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How I found Acupuncture & Why I Became an Acupuncturist

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

I was in my mid-20's and working in advertising when I found acupuncture. I had fallen into the world of advertising after college because I didn't really know what else to do, but I didn’t love my job. I was successful and good at what I did, but it wasn’t fulfilling. It wasn't my passion and I knew that long-term I wanted something different. Health and the human body has always fascinated me and I knew I wanted to do something in the wellness field. I started teaching fitness classes on the weekends and after work on a whim. At the time I was very into exercise and I was taking a lot of fitness classes, but I felt like a lot of the classes I was taking was missing proper instruction. The fitness world came naturally to me. I grew up dancing ballet and was a distance runner at the time and fairly athletic. Teaching group fitness classes lead to personal training and while I loved working with people and I loved teaching body awareness, there was still something missing for me in the job.

At the same time, I was training for a marathon and had injured myself badly after a 20-mile run. My IT band (iliotibial band) was inflamed and because the IT band attaches to your knee, it was painful for me to bend my knee - making walking and especially stairs hard. I went to a top orthopedist in the city who works with a lot of runners and he said nothing was physically wrong from what he could see. My MRI came back perfect, yet despite no physical damage, I was in real physical pain. He gave me a cortisone shot to ease the pain and it helped. It definitely helped for a time, I got back to running short distances, but 3 months later the pain started to ease back. I went back for a 2nd cortisone shot, but this time it didn't do the same magic. I had a little relief, but not enough. That’s when I started to seek out other methods.

I went to a massage therapist who was recommended to me. She worked closely with ballet dancers from the NY Ballet, so was well trained in physical alignments. She was wonderful, but it didn’t help. I then went to a Chiropractor who was recommended to me and works with a lot of runners. He did Graston technique on my IT bad and it helped a little. I always left looking abused, my leg covered in bruises. At the time it seemed cool, like the bruises were a badge of honor. I thought the bruises must mean I was getting better. After a while of that, though, I realized I just wasn’t getting anywhere. I had been to Physical Therapy before, but decided to give it another shot. Again, it didn’t really help.

I truly don’t remember how, or who introduced me to it, but I decided to try acupuncture. Having never dabbled in Eastern Medicine, I was a little nervous, but I found a practitioner who was also a Physical Therapist, so his tie to the Western Medicine world made me feel more comfortable. The Acupuncturist did a full intake and asked me a ton of questions, getting into serious detail. Questions that no Western medicine practitioner had ever asked me. It made me feel heard.

The Acupuncturist did a full intake and asked me a ton of questions, getting into serious detail. Questions that no Western medicine practitioner had ever asked me. It made me feel heard.

After the intake, the acupuncturist gave me a treatment and explained to me what was going on. I felt reassured that it wasn’t all in my head, the pain was real despite it not showing up on imaging. Long story short - I clearly remember taking the subway to my 1st acupuncture appointment and struggling walking up the subway stairs. Three sessions and 2 weeks later, I could walk without pain and was starting to run again. At this point, I felt addicted to acupuncture. I was a bit of a “mess” of a person at that point in my life, so had no trouble finding other issues to go back for: shoulder pain, insomnia, digestion issues, etc.

It wasn’t long after I started acupuncture that I saw the benefits and knew I wanted to heal people the way I was healed. I guess that’s also where my healing journey started - knowing that to heal others, I had to learn to heal myself first. Western medicine had failed me time and time again and I understood that my path would have to be different. I loved the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of acupuncture & Chinese medicine and how it tied all the elements together. Through acupuncture, I found hope that I thought I had lost and I know that was a feeling I had to share to with others.

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