My love and interest has always been in the sciences since I was a kid. I love the ocean and marine life so studying marine biology in college seemed like a perfect combination. To make a long story short, I changed my major to general biology after my first year. During undergrad I worked at a neurophysiology lab but somewhere along the way discovered being ‘in’ a lab wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. At the time I had no intentions of becoming a doctor so was left graduating with a biology degree and no idea what to do with it. Nevertheless, I wound up working for a biotech company conducting biomedical research working on things like cancer studies and eventually wound up as part of the cardiovascular research team for MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute at Washington Hospital Center.
It was shortly after my time at the hospital that life’s web was weaved and my journey towards discovering Chinese medicine was just beginning. Going to acupuncture school was a bit like going to a school that’s in French (which I don’t speak). It was astounding to hear the ‘language’ they used to describe things – Qi, Wind, Heat, Jing etc. It was so different from any of my classes in cell biology and organic chemistry! It took a bit of time to orient myself, a process we all go through when something is new to us, but I loved every minute of it and was completely captivated from day one. To this day l love to learn and study whatever I can about this amazing, profound medicine. Likewise, I am still completely infatuated with Western science – chemistry, cellular biology, psychology, geoscience….has anyone seen One Strange Rock on Nat Geo? Talk about mind-blowing?! All of it is awe-inspiring and I have a deep appreciation for Eastern and Western alike.
While my passion lies in Eastern medicine, I think in part because of my background, I have always believed in having a bridge between Eastern and Western medicine. Both have their value, both have their strengths and weaknesses, and I believe collaboration between both leads to more patient centered care. Which, when it comes down to it is all that really matters. It’s why I do what I do!
One of the first steps, if not the first in the aforementioned ‘collaboration’ is communication. While I have encountered patients and people who are very open to the language and concepts of Chinese medicine, I recall my first days and weeks (maybe even months) at acupuncture school and the difficulty I had grasping it. Now it’s like second nature, but it made me realize I might have been doing a disservice to patients and myself at times by not speaking about acupuncture and TCM via the Western medical model. Just recently I was introduced to Evidence Based Acupuncture, a non profit that was created to show the current state of knowledge about acupuncture, using the language understood by Western scholars – the language of science. I listened to a webinar by the Director of EBA, Mel Hooper Koppelman, and am truly inspired by her work. I am happy to share with you the following evidence summary on anxiety, courtesy of EBA. Please click on the link below to read the PDF about acupuncture and anxiety in the language of science: