Category Archives: Portland Healing Inspirations

Finding balance and creativity through food, herbs and family

A Practitioner’s beginnings- a personal story

Practitioners-beginningsI wanted to take some space up on this blog to introduce myself at a deeper level, and tell the story of how I became interested in holistic medicine. Perhaps you have a similar story about your own path.

I like to think about first times- because they stand as a threshold to something much bigger than ourselves. My first introduction to Chinese Medicine was in 2003- here in Portland, through the low cost clinic at Outside In. I went to try it out, and to seek inspiration in my life and music. I was at a turning point in my life, and was seeking some deeper answers.

My acupuncturist suggested that I meditate after she had put the needles in and left the room. This was also the first time I meditated.

It was several years before I delved into Chinese Medicine again, but I never forgot that first introduction. Looking back, I realized, also, how unaware I was of my body at that time. I had symptoms that I didn’t bring up, and others that I didn’t realize were there in my body yet.

When I met my partner in 2008, he introduced me to Chinese herbs- and from there, by interest grew. I began looking into acupuncture and herb schools, but there was something off- a piece of the puzzle was not matching up for me. I didn’t agree with the high cost of going to graduate school, didn’t feel that it was right to charge such ahigh price for this ancient knowledge. I was looking for something different.

blog-imgAt this time, my partner became ill with an infection that had turned to MRSA, it was blocking circulating to his lower extremities, and had gotten into his blood.

He was miserable and scared- but mostly frustrated, that we weren’t able to do more ourselves for this. Eventually, one of the practitioners he saw identified a connection between the large quantity of soy he had been eating and a blockage and allergy that was being created in his body. This was like a ray of light.

Within one week of this diagnosis, I learned about a program at The Wellspring School for Healing Arts. The school taught Asian Bodywork and Holistic Nutrition. No needles, but a very thorough approach to Chinese Medicine. I learned that I would be able to study acupoints, Taoism, diagnostic theory, Chinese dietetics and herbs and supplements. In the Spring of 2010 I sat in on a class of 6 students and one teacher- an apprenticeship based program- just what I had been looking for! The deal was sealed. I signed up, and for the next two years plugged away at the new language of Chinese Medicine and Amma Therapy. After I graduated from the Amma Program, I continued on to the Holistic Nutrition Program, delving deeper into how to treat conditions with food and self care.

My path is still very present. I am planning on beginning my studies of Chinese herbs within the next year, and have a strong interest in disaster relief missions- both at home and abroad. As with everything I do in life, my heart is deeply seated in this path, and I look forward to each day that I get to spend with this medicine.

Looking back I am on the same path that I was when I began- moving deeper toward educating and helping others to deepen their knowledge of themselves and ability to access their own healing. Something my teacher, Rylen Feeney, said to me on our first phone call was “I don’t call myself a healer’ She said this because, to heal, one must commit to a path of healing and walk it on their own two feet. Even with a practitioner at your side, you still need to stand for yourself on your own two feet.

Summer Healing

Summer-HealingThe warmth of the summer and long days provide the best climate for accessing a deeper level of healing. We can break through cycles of symptoms in a couple of months, that would take much longer in the colder seasons.

Symptoms and Food

Symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia, menstrual disorders and nagging neck and shoulder pain may increase during the summer months.
Our dietary needs also change during the Summer. In the winter I recommend eating very little raw or cold food, as it injures our digestion and can slow metabolism. But during the summer, we may increase our intake of salads, the occasional smoothie and moist, nourishing fruits like berries and stone fruits. Adding in foods like mung beans, sprouts, melon and cucumber can cool and nourish the Yin of the body, aiding in soothing symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and irritability. Moistening foods like goat cheese, kefir and seaweeds are also lovely for anxiety and as an addition to a healing plan for neck and shoulder discomfort.

Summer is the time to dig deep, to challenge our body, because it will return and bounce back with increased fortitude in the cold months.
Summer-Healing