My Personal Healing Journey
I started my personal transformational journey in earnest soon after graduating from college. My health was pretty much in shambles—I had bad digestive problems, fairly bad depression, chronic fatigue, and anemia. Luckily, I had signed up for a work-study program at Heartwood Institute, a training center for the holistic healing arts in Northern California, and began my stay there immediately after school.
It was there that I was introduced to a wide variety of holistic healing practices—what I now call the 8 Branches of Chinese Medicine. As I received treatment, and practiced meditation, yoga and tai chi, ate a new diet, took herbal medicine, got acupuncture and bodywork, and began addressing my difficult thoughts and emotions, I began to heal.
A Spiritual Search
As the healing process unfolded, it became apparent to me that I was also interested in something much deeper—spiritual awakening at the deepest level. And so began a long search for… enlightenment, which I pursued through my studies of qigong, Taoist and Buddhist meditation, and non-dual spirituality.
Now, I would not consider myself a fully awakened person. However, what I have come to understand is that spiritual awakening involves a fairly radical shift in consciousness. As humans, we normally define who we are as the thoughts, emotions, and sensations that come up in our awareness. We tell ourselves stories about who we are, what other people are like, and what is happening in the world.
Deep Level Transformation
Deep level transformation occurs when we begin to question, and eventually liberate ourselves from those stories. As we become free from our stressful, anxiety and depression inducing stories, we begin to feel better—at a core level.
This transformation is not just emotional or mental. It is a deeply felt physical experience of relaxation, gentle internal energy flow, warmth, peace, and openness. At the deepest level, this process involves questioning the story that you exist as a separate person—the famous inquiry of “who am I?” When combined with meditation, this question can lead to deeper insights.
The Transformational Process
Lest I make this process sound like a cakewalk, for some people, including yours truly, this process of self-examination can be hell. For me, over the course of several years, many unresolved emotions and stressful thought patterns came to the surface. This in turn affected my physical health, creating low energy, fatigue, digestive problems, and other issues.
While not fun, those years of ill health transformed me for the better, at an essential level. I achieved insights into how the body works and how the mind and emotions function together. I gained in-depth knowledge of how to take care of my own body, emotions and mind, and how to help others recover and maintain their own physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Acupuncture, herbs, and bodywork have been valuable supports during this process.
After the Heartwood Institute, I was inspired to enroll in acupuncture school. I selected the Tai Sophia Institute (now the Maryland University of Integrative Health) for its emphasis on mental and emotional healing, holistic wellness and lifestyle coaching. In 2007, I graduated from their Master’s in Acupuncture program, and I received certification in Chinese Herbal Medicine the following year.
The Tai Sophia Institute provided a solid and comprehensive education in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. But just as importantly, Tai Sophia Institute taught a thorough program of what I now call Holistic Health Counseling. In my studies, I learned to think outside the dominant medical paradigm.
Bob Duggan, the founder of Maryland University of Integrative Health, taught an excellent framework for looking beneath the labels of a diagnosis to see the actual phenomena of the emotions and body. In this way, the patient can learn to become more present and mindful to their own actual experience. As a result, and with the guidance of an experienced Holistic Health Counselor, the patient can then connect the dots – – see the causal links between their beliefs, emotions, lifestyle behaviors and physical/emotional health symptoms.
In combination with acupuncture, this approach to Holistic Health Counseling lays the groundwork for a patient to recover their health naturally, and for the long term.
How I Developed My Comprehensive Approach
In addition to my acupuncture studies at Maryland University of Integrative Health, I have studied the full range of Chinese medical healing arts. The true beauty of the Chinese medical system is in its holistic, comprehensive approach to healing. It offers a “healing way of life”.
In a well-known metaphor, Chinese medicine is considered to be a tree with 8 branches. While acupuncture and herbs comprise one branch, there are several other vitally important aspects to Chinese medicine: meditation, qigong, tai chi, breathing exercises, yoga, nutrition, feng shui, and knowledge of daily and seasonal cycles.
For the past 20 years, I have immersed myself in learning these traditions, participating in numerous trainings, retreats, and certifications. My discoveries took me far beyond just acupuncture, to a deep understanding of how our life activities as a whole intimately affect our physical and emotional health. This led me to develop the flexible, comprehensive approach that I apply with my patients today.
Personalizing Your Treatment
After working with patients for 15 years, I have found that each patient has a “leading edge,” a set of treatments and lifestyle changes that are best suited to them at that time. While one person may be ready for a major diet change, another might do best with getting Chinese Medical Massage to address their frozen shoulder. And another might be ready to dive into deep spiritual study and meditation practice, while yet someone else would do better dipping their toe into 10 min/day of Headspace. Together, I help you build a customized program that helps you take full advantage of the range of services and wonderful practitioners we have here at the clinic.
My Commitment to You and Your Well-being
Through your treatments here at our clinic, I hope to pass on to you the benefits that I myself have received over the past 20 years. Please contact us if you’d like to know how our services could help your particular situation. We look forward to working with you.