When I was a small child, I wanted to be a doctor. I was only aware of western medicine, and when I did hear of other medicines, I was part of a culture that didn’t know how to value them. Throughout college and majoring in biochemistry, I knew I wanted to learn about a wide range of medicine, but I didn't know what that meant yet.
By age twenty-three I was overwhelmed with stress, depression, fatigue, and pain. For the next three years, I was in chronic pain, though I managed to continue working full time in a laboratory job. On weekends one thing I remember that felt the best was laying on the floor, because it felt most restful, close to the earth. I received lots of treatments including acupuncture. Some helped, some didn’t, and some soothed me but didn’t really make me better. Nothing really changed for me until I quit my job and got good sleep for a few months while traveling in South America. The pain released, and my body felt stronger again. What I learned from this experience is that some people don't get better no matter how much help they get, but that doesn't mean they'll never get better. It does mean their solution might be outside my office, and the best thing I can do is be compassionately present with them.
I wanted to find the right medicine to use to help people like me, the walking wounded who often have no solutions from their primary care doctor or trying to talk things out makes things feel worse (that was me too, I was really in a bind). When I finally decided to apply to medical school, I looked at a lot of options and oriental medicine impressed me as the way to help people heal at the root cause of emotions and body, inseparably.
A major eye-opening experience during my Chinese medicine training was when I took a specific Chinese herbal formula for emotional healing and my mind began to relax into new realizations about myself, for the first time in my life! In the following months, I realized that even though I wasn’t suffering a drug or substance addiction, I was suffering addiction to repetitive, self-injuring, negative thoughts.
I can help with pain. We don’t need to live with the depression that comes from chronic pain. Oriental medicine is a holistic system that gives “more bang for your buck” (actual words spoken by a client recently), helping with internal issues, chronic issues, and body pain. Something radical about me is that I believe that the word acupuncturist is limiting. As an analogy, do you call your gynecologist a pap-smearist? I practice a comprehensive and whole medical system.
I love doing practical and beautiful crafts, like knitting and sewing. I also love understanding systems and listening to people—those two things are a major fun bonus in Chinese medicine because this system of medicine is so vast and deep. It functions differently in every individual.
You can get better and you don't have to be stuck in pain. It doesn't have to hurt to feel better.
I earned the degrees Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine after earning my Master degree at the same school.