I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up…
I was three when I told my grandmother that I was going to be a Doctor. During elementary, middle, and high school, I kept the dream alive. All of my time was spent in Biology, Chemistry, and Calculus, I didn’t even take an art class (one of my biggest regrets). I graduated 12th in a class of 600 and was accepted with scholarship to Boston University, my dream school.
When I wasn’t studying to become the next Meredith Grey, I was reading books about ghosts, seances, near-death experiences and stuff like that. I remember a tv program where an indigenous healer helped people cure cancers with his hands only – I was fascinated. The magic of it all took over my brain. I’d find myself thinking about that show for years to come.
When I entered Boston University, obviously I signed up for pre-med as a biology major, but my minor was a bit more fun – Eastern Religion. When not in biology or organic chem, I was busy learning about Buddhism, Daoism, and Jainism. I LOVED IT.
This choice would end up changing the whole course of my healing career. In fact, it saved it.
It was the second semester of my freshman year and I was sat in a class called “The Sociology of Medical School” when I realized my dream of a medical career was over. For this class, I read a book about the journey through medical school. The book described, in detail, all the horror stories of med school and becoming a doctor. The long hours, the lack of pee breaks, the 24-hour shifts with no time to eat – it was all in there and it scared me straight stiff. Why would anyone DO THIS? It’s like asking for burn out!
At the same time, in that same class, I was learning about the insurance policies that guide my chosen future career. At some point I was told that insurance paid for just 7 minutes per chief complaint of the patient. Which meant that I would have 7 minutes to talk to someone, learn their history, diagnose them, and set forward a treatment plan or a prescription. WTF?!?! It was a huge Aha! Moment as Oprah would call it.
7 minutes per patient. 15 hours of not eating or peeing. No wonder doctors are over prescribing meds and not listening to their patients. The doctors don’t have the time, energy, or brain power to function properly. Add that to a quarter of a million dollar debt that I’d have after finishing my medical degree and I really started questioning whether all that sacrifice was worth it. I knew there had to be another way.
I was totally heartbroken. By the grace of the universe, while in my sophomore year I’d been allowed to take a Master’s level course on Meditation with Livia Kohn, the world’s foremost Daoist scholar. It changed everything for me.
About halfway through the semester, I went into Livia’s office hours and told her that I was having a crisis. I knew that med school wasn’t my path anymore but I had NO idea what I would do instead. I asked if she had any suggestions. She said, simply and matter of factly: “Well, just do Chinese medicine”. I replied: “What the heck (I might have used a stronger word ;)) is Chinese medicine?!”. And the rest, as they say, is history.
I started doing research. I was so happy to learn that Chinese medicine was a Master’s degree program in the US. Most of the alternative medicine programs I saw were three-month programs for massage or long weekends to learn Reiki. Chinese medicine looked serious. I needed to have 2 years of undergrad work done in order to apply. If accepted, I’d go through a rigorous 4-year program and finish with a Master’s degree.
This was serious business, and that made me like it even more. I started to consider it. I called my mother, my ultimate sounding board.
I blurted out: “I think I’m going to quit BU and apply to go to acupuncture school”. My mother, thank goodness, said: “Oh, acupuncture, Gramma had that. She was bedridden with rheumatoid arthritis and then Dr. Hu came by once a week for 4 months or so. She was pain-free and fully functional for at least 6 years after that”.
She probably didn’t know it, but she just sealed the deal for me. I was too young to remember my grandmother’s acupuncture appointments, but they were going on around the time I told her that I’d become a doctor someday.
I finished out my second year of school and moved the furthest point from Boston that you can move in the continental US: San Diego, California. I went to Pacific College Of Oriental Medicine and learned from some of the best. The world around me started to click. Everything made sense. Chinese medicine made not only the body make more sense to me, but the world around me too.
I was a total convert and wanted to share what I was learning with the world. My studies fascinated me and pushed the boundaries of my science-based mind further that I knew they could be pushed. I saw people heal that shouldn’t have. I realized how interconnected everything was. I started developing the way of thinking that would benefit both me and my patients throughout the years.
The ability that I was gaining, to listen to my patients and put together the jigsaw puzzle that they presented was (and still is!) amazing to me. It turns out that just listening to someone’s chief complaint isn’t enough. I also need to know about your emotional life, your community, your relationships, your diet, your movement, your job, your worldview, the weather around you. Everything, everything is important and has an effect on your wellbeing and your ability to avoid burnout.
Since then, I’ve been lucky to teach and treat all over the world. Having a foreign husband helped this out big time. I have had the chance to work in hospitals and smaller clinics in China, infertility centers in Poland, my own clinic in Warsaw, and a shared integrative space in Prague. Now, I’m moving into the online space where I can help guide you feels like the perfect next step.
After over 25,000 treatments, I realized that more than anything I love having the time to talk to you and hash out all the pieces of your life that need to be adjusted for you to create a life that heals. There is nothing I love more than helping people to expand into the lives they were meant to lead, especially when I can teach them to use their bodies as guides.
Following my own series of burnouts and recoveries, I figured it was time to share with you exactly how to avoid this nonsense in the first place or help you get through it if you were already there.
So, here I am. After a few countries, an insane amount of 1:1 in person work. Constantly evolving through work and reading to create the best possible experiences for you. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.