And So It Begins
Often, I’m asked how I got started with acupuncture. Hint; my story isn’t a fantastic adventure of pursuing a life-long dream or even a riveting tale involving a mystical experience that crystalized my destiny. Quite honestly, my path to acupuncture meandered a bit, and in the end, acupuncture found me.
Back story: Growing up I suffered with chronic allergies. I sought relief in allergy shots, medication, and even went so far as to have sinus surgery (four of them). All of which only slightly helped. It was after my second surgery that I realized my efforts were only addressing my symptoms. Seeking lasting relief, I began to contemplate the idea of a more holistic approach to my situation.
I was in San Francisco attending a yoga teacher training when I decided I needed to get outside and clear my head. While on my walk, I saw a sandwich board advertising treatment at a clinic run by an acupuncture school. Since it was a school clinic, the practitioners were students which made the treatments inexpensive. I thought, why not? I had several treatments that week and found I was able to breathe easier. Back in my home state of Michigan, I continued to seek out treatment – sometimes traveling across to Windsor, Canada or riding my bicycle many miles for an appointment. In those days, acupuncture wasn’t easy to find.
Attending the yoga teacher training had been a respite from my real life. At the time, I was pursing an engineering degree. While using form, structure, and analysis to help people function optimally in their workspace sounded appealing, even challenging, something was missing. I wasn’t sure engineering was what I wanted to do as a lifelong venture. Engineering just didn’t engage my heart or ignite my passion.
Trying to diversify my course load and give some freshness to my outlook, I enrolled in classes about nutrition, psychology, and physiology. In the end, I obtained both a Bachelor of General Studies degree and an Industrial Engineering degree.
Still not enthused to be an industrial engineer, I joined the Peace Corps upon graduation. My assignment was to Ghana to set up a school teaching vocational skills. While there I contracted malaria five times and was eventually sent home early. I arrived home weak and exhausted. I wondered if acupuncture would help as it had done with my breathing. By combining acupuncture, herbs, and good nutrition, I was able to get my strength back.
Twice now acupuncture had come through for me, but I still hadn’t considered it as an option for my career. Instead, I began taking classes to become a massage therapist while working a day job at a residential psychiatric center.
I was still receiving acupuncture treatments and decided to take classes to learn more about exactly what the acupuncture was doing for my health and well -being. It was Lonnie Jarret, a well-known acupuncture teacher, who got me excited about the idea of studying acupuncture as a profession. Finally!
I was enthralled by this ancient tradition and marveled at the complexity of the medicine and how it assisted people to function optimally.
Acupuncture brought together my two worlds. I love the way I get to use my heart, my senses and my engineer mind to understand what a body is saying and what I might be able to do to assist with healing. The rest, as they say, is history.