I always knew that I wanted to be in the helping/healing field and spent 10 years as a Registered Nurse, first in the ICU, then the ER. During this time I started having kidney stones and there wasn’t a lot that Western medicine could do besides pain meds, water, and surgery if they were too big. One day on the CTA I saw an add for Acupuncture, and in my desperation for relief I decided to try it out. I remember being at my first treatment, waiting for my acupuncturist to come in, being 99% sure it wasn’t going to work, and wondering why I had signed myself up to get stuck!
I never had another kidney stone after I started acupuncture. I also stopped needing my asthma inhaler, and my plantar fasciitis was cleared. It was my first acupuncturist that taught me that Eastern medicine didn’t separate the body, emotions, and spirit. The idea that emotions weren’t something to hide, bury deep, or repress but instead should be felt and processed blew my mind. As did the related Traditional East Asian Medicine idea that when we don’t process our emotions they get stuck in our body and cause physical symptoms like pain and disease- like kidney stones and asthma. About 6 months after my first acupuncture treatment I decided to go back to school full time to study this way of healing for myself.
Taking the leap from nursing into acupuncture felt like a whole new world was opening up, but looking back, it was actually the start of my heart opening up. Traditional East Asian Medicine taught me about the capacity of our bodies to heal themselves in powerful ways, from the root of the problem, with prompting from gentle modalities like acupuncture, gua sha, moxabustion, cupping, and topical liniments.
After graduating with my Masters in Traditional East Asian Medicine I started a Community Acupuncture clinic in Rogers Park and began collaborating with Western medicine physicians, in their facilities, to bring acupuncture to underserved patients with chronic pain and multiple severe mental health diagnosis.
It was during school, in my attempt to better understand Qi (a fundamental concept of TCM), that I took Reiki classes, eventually completing my Master/ Teacher level. It was also during school that I started to feel the pull toward, what I would eventually realize, is Shamanic Work.
In learning Shamanic Work I realized that I didn’t have to reject the idea of spirit just because, what other people had told me it was, didn’t feel right. Brene Brown describes spirituality as “recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.” I think every person’s spiritual journey and expression is uniquely personal but being willing to step into the uncertainty of connection, love and compassion is deeply healing. Utilizing the tools of Shamanic Work to start the healing process at the spirit level, and combining that with Acupuncture to pull that healing through the levels of emotions and the physical body, in my personal and professional experience, leads to transformation and relief. That is why, in 2020, I started shifting my practice to private treatments, which I currently offer at Tribe, A Healing Arts Community.
If you had told me 10 years ago, while I was working in the ER, that some day I would be an acupuncturist and practitioner of shamanic healing modalities, I probably wouldn’t have even known what that was, let alone believed it would be my path. When I am reminded of the Western Nursing world I used to inhabit where only things that could be objectively measured were seen as valid, it seems lifetimes away. The shift happened slowly, with consistent work and through the help of many teachers and healers. If I can now be part of someone else’s healing team…I can’t think of a more meaningful way to spend my time. That’s why I do what I do.