Lessons from 20 Years in Practice

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Sometime in the past month my Chinese Medicine clinic, Life in Balance Acupuncture, quietly turned 20.

It’s kind of blowing my mind that it was twenty years ago that I graduated from Chinese Medical School, moved 1,500 miles to a town where I knew exactly no one, acquired some basic furnishings on the cheap while waiting for the Board of Medical Examiners to grant me a license to practice, and opened my doors to patients.

With shoestring budget, a heap of student loan debt, but lots of enthusiasm and, I hung up some fliers and started teaching classes: Chinese medicine for women’s health, food as medicine, acupuncture for stress, the role of emotions in Chinese Medicine, basic yin-yang and five element theory.

Some of those curious-minded class participants became patients; and some to this day still come in for their monthly wellness tune-ups.

I could not be more grateful. The people I get to work with are among the most inspiring and kind people I’ve ever met. It is truly a privilege to earn a living helping them.

And because teaching is an extension of healing, I am grateful for you for being curious about how healing and personal evolution happens, and the role of each of us can play in it, for the work I know you’re doing, which by example is going to ripple outward and inspire others. This is how we change culture.

Buckets of gratitude: to my patients, class members, coaching clients, retreat participants, qi gong students, podcast listeners, newsletter readers, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for making it possible for me to do what I love.

I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned over the years and would like to share some of those reflections with you.

While it starts with the role of a clinician and the nature of healing, it explores issues that parents, givers, and people who care about what they do may well relate to, like:

  • If you’ll never know it all, when is enough enough?
  • How healing happens — and who is responsible
  • The work that happens before showing up for work
  • Detaching the ego from outcomes, even when you care
  • How you can be a healer even without a medical practice

Give a listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.


But first:

Why I’m Sleeping Better


Every fall, I start taking reishi, Chinese Medicine’s “mushroom of immortality,” to boost my immune system, energy, and mood.

Because I swear by them to help me not catch my patients’ colds and flus, I’ve always taken them in the morning before going into clinic. (Hang with me, this detail matters.)

Reishi is also adaptogenic, helping the body handle stress, known in Chinese Medicine to calm the spirit and support sleep. There’s also some evidence that it helps stabilize blood sugar, so I in the past few months I’ve been prescribing it for patients who struggle with both blood sugar regulation and insomnia with active minds.

Each one reported back markedly improved sleep.

Having struggled with sleep for years myself, I was inspired to experiment and take my reishi extract close to bedtime, alongside magnesium.

WOW. Best consistently good sleep I’ve had in years!

Now, I’ve “known” reishi was supposed to be good for sleep, but I because another aspect of its medicinal use was really impressive to me (specifically immune boosting, asthma, allergies) I had put it in a box and therefore limited its potential.

Only after getting curious and experiencing it for myself did that book knowledge really sink in. Like discovering that a friend who’s a great athlete also plays piano masterfully, it shifted my thinking.(How often do we this to ourselves, or to our friends?) I love that after 20 years I’m still learning from my patients.

May we all continue to run experiments in our lives, and be surprised and impressed by those we already know and love.

Want to give reishi a try? Get superior quality, dual-extracted, organic reishi mushroom with no added starches or fillers from a brand I trust here. (If you get it through this link at Real Mushrooms, I’ll get a little something for referring you, but it won’t cost you extra.)