-show, post-show, backstage, side stage, even UNDER the stage during live performances – anywhere. That last one was
difficult and her sequins were murder on my elbows, but I got the job done! No matter the time frame, 5 minutes or an hour, I have the skills, techniques, tricks, and therapies that will help the performer or athlete give their best.
The optimal situation is to have me integrated and on-site in advance. Athletic teams tend to more readily consider that an athlete may become physically strained or injured during their work and need care. The entertainment industry, however, tends to give less focus in this area. Often artists can be left on their own to try and manage their care and there can be a lack of support from productions. I grew up in a family of performing artists and I feel a special calling to help these creators.
Few things are worse for a production than when a principle player or actor gets sidelined due to a small issue that was ignored and allowed to grow into something damaging. It ends up costing all involved more if an actor is injured and can’t work, than if a production takes preventative measures before an issue occurs.
In situations where I am embedded inside a production early in the process, word spreads and my services often expand to other production staff as well; the musicians, techs, creative department, administration, grips, and other fundamental pieces of a large working team. I’ve learned from experience to prepare for more knocks on my
door as production goes forward.
The sphere I work in is not just physical. Headlines of actors getting injured appear all the time as physically demanding roles are more the norm these days. Often ignored are the extreme pressures and mental challenges that are placed upon the performer. My experience and skill set gives me the ability to support the artist, especially if they are struggling with anxiety or depression. Helping the artist regroup and refocus improves their work (not to mention their life) all without the use of any medication. There are times when the artist wants to play upon some difficult emotions to enhance their performance and I can also help shift them back to baseline when needed.
The process of evolving into this was not easy, there was no precedent. The medical side alone was daunting and much of that came from experience and learning on the job . The harder part was learning how to operate seamlessly inside a working entertainment or athletic environment.
Every show or production has their own internal culture that needs navigating and by understanding that culture I can notice and seize opportunities to elevate the show, athlete, or artist. I help keep people healthy, focused, and feeling their best to deliver a great performance without slowing down or disrupting the needs of other departments.
I’m trying to change an industry and protect the creators and producers inside of it. My service embedded in a working production should be standard practice and, given the chance, any production or team notices just how fundamental my contribution is to keep the extraordinary talent they invest in able to produce extraordinary results.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I gotta represent my 805 right here.
Ventura is a beach city about an hour north of LA and that is where I would take a visiting friend. We would start early and soak up some good surf at Faria or Emmawood Beach to work up a healthy appetite so that we can roll into Pete’s Breakfast House (2055, E Main St, Ventura, CA 93001) without any guilt.
A long, lazy breakfast and then it’s time to put away the boards and take a scenic drive up the 33 to a farmer’s market in Ojai. Snacks are needed as some hiking and rock climbing is next on the agenda. On the way to climbing you need to make a stop at Beacon Coffee (211 W Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023) and get whatever caffeinated pleasure is desired. They have a spot in Ventura too should you need a boost before any waves.
Hike, Climb and enjoy the view. Off to Boccali’s (3277 E Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023) for a late lunch; absolutely do not skip the strawberry shortcake…but one is enough to share. The day has been busy so it’s time to ease into a mellow afternoon.
Enjoying the company of a friend is always better with a burrito so picking one or two up on the way to one of Ventura’s many breweries is a solid plan. El Tapatio Ventura (4705 Telephone Rd, Ventura, CA 93003) is a little hole in the wall which always induces a happy belly. Cash only so you know it’s going to be good. MadeWest Brewing Company (1744 Donlon St, Ventura, CA 93003) has a killer view of the sunset from the patio — no better way to celebrate the end of another day. If you need a sweet treat after your brew be sure to put in an order with 805 Pies (https://805pies.net/order) earlier in the day!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
All of my patients over the years. It’s through my experiences with them that I know what I am doing now. My mentor Dr. Anna Lee who taught me the ropes and kept me to task. She still works small miracles on the daily.
To the researchers, scientists and knowledge warriors who are pushing my field forward, helping us understand and integrate into the modern era.
Matt Callison, L.Ac for his brilliant book on Sports Medicine Acupuncture which has helped me and my patients get it right.
To organizations and groups like Evidence Based Acupuncture (Evidencebasedacupuncture.org) trying to get out the solid, data driven info out about what we do.