My first exposure to holistic healing was in Taichung, Taiwan. I lived there for a year after college – teaching English as a second language and looking for some adventure. For years I had suffered from TMJ and the headaches and neck pain that came along with it. One of my Taiwanese students suggested I go see an acupuncturist, and I thought this would be great fodder for a postcard home. To my surprise, the acupuncture and herbs actually worked! Immediately, I became fascinated with the process – the needles with burning herbs at the ends of them, and the blends of herbal teas that were mixed up and prepared just for me. There were so many herbs – each one with its own distinctive and wonderful aroma. Of course, the unique tastes were not quite as appealing to me, but I was completely intrigued – I had to learn more.
After my year in Taiwan, I spent many months traveling throughout Asia – in Thailand, Hong Kong, Bali, Sri Lanka, and India. Everywhere I went, I felt a gravitational pull to learn more about local natural healing traditions – from native teas to herbs, from flower essences to essential oils.
At this point I still had no idea that holistic medicine would ultimately become my career. These were the days before google, before high speed internet, before everyone had a cell phone or personal computer. I found books on alternative medicine and met local healers.
When I returned home to Florida, I learned that there were not only acupuncturists in the US, but also serious, academic universities with rigorous programs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. As much as I would have loved to continue traveling forever, one thing led to another and my path became clear. In 1996 I moved to California to pursue my formal studies and in 2000 began my private practice.
In a future post, I’ll tell you more about my journey into the specific treatment of skin conditions…