How did a woman with a promising start on a career in management find herself becoming a practitioner of Oriental Medicine? Short answer: pain. In months of seeking to end severe back pain, I searched everywhere for safe and lasting relief.

In 2009 I injured my back. My doctor sent me to the top back specialist in the area. He spent three months treating me, months when I was unable to work, alternating between terrible pain and doped up dazes resulting from prescribed narcotics and muscle relaxers. With no relief in sight and poor prospects of returning to work, it was time to look squarely at a bad situation and make new efforts to reverse it. I came to realize my doctor was not making me better, he was only masking the pain. I had earned a Bachelor of Science degree and was eager to build a worthwhile career. Why would anyone want to resign herself to a loop of pain, restricted activity, and taking pills?

I had heard of acupuncture and had used it before for headaches. I decided to give it a shot and see if it could help. I found a respected acupuncturist and underwent treatment. Within two weeks I was back at work. In three weeks I was pain free. I felt like myself again. Was acupuncture some weird magic? Not at all. Acupuncture is a proven means to mobilize the body’s own intricate physical systems to return the body to proper function.

The unplanned pause in my work life gave me time to examine my career path. I could return to Criminal Justice. (I had worked with teenaged girls in the corrections system and counseled juveniles.) I could continue to pursue upper management in the coffee company where I had worked my way up the ranks, starting as a barista. The more I looked into acupuncture, the more I was drawn to it. I loved my education at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. It is satisfying to comprehend and share the benefits this approach to health involves. Every day I find more things in this art and science that resonate with who I am and how I see the world.

I believe that we are beings who are knit together with a purpose. We are physical, emotional and spiritual creations. I believe our bodies are meant to work well for a lifetime. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine help to restore normal functions. The creation around us provides us with substances which can help our healing when things get out of whack. Pain and disease are the body’s way of getting our attention. One of the things I love about Chinese Medicine is the focus on finding and treating the root of the problem, not merely masking the symptoms.

When I am not working, you can find me spending time with family and friends, listening to music and playing multiple instruments, relaxing outdoors, or reading a good book. I love to travel. My bucket list includes seeing the Aurora Borealis, taking in a show at the Red Rocks amphitheater, and swimming with sharks.