My interest in health and natural methods of healing began early in life. Having been an athlete and intuitively appreciating the healing benefits of spending time in nature from a young age, I found myself continually drawn to learning as much as I could about natural ways of promoting health and vitality throughout life. While earning my undergraduate degree in Health Science and Psychology at San Diego State University I discovered a program in Holistic Health at a local school, the Institute for Psycho-Structural Balancing. The name and curriculum piqued my interest. The program blended a combination of western science, physiology, humanistic psychology and Asian arts such as Tai Chi. I graduated enriched with a foundation of solid bodywork skills in, among others, structural integration (a style of bodywork similar to Rolfing) and myo-facial release as well as having a profound appreciation for the role of the psyche in our physical health and overall well being. This set the stage for a lifetime interest in discovering natural health care solutions for the integrated beings that we are.
I ventured into different professions but continually found myself drawn back to health and healing. My massage practice lead me to working with physical therapists in outpatient orthopedic clinics in both San Francisco and Santa Barbara. I opened my practice, Healing Arts of Santa Barbara, with another well respected body worker and augmented my education with hypnosis training, working part time as a clinician at a center specializing in supporting patients in healthy lifestyle choices.
I knew my education was limiting the extent to which I could help people. I was searching for the next level of education and quite accidentally stumbled upon acupuncture and East Asian Medicine. My roommate in San Francisco was attending a graduate program for acupuncture. He offered to treat me for the onslaught of a summer cold that to me seemed inevitable. With the first insertion of the needles, I was completely taken aback. I could feel so much sensation in my body that I was instantly and profoundly intrigued by the energy that was being stimulated by the needles. I was also surprised at how much better I felt and the cold never materialized. Because of this experience, I sought out a seasoned practitioner and tasked her with helping me with some debilitating periodic physical issues I was experiencing. I had exhausted attempts at conventional help through western medicine to no avail. Within a few months of regular acupuncture treatments and herbal medicine, my issues had resolved. With this unexpected success, I knew I had found my next area of study.
Being drawn to the wisdom of a medicine based in thousands of years of trial and error, I was interested in finding a Master’s Degree program where the education reflected the solid tradition and scholarly rigor typical of this field of medicine. I chose the Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine, a school whose curriculum is firmly rooted in the classics. Their apprentice style education, the traditional method of conveying the medicine, appealed to me. During my schooling I had the opportunity to study the medicine in it’s native land. I spent three weeks observing herbalists and acupuncturists in Hangzhou, China.
Since graduating in 2007 I have been pursuing very different directions of the medicine. On one hand, I’ve been studying the gentle art of Japanese acupuncture, which uses finer needles and and at times non-insertive methods of bringing the body back into balance. This traditional medicine from Japan is a field of study that continues to amaze me with its efficacy. I’ve been fortunate to study with Kiiko Matsumoto, Steven Brown and Takahiro Funamizu, all well respected Japanese practitioners. Their styles reflect the subtle yet profound abilities of Japanese acupuncture. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been studying Sports Medicine Acupuncture with Matt Callison. This intense year long program specializes in treating musculoskeletal injuries and degenerative diseases. Matt’s comprehensive approach focuses on the Western physiological model of the neurological and musculofascial connections combined with Traditional Chinese Medicine. These diverse approaches have provided me with gentler methods for more sensitive patients, such as children or the elderly, as well as physiologically based methods to treat competitive athletes.
Recent travels have taken me to the foothills of Nepal on a volunteer medical trip providing treatments to Buddhist monks, nuns and local villagers in August of 2016. The same year I had the fortune of joining a group of practitioners from around the world studying Ayurvedic medicine at the AVP Research Foundation in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu in Southern India. I studied with a Wat Po certified Thai Traditional Massage Instructor in Ko Samui, Thailand and in 2017 I traveled to Japan, experiencing treatments and touring clinics. International trips have been fulfilling on a personal and professional level. I feel blessed with the opportunity to travel, sharing my skills while enriching my life by experiencing local cultures and spiritual traditions.