Practice type: Community
Specialties: Depression, general wellness, menstrual conditions, musculoskeletal pain, stress
Styles: Japanese acupuncture, pediatric acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Why did you become an acupuncturist?
I have always had a deep desire to help people, but for many years I struggled with my role as a nurse and nurse practitioner. I prescribed medications and tests I wouldn’t want to take myself, and I wondered if I was truly helping people. The general lack of emphasis on prevention in Western medicine really bothered me. I felt like I had hit a wall in what I could offer people besides medications, and kept thinking, “There must be some other way through this wall!” I studied therapeutic touch, reiki, Ayurveda, became a yoga teacher, before I discovered acupuncture. And when I discovered acupuncture it was like a profound revelation but also like coming home. And it was another way through the wall! It deeply resonated with me.
What distinguishes you from other acupuncturists?
I think my background in Western medicine certainly helps, as I have another way to understand the body besides the way to understand it in Eastern medicine. I feel like I wear two hats and sometimes I can separate very distinctly the Eastern and Western ways of looking at the body, and yet sometimes they blur and both hats find their way on my head, and that helps me too! It really fascinates me, both of these ways of looking. In addition, I have worked with children for over 10 years. I enjoy working with people of all ages, but I don’t think many acupuncturists are as comfortable with children (they like my two hats).
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I am happy and very fortunate to help people. But I feel like I am just the guide to help people heal, that I gently prod the body to find its own innate ability for self-healing and transformation. That truly inspires and impresses me the most—that we all have the ability to heal ourselves. We sometimes just need a little prod from an acupuncture needle to help bring ourselves back into balance. I am profoundly grateful to be part of this process!
What is the biggest misconception you hear about acupuncture?
That it hurts! It doesn’t have to, which means sometimes it does, just a little, and in a good way. But I use primarily gentle techniques and many non-needling techniques. The other thing that bothers me is the emphasis on comparing acupuncture to Western medicine via randomized controlled clinical trials. Research is helpful, but not the only way in which acupuncture can be measured.
How do you stay healthy in your own life?
I run and practice yoga, qi gong and meditation. I search for trees to sit under and patches of grass to sit on to read and write. I pet strangers’ dogs when they let me. And of course, I happily receive acupuncture.
Community Acupuncture Project of West Seattle and Columbia City
West Seattle: 4545 44th Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98116
Columbia City: 3811 S. Ferdinand Street, Seattle, WA 98118