I have been practicing Shiatsu therapy since 2001, and qi gong since I was 15, so for 23 years!
What made you choose to pursue your profession?
It's actually kind of a family business. Both of my parents are shiatsu therapists, and my dad is an acupuncturist. My mom began her studies when I was 8 years old, so I was a bit of a guinea pig for her to practice on. But I was innately curious about what she was doing, and asked a lot of questions. I asked her to teach me qi gong when I was 15, and the first time I really "felt" qi during my practice, I was hooked. I've also always been interested in helping people in need or pain. My father tells a story about me that kind of sums it up. When I was 6, he had a good friend visiting for the weekend. My Dad was in the kitchen and walked into the living room where his friend and I were hanging out. Apparently I was helping his friend, giving him advice about a rocky relationship he was experiencing. He says I was pretty serious about it, and even more noteworthy, he was really listening to me!
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
When it comes to the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine, it's definitely a lifelong pursuit of understanding, so it is endlessly engaging. It's really a philosophy (rooted in Taoism) - a set of principles that can guide you into a deeper understanding of the nature of reality, and how to walk the path in the most balanced manner you can. So that piece is definitely exciting and makes me feel really alive. I feel so satisfied seeing people make breakthroughs in their own wellness and balance. In the past, traditional physicians in China were paid to keep their patients well. When their patients got sick, then they were not paid for treatments. I like this philosophy and think of my work as a way to guide my clients to self healing and deeper body and self awareness.
What kind of clients do you like working with most?
I have to say, the clients I most enjoy working with are ones that are in a place of engagement with their own health destiny. This work is so much more effective if a client is actively engaged in the process rather than just there to receive, or be cured by some outside authority. It is something I like to address with all of my clients, and empowering people to make small changes that create big effects is so awesome! While I am very comfortable working with clients that come to me with issues pertaining to an injury or a chronic condition that keeps flaring up for various reasons, I really love the idea of bodywork as a sort of "Prehab". A maintenance tool, just like regular exercise, good diet, etc., that keeps your body and mind in its optimal condition, allowing you to move through life with ease, ultimately helping to prevent injury or chronic conditions.
What conditions/health patterns do you like to work with most?
I enjoy working with people with chronic tension, digestive issues, and stress. I like working with clients that are working day jobs at a computer all day, because it is so fun to watch them learn simple, very doable things that can dramatically improve the way they feel physically and mentally.
What are you currently working on in your professional life?
Right now I am diving deeper into my qi gong studies, and am planning a trip to Thailand for a 4 week training in January with Master Mantak Chia, who is also the creator of Chi Nei Tsang, a form of abdominal organ massage that both myself and Jesse Haas offer at Wellness Minneapolis. At the end of the training I will be a certified instructor of Master Chia's form of qi gong and plan to begin offering classes to my clients and the community.
What is your favorite breakfast item?
I love eggs! They are kind of the perfect little protein food. I eat them almost every morning, mostly scrambled with different vegetables.
How do you spend your free time?
In my free time I wear many hats. I study and perform traditional West African Dance, am currently recording my first EP of original music, am starting my first documentary film project, and I love to see movies, garden, eat delicious food, and nurture my relationships with family and friends.
How do you celebrate living in your body?
I dance dance dance! I've always loved to express myself in this way, and have learned so much from different forms of movement. Qi gong and yoga are a steady place for me to get in touch with my body, and I make sure I receive bodywork and acupuncture on a regular basis. Hiking and camping, and spending time in nature also makes my body very happy!
What do you look for in a health care practitioner?
One of the first things I look for in a health care practitioner is presence, meaning that they are fully in the present moment with you. This is one of the things I try to instill in my students (at CenterPoint Massage and Shiatsu School), that half of their training is learning how to be present for a full hour, or however long the treatment is for. It's not an easy feat in such a fast-paced, multi-tasking world, but invaluable as a health practitioner of any type. Then I look for someone that is grounded in sound knowledge of their field, and is open-minded but well-informed about other modalities as well.
Autumn has discontinued her practice at Wellness Minneapolis to further her education. She is however, still teaching qi gong in the Twin Cities area and would love to have you in class!