Masters of Oriental Medicine
I’m a firm believer that no woman deserves to be stuck with sharp objects by a relative stranger, so here’s more about moi.
I’m a first born, hyper-responsible type whose first love is science. It might seem odd considering acupuncture has a reputation for being “alternative,” but my favorite book as a child was the story of how Louis Pasteur invented the vaccine for rabies. Fast forward to 17 year old me. I was on track to go to an elite east coast school with the plan to becoming a geneticist. Then, my world was turned completely upside-down.
" No man is a good healer
who has never been sick himself. "
- Chinese Proverb
An assault landed me a stay in the ICU, followed by the psychiatric hospital for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While western medicine absolutely saved my life it also reduced me to disjointed parts. Depressed? Take this pill. Anxious? Try this one too. Can’t sleep? Wait, wait … we’ve got something for that. Terrible periods? Just go on birth control pills. Stomach aches? That’s nothing silly! I was on multiple medications - safe, stable, but not at all well. I didn’t know anything else. I was lost.
Years later, I was about to enter a Master’s program in writing, but my nagging passion kept bringing me back to science. I still loved medicine and biology and, thankfully, I had expanded my horizons enough that the idea of studying holistic medicine dawned on me. I learned becoming an acupuncturist required a master’s degree - three years of year-round schooling, cadavers, pharmacology, basic western medical training. Oh yeah, and Chinese medicine (they had me at cadaver)! I showed up healthily skeptical but open and curious.
Sure, I started off as the least likely acupuncture student. I had Doritos in my lunch that first day. But did I mention hyper-responsible, first-born overachiever!? I had a voracious desire to learn and quickly saw that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was both intuitive and had stood the test of time. Cooler still, I was studying it in an era when science was starting to be able to see the mechanisms behind the medicine. Things like epigenetics - which, if you ask me is even cooler than genetics - neural activity, blood flow, hormone levels and even placebo. Let’s talk placebo sometime - seriously. On a more personal note, I learned how all of my own symptoms were of course interconnected, and that they could improve together once I understood their root and my role in my own health. It changed my life!
" If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight,
let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to become reborn,
let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything,
give everything up. "
- Tao Te Ching
There was only one problem. All this understanding and personal accountability was not part of how I was being taught to practice TCM out in the world. In three years of training, there wasn’t a single class on how to teach any of these ideas to patients! Instead we were supposed to keep the vast majority of the knowledge and explanations to ourselves, use them to make good holistic diagnoses and dole out the “right” treatments and herbs. Seriously? Sure it was natural, sure it was working on the whole person, but this was not a ton better than where I thought western medicine totally missed the boat. Depressed? Get acupuncture. Anxious? Eat only cooked foods. Terrible periods? This herbal formula should do the trick. Stomach aches? Here’s a meditation CD. I already had a lifetime supply of this fix-it, doctor-centric model of medicine. I was 110% over it. I didn’t want to be this sort of a practitioner and I absolutely knew it was the last thing I wanted as patient. I figured I wasn’t alone. I took a leap and started practicing in the way TCM is truly meant to be practiced. While my classmates largely worried about how to see more patients faster I arranged for more time per patient and figured out how to explain holistic ideas to anyone and everyone.
" Seeing yourself as a fixer may cause you to see brokenness everywhere … when we fix others, we may not see their hidden wholeness or trust the integrity of the life in them. "
- Rachel Naomi Remen
The bottom line? I don’t need to fix you. I need to empower and educate you. You don’t want me to boss you around, you want to understand what is going on in your own body and mind and have the skills and confidence to help yourself. I can help you shift your perspective, feel truly cared for as a whole human being, and give you a jump start with an absolutely amazing - you have to experience it to believe it - ancient medicine. And then you can walk out the door and keep the momentum going. You are so much more than the sum of your parts! You deserve better than to be “fixed,” you deserve to be truly healed. And if that’s what you want, we have got to do this together.
" The superior physician does not treat disease,
but teaches society and helps form
the intentions of humanity. "
- Sun Simiao
Since 2004 I’ve been committed to being a “superior physician.” That means consistently serving, educating, and inspiring, never fixing. Life Healing Life, never Doctor Healing Patient. So many beautiful things have risen from the inky, depths of my darkest days. I wouldn’t dream of changing a thing along the way, because I can’t imagine my life any other way. And I am deeply, incredibly, ridiculously thankful to do this work and live this life.
" No mud, No Lotus. "
I’d love to work with you and see your own life blossom and thrive!
A Little Timeline
I’ve spoken at least once every month to inform and inspire through sharing ideas of holism. From fortune 1000 companies to conferences to little living room groups and everywhere in between.
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I was fortunate enough to be awarded the most highly contended internship available to students in my program, working in the early stages of the Institute for Health and Healing a national leader in integrative care.
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I graduated with a Master’s in Oriental Medicine and sat for my national board exams. I am both state and nationally licensed - NCCAOM and the Minnesota Board of Medicine.
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In Early 2007
My practice reached full capacity just six months after opening. Turns out I was right. People did like education! I’ve had a thriving practice, often with a waiting list, ever since.
ALTHOUGH IT STARTED WITH DARKER DAYS THAN I EVER COULD HAVE IMAGINED, I WOULD NOT CHANGE A STEP ALONG THE WAY BECAUSE I CAN’T IMAGINE MY LIFE ANY OTHER WAY AND I AM INCREDIBLY THANKFUL TO DO THIS WORK AND LIVE THIS LIFE.
I began teaching colleagues at conferences and through continuing education programs how to be more patient-centered and education based in their own care. A 5-hour Continuing Education Unit (CEU) course by yours truly is available internationally.
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Along the way, I married the love of my life - who I would have never met had I went the geneticist route! Mark is a pretty awesome partner both in love and in business. In addition to being an artist and musician, he runs all the behind the scenes of Life Healing Life and is a fabulous graphic designer (if you like this site, that’s all him!). Our daughter, Georgia was born in 2009 and our son, James in 2011. They regularly teach us a thing or two. We live in a cozy little bungalow in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis.
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We purchased a 1,300 square foot clinic space in an historic art deco co-op building that Amelia Earhart is rumored to have once lived in … seriously, pinch me! We have valet parking, teaching / group spaces, and a variety of other fabulous holistic and education-focused practitioners independently working together to make good things happen in the world.
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I’m approaching 10,000 visits and counting, truly getting to serve women - and a few of their male partners - that regularly blow my mind and expand my heart.