1. What brought you to Portland?

Back in New York City in the early 90’s, I engaged in an eight-month internship at New York Hospital through Cornell University. At the time I acted as a “patient advocate,” and observed everything from Emergency Department admissions to brain surgery, but many things didn’t feel right to me. I was planning on going to medical school, but with the wise words of one professor, a window opened to another option, which was the Naturopathic School here in Oregon (NCNM).

This felt so right at the time because I was doing research on medicinal plants and had an interest in some “alternative” practices. I moved to Portland to attend the naturopathic school here but after a good year there, I then switched to the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine to get my Masters. Studying western medicine was a vigorous and imaginative journey investigating the human body piece-by-piece and delving into Oriental Medicine was about putting it all together again. 2. Why did you decide to become an LAc? I have always wanted to be a doctor and I have always had an interest in movement and energy. Studying Oriental Medicine was a perfect fit for me. I believe in the medicine based on my own personal experiences of profound energetic shifts and based on the results I see with my patients.

3. Tell me about your practice The goal of my practice is to be prepared to treat conditions and issues that span the life course of females: everything from PMS to menopause. Right now, my specialty and passion is seeing fertility patients. When I first starting treating people who were trying to conceive five years ago, I saw mostly people who were undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technology, but now I treat all kinds of patients. I enjoy being creative with my treatments. Every week, new information is emerging about Reproductive Medicine and I constantly have to remind myself to keep things simple and take things one-step at a time. That is always the best way to go. 4. Any advice for patients? The best piece of advice I could give is to seek acupuncture and non-western treatments as soon as you are thinking about getting pregnant. Even if you do not have a problem conceiving, you will be stronger and healthier for the pregnancy. A lot of patients come when they have already been trying to conceive for over a year. This is Okay, but sometimes I feel like I could have done so much more for them if they had come a little earlier.

5. Any advice for students about to become practitioners?

YES! a. Get what you are worth. Do not get yourself stuck in a position where are doing trades and sliding scale with all of your patients and are not getting paid what you are worth. After all of those years of school and all the passion you have put in, you SHOULD be able to make a living. Choose trades wisely (I got my logo, website and a cool painted ceiling out of trades). It is okay to give away free treatments in the beginning (I did that through raffles at health fairs) but don’t forget to move away from that so that you receive what you are worth.

b. Move out of the family and friend circle as quickly as possible. I find it extremely difficult to be objective when treating friends and family and I have a hard time seeing the big picture. And you cannot make a living just seeing friends and family.

c. Do what gives you the most passion. When I started my practice, I treated all conditions so that I could build up my practice. But I knew that I wanted to see fertility patients and so I was very persistent with that interest. You will be much happier if you do what you truly love.

d. Get your business cards and make professional brochures when you start your practice. To be professional you need to look professional. You can get nice cards at a reasonable price in Portland so there is no reason to skimp on that! Every acupuncturist I know who built their practice well had their marketing image created at the start of their practice.

6. What is your favorite Portland restaurant and why?

My all time favorite is Khun Pica Bhan Thai on Belmont. I used to go there a lot before I had kids (the wait for their freshly made food is long and not conducive to family meals but well worth the wait when not with children).

Recently I have been enjoying riding our bikes to Por Que No on Mississippi. Everything is good there, including the cocktails. I also love Autentica off of NE Killingworth. For a safe and always good selection of Thai Food, go to Thai Noon.

I grew up in a family that owns and runs restaurants and catering halls in New York, so I am very critical of food and restaurant service. If anyone knows of a good Italian restaurant or a good Jewish Deli in Portland, please let me know!

You can contact Liz Richards, LAc, MAcOM at:
Irvington Corner
2526 NE 15th Avenue
Portland, OR 97212

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