“What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.”
― Haruki Murakami
Twenty years ago, Acupuncture wasn't even on my radar.
But then, I got sick. Really sick. I have a genetic disorder that affects the way my cells work, but we didn't know that then. The treatments my doctors prescribed were making me worse, and I was struggling to do the most basic tasks. My feelings of helplessness grew, until a friend suggested I try acupuncture. Acupuncture? How was acupuncture going to help me when the hardest hitting drugs on the market had failed? And then, during my first acupuncture, I felt sensation pouring back into my hands during. I actually watched them change from cold and white to warm and pink while I was on the table. Within days, I was taking steps again. The change was nothing short of dramatic. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can't cure my mitochondrial disorder, but they absolutely helped me manage my symptoms and return to my vibrant self.
As soon as I was back on my feet, I began to pursue my Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine at Dongguk University. Dongguk has one of the busiest clinics in Los Angeles, and as an intern I observed hundreds of treatments, needled well over 400 hundred of my own patients, and directed the establishment of a pop up acupuncture clinic to address urgent health needs at Occupy Los Angeles.
I came to graduate school able to draw from decades working in various aspects of health care. I was a volunteer paramedic for the International Red Cross, and had the great honor of working on ambulances and assisting in labor and birth in crisis zones. As a fellow in the prestigious Public Allies program, I wrote and taught a progressive reproductive health curriculum for immigrant youth at Chinatown Service Center, and I've been an advocate for LGBTQ health for almost thirty years.
I'm interested in the many new opportunities for natural and gentle end of life, palliative, and hospice care, and I've been humbled to give love and help ease the transitions of those taking their last breaths, and provide much needed support to family and care givers, too.
Perhaps nearest to my heart is the wealth of experience I've gained as a mother to four fantastic and wildly different children, now ages 12-24. 1998, my pregnancies, births, and parenting experiences inspired me to become a natural childbirth instructor, community breastfeeding counselor, and birth doula in 1998. I absolutely love supporting families during labor and birth, and making sure they feel heard, respected, and empowered during the process.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am a member of the Order of the Good Death started by progressive mortician Caitlin Doughty. I attended a training for death doulas put on by Undertaking LA, Going with Grace, and Death Doula LA, and believe in facing death directly, and giving patients and their families more control, choice, and autonomy over the hospice, death, and grieving process. Thus, I am available, not only a birth doula, but a death doula, as well.
I recently completed a specialized training with the prestigious and cutting edge Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Oncology Acupuncture, and feel confident in treating the side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea and vomiting, neuropathy, and hot flashes, and cancer related pain.
The weirdest thing about me? I also play percussion and sing in a ridiculous monster themed band called Krammpstein. No, really, I do! While I don't take myself at all seriously when I'm performing in faux fur, I take your health and well being to heart. As a musician, I love incorporating sound healing into my sessions. Modern science is documenting more and more ways that sound vibration can be used in medicine, and lets be honest, crystal singing bowls might seem pretty hippy dippy, but the relaxing effects are freaking awesome.
Still, I'd love to change the perception of acupuncture from vaguely mystical indulgence to a real branch of medicine. You don't have to ohm your way into my clinic (unless you want to) and you don't have to believe in anything mystical, because acupuncture isn't magic...it's science, with many studies showing increases in endorphin levels and decreases in inflammation in both blood and brain tissue, and specific activation in the brain, different for each point, has been demonstrated on functional MRI.
I provide health care that is judgement free and a working partnership between patient and practitioner. You don't have to choose between alternative and Western healthcare. You can, and you should, take advantage of the best of both worlds, and together, those worlds create an effective and unique medicine that I am thrilled to be able to share with you.