I believe in the original meaning of the word health, which comes from the Old English word hælþ, meaning ‘wholeness, being whole, sound or well, integrity.’ For me, healing doesn’t just mean alleviating symptoms. By definition, healing is about integration and connectedness. I value the experience of being connected, feeling whole and doing the transformative work that’s often necessary to get there. In fact, I think that’s a big part of why we’re all here. This is reflected in my whole-person approach to healing.
I offer acupuncture, which can also includes cupping, moxabustion, diet and lifestyle counseling, Chinese Herbal Medicine and bodywork as well as sound healing, yoga therapy and instruction. I use my Somatic Experiencing training to inform how I do all of these things.
I became an acupuncturist and yoga teacher because I wanted to offer trauma survivors, especially women, an integrative, body-based way of healing from adverse life experiences. I also wanted my work to be a form of activism that brought conversations about spirituality, embodiment and oppression into the healing process, both at the level of the personal as well as the collective/political. This desire was inspired by my own life experience, my years working in non-profit settings with women and children survivors of violence and my interest in women’s spirituality and ways of knowing.
My Interest in Working with Survivors
In my experience as a health care provider and teacher, unaddressed trauma is often at the root or many illnesses or diseases. Trauma impedes the healthy flow of life energy and connection to self, other and the world that is often unseen or misunderstood, especially by the conventional medical system.
Because trauma is a rupture in the fabric of wholeness, an overwhelming experience or series of events that can create a range of responses specific to each individual, each treatment approach needs to be unique and situated within a context.
Being an ongoing target of oppression (current or historical) can create or compound a trauma, which is why my understanding of sexual violence and abuse is informed by the historical, cultural and political context for violence against women and other marginalized communities.
It is my belief that there are few things more important to healing the collective in order to make a more just and equitable world, than supporting individuals and communities in healing trauma.
My Approach to Trauma-Informed Care
I think providing trauma informed-care is multifaceted. For one, it’s about connection and the cultivation of presence. The provider needs to know how to connect to and resource themselves so that they have a well-regulated nervous system and can consistently create a safe container for the client/patient to lean into as they heal. It’s also critical that the provider is able to acknowledge and work on their own assumptions, biases, etc. so that they can see, hear and feel the other person with empathy and compassion.
It’s also about context. In the treatment space, this means providing information. For example, telling the client/patient what Chinese medicine is, how it might be able to help and what diagnostic processes and treatment interventions might look like. It also means understanding how the patient sees themselves in the world and what additional factors may be impacting their experience.
Trauma-informed care is about choice, consent and control. It’s critical to support the reintegration of agency and a sense of worth after a trauma, which involves focusing on the client’s own inner directive and needs, rather than the practitioner’s plan or agenda. It also means laying out all the options for treatment and letting patients choose what they need.
Trauma-informed care is also about consistency. Once there has been an agreement about levels of comfort with certain procedures, it’s important to stick to what the patient has requested. Being accountable to our agreements and remembering that the patient is the expert in their own experience encourages the rebuilding of trust with self and other and honors a patient’s capacity to make boundaries and for those boundaries to be respected.
How My Practice Holistically Addresses the Impacts of Sexual Trauma
In Chinese medicine and acupuncture well-being is understood as the harmonious interrelationship between Jing (Essence), Qi (Vital Energy) and Shen (Spirit). This creates a flow within the self and between the self and the world. Trauma, which disrupts this flow, can produce a myriad of responses and subsequent symptoms or imbalances.
Because of acupuncture’s capacity to gently facilitate connection and flow within every aspect of the self, it is an excellent modality to utilize in healing physical, mental/emotional or spiritual disharmony or rupture.
I have also chosen to study lineages of Chinese medicine that focus specifically on the connection between psyche and soma, like the Shen-Hammer lineage of Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis as well as systems of Japanese-style acupuncture that are very gentle and develop high levels of refinement in palpation and touch-based interventions. Additionally, I integrate other modalities that help regulate the nervous system, like Somatic Experiencing, gentle bodywork and sound healing.
Here are some examples of what I’ve been able to help people through:
Trauma healing, including accidents, surgeries and procedures, abuse or other overwhelming life events.
Managing and recovering from chronic stress.
Menstrual health, pregnancy, postpartum care, menopause and other women-specific issues.
Anxiety, depression and other mental/emotional imbalances.
Physical pain and injury, including chronic pain and sports injury and rehabilitation.
Modifications for Survivors
I strive to create a safe space for each person I am working with. The foundation of this is building trust. While this is a process that naturally takes time, I am mindful of the importance of safety and consistency with survivors. This means that I work to create a strong container and help modulate potential activation so that each individual can get support in creating boundaries, asking for what they need and support making choices and knowing options about treatment. I also offer free consultations before treatment so people can get to know me and ask questions before committing to working together.
Other Areas of Expertise
I work well with adults, infants, children and teens who are seeking a holistic, energetically-based, integrative approach to healthcare, including those who need or prefer gentle treatment, want trauma-informed or trauma-specific treatment or are LGTBQ identified, including folks currently in transition.
About The Breathe Network
Users of The Breathe Network’s resources assume responsibility for evaluating and selecting the providers included in our network. Please discuss your specific needs with the provider to determine whether they have the skills to assist you in your healing.
The Breathe Network, Inc. is organized as a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, therefore the full amount of contributions made to our organization are deductible for federal income tax purposes.
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