1. What brought you to Portland?
I moved to Portland to go to OCOM. It is the best acupuncture school in the country. Moving here also felt like coming home, being a native Northwesterner from Olympia, Washington.
2. Why did you decide to become an acupuncturist?
I always wanted to be a health care professional and actually I wanted to be an MD. When I was in my 20's I had my first experience with serious chronic pain, I had hip pain that was a horrific. The doctors I went to told me that there was nothing wrong, and that rest and Advil would improve my pain... When it didn't, I ended up turning to acupuncture and my hip pain was resolved in four treatments! I was blown away and so thankful to feel better and have my life back. All I kept thinking to myself was, there must be so many people who have a story similar to mine - people dealing with symptoms that you can live with but don't have to, like pain, fatigue or allergies. Unfortunately most people don't realize they don't have to live with this stuff. In short - I decided I wanted to be a different kind of doctor: I wanted to treat conditions that are not dealt with adequately by Western medicine.
3. Tell me about your practice.
I see a vast array of patients in my practice. I treat people in every stage of life, from birth on. We see a variety of conditions. Some of the most common include fertility, pain, allergies, autism, stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, digestive issues, post operative symptoms, and lots of crazy things that come up and for which western medicine just doesn't know how to treat.
I practice a variety of styles of acupuncture to accommodate the individual needs of my patients. I do trigger point work, Tan style acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and more. What works for one patient is not necessarily going to work for another... Thus I tailor each treatment to the individual.
I really get to know my patients. I listen to their stories, ask lots of questions and encourage them to tell me as much as they can about themselves. The more information I have, the better I can treat them. Patients usually come in for 1 or 2 specific complaints and we usually end up watching a handful of symptoms to track their progress and watch as they transform their health.
4. Where does your passion for the medicine come from?
I love what I do because the medicine works so well and people get amazing results. It is an honor to be in people's lives in such an intimate way. Listening to patients stories and watching their lives greatly improve is an incredible way to spend my days. I feel so lucky to facilitate health in a way that is so unique and powerful. I watch people change in ways they never thought were possible.
4. Do you have any advice for patients?
I always tell people to listen to their bodies and trust their instincts. We have a lot of information and if we pay attention, our body will tell us what we need to know.
I also like to remind people that life is crazy and it is not going to get any easier. No one gets a free pass, we all have stuff, and our job is to figure out how to be graceful within it all.
5. What is your favorite Portland restaurant and why?
I love Andina, they just do it right. But we go to the New Old Lompoc in Northeast a lot. It is a great place to go with the kids, it is causal and easy. They have a great beet salad and good beer. That's all we need.