Practice type: Private
Specialties: Addiction, allergies, general wellness, sexual conditions, women’s health
Styles: Auricular (ear) acupuncture, NADA, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Why did you become an acupuncturist?
I chose to study acupuncture during my third year of naturopathic medicine training, when I realized that acupuncture addresses physical and emotional discomfort in efficient, effective and sustainable ways that are often unmatched in Western medicine. In particular, I was drawn to how Traditional Chinese Medicine views the body and mind holistically, gracefully integrating the treatment of mind, body, and spirit into every acupuncture session. Acupuncture is also appealing because it is accessible to and effective for people with conditions that are not well served by Western medicine, such as sexual issues or addictive and compulsive behaviors. My interest in these areas predates my acupuncture training by over a decade. I’ve worked with harm-reduction organizations, focusing on safer sexual practices and needle exchange programs. So finding an effective, empowering, and sustainable avenue of care made the decision to become an acupuncturist an easy one.
What distinguishes you from other acupuncturists?
I work in an integrative medicine setting. My clinic and practice are multidisciplinary: MDs, NDs, and acupuncturists working side by side and often collaborating to treat patients. So I live with one foot in the Western medicine world and one in the Traditional Chinese Medicine world. This gives me experience in explaining acupuncture, which is generally delivered in a language of metaphor that defies easy translation into Western terms, to people who have no previous experience with it. It also gives me good insight into how acupuncture fits into the context of all the other types of healthcare a patient may be receiving. This allows my patients and I to have an informed discussion about what to expect from acupuncture, covering what acupuncture can and cannot provide in comparison with other forms of medicine and self-care.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
My favorite part of my job is watching people become more self-sufficient and confident in their wellbeing and recovery. I love talking with people after their first, second, or third acupuncture session when they describe the changes they noticed after their last treatment, even if they struggle to articulate what exactly those changes were. It’s not a report of improvement that I expect or look forward to, but the awareness, hope, and empowerment that arise when people notice a change in how they feel. It’s an old joke that good healthcare providers tend to put themselves out of business, but I appreciate the sentiment behind it. I genuinely enjoy the moment when a patient feels empowered to set their own schedule for follow up, confident they’ll know when their body tells them they need to return
What is the biggest misconception you hear about acupuncture?
The biggest misconception I hear is that acupuncture needles are magic—that the needles do the work that makes a person feel better. The needles are tools that allow the body to unstick and refocus its energy in more productive ways. The needles are tools that help unlock unrealized healing potential within the body. The needles facilitate the body’s innate ability to heal. I agree with my patients when they say that acupuncture feels like magic, because sometimes I feel that way too after my own acupuncture sessions. But I take care to explain that despite that feeling we can get from the needles, the magic of good health and healing isn’t in the needle itself. Rather, it’s in the body, mind, and spirit. The needles are efficient tools to access our own healing potential and allow the body to do what it is designed to do—sustain life and wellbeing.
How do you stay healthy in your own life?
Maintaining a work-recreation balance keeps me happy and healthy. My work is balanced between seeing patients, the majority of what I do time-wise, and teaching addictions and disorders classes as adjunct faculty for Bastyr University’s Health Psychology Department. Doing one keeps me energized to do the other. I love providing care for individuals in my office, and also having the opportunity to work in the classroom training the next generation of healthcare providers. Outside of work, my lifestyle sustains me: eating in a way that nourishes me, exercising, sleeping, giving myself downtime from screens and social media, and being with my friends and family. I also use acupuncture and Western medicine to maintain my health. My hobbies include reading and participating in general fiction and science fiction book clubs, knitting, and playing harp in a Seattle-based ceilidh band, Seirm.
In what kind of setting do you deliver acupuncture care?
I work in a clinic that caters to women’s health, though I see both men and women in my practice. I also see children and adolescents over the age of eight. The types of conditions I see most often are musculoskeletal pain, allergies (digestive and environmental), headaches, mental health issues, women’s health concerns, including infertility, and cravings for psychoactive drugs and compulsive behaviors. In addition to being a licensed acupuncturist, I am also a naturopathic physician. I frequently see patients for both naturopathic and acupuncture care, but do so in separate appointments. An acupuncture appointment usually lasts 30-45 minutes and can be scheduled back-to-back with a naturopathic medicine appointment if desired. I am credentialed with and accept most private insurance plans, and offer a time-of-service cash discount to patients who do not have insurance or do not receive acupuncture benefits from their insurance plan.
12815 120th Avenue NE, Suite E, Kirkland, WA 98034