Just over three years post the four-year Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine program I completed at The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago. A Minnesota (Minneapolis to be specific) native, I’ve been thrilled to be back and practicing here since the Spring of 2014.
What made you choose to pursue your profession?
After spending most of my twenties/post college undergraduate years living in various big urban cities (New York, San Francisco, Chicago) trying to figure out a career path to follow that encompassed my interests, I ultimately chose acupuncture after receiving it for some of my own health conditions. Not only was it extremely effective, but I found it fascinating and to be an integrative healthcare modality that I truly believed in and saw/continue to see such great benefits from. The core emphasis on interconnectedness, bio-individuality, and balance really resonate with me and my approach to health and well-being.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The learning is truly never ending! Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a huge field of study and there is always more to know and learn about which is awesome. Day-to-day though, the clinical application is what I find truly engaging. I love nothing more than connecting with people and being a part of the process to guide and empower them to live a more healthy, happy, balanced, and vital life.
Truth be told, I am not a morning person – so, if we’re being literal here, my chemex coffee gets me out of bed in the morning.
What conditions do you like to work with most?
Acupuncture can treat such a wide variety of conditions, which is one of the great things about it. However, it’s been my experience (both personally and professionally) that the more conventional and Western Medical approach to what are deemed “functional disorders” (meaning non-acute) such as digestive disorders, autoimmune disorders, sleep disorders, emotional disorders, etc. is more often than not, ineffective – particularly long term. Often one-size fits all medications are prescribed as the first line of treatment to manage symptoms (often with unpleasant side effects) and the potential root cause(s) not even addressed. For example, there aren’t any concrete explanations or pathomechanisms to the increasingly prevalent IBS diagnosis in Western Medicine, however from an Eastern Medicine approach/perspective there are – and by identifying and addressing/treating these, the condition improves. The body has an unparalleled ability to heal itself, and I often think of acupuncture as guiding the body to do just that, heal itself. It’s these “functional disorders” (which ironically often make it pretty difficult to function) that a more holistic approach can be monumentally effective. It’s for this reason that I have found myself gravitating towards working with these types of conditions the most.
What are you currently working on in your professional life?
I place a big emphasis on nutrition and lifestyle modification in my practice, so much so that I want to also become an Integrative Health and Wellness Coach…I’m in the midst of selecting a program to start in the next few months. I always enjoy taking various CEU courses and look forward to taking some this year focusing on fertility, and autoimmune disorders. I recently became a consultant for a safe/non-toxic skin care and beauty product company who’s mission I fully support and products I’m in love with. The toxic load we’re continuously and increasingly exposed to (and that are linked to cancer, behavioral disorders, infertility, etc.) is staggering. The amount of harmful and toxic chemicals in skin care and beauty products that aren’t currently regulated in the United States is terrifying. Bringing awareness to this issue and helping to get safe products in the hands of more people is something I’m very passionate about doing as well.
What is your favorite breakfast item/vegetable/meal?
I generally keep breakfast simple: a couple eggs (any way, shape or form), and I love omelets but more for dinner. Big fan of the breakfast for dinner thing. I can narrow down my favorite vegetables to three: Sweet potatoes, avocados (technically a fruit, I know), and spinach. I love Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food – kebabs, hummus/dips, feta cheese, olives, etc. Could eat it everyday.
How do you spend your free time?
While I love spending time with friends and family, being outside, going to farmer’s markets, dining out, and such – I’m also very introverted (INFJ to be exact/more specific) so I love being home, watching documentaries, reading about interesting people and things, etc. Sports and physical fitness/activities have always been a big part of my life and something I genuinely love to do – yoga, running, swimming, barre classes, going to the gym, the list goes on and on.
How do you celebrate living in your body?
It’s taken me a long time (and is a work in progress) but listening to my body is something I try to do on a daily basis to celebrate and honor it. Some days that means taking a nap when I’m tired, others it’s going for a six mile run when I’m feeling rested and/or need to clear my head, others it’s meeting a friend I connect with for coffee or a meal. Our bodies do so much for us and I try to be aware of and grateful of this every single day.
What do you look for in a health care practitioner?
Authenticity, kindness, and empathy are the traits that immediately come to mind. When I think about the best (and most effective) experiences I’ve had with various health care practitioners over the years, there’s a common thread of feeling safe, valued and heard, and connecting on a human being to human being type of level. Of course knowledge and credentials are important, but being a good practitioner to me, is so much more than that.