Hello again everyone! Summer is still in bloom moving on past its peak. I love this time of year with the hot breezes, bone warming heat of the sun, and dramatic thunderstorms. It’s not for everyone, I know…

Recently, I’ve had many requests that I do a newsletter about myself and my personal history, so here it goes:

I was born and raised in Chicago by 2 immigrant parents. As the youngest, with 2 older brothers, we are all first generation Americans. I have very little extended family in the US. My name is pronounced Amay like; a May a June a July. I’m also good with being called Amy.

In 2001, at age 23, I enrolled in the Chinese Medicine Masters degree program at OCOM (Oriental College of Chinese Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. [I would like to note that the term “Oriental” is outdated and I hope the graduate school will change their name as many other institutions have]. At the time, I was working at a homeless youth shelter in Portland and wanted to go back to school for a career in something in the field of alternative or herbal medicine. I learned about OCOM’S Chinese Medicine program and enrolled. I had only had a few Acupuncture treatments at the time but they had all been very powerful. I was drawn to the potential that some day I could hold the knowledge of this powerful medicine inside myself.

As I progressed through the program, the more I learned, the more the theory of the Medicine resonated within me. The way of Chinese medicine is to observe inherent patterns in the natural world. Hot air rises, cool air sinks, day and night. These are the foundations of yin and yang.

While I was in enrolled in the 4 year program, Lisa Rohleder, a recent graduate from my school, opened up a clinic that at the time was called Window of the Sky. This was the first Community Acupuncture clinic in the US founded around 2003. Her clinic was definitely the buzz of my school. She gave several presentations and I went to hear her speak numerous times. Her words made such sense to me. I knew at that time that I wanted to practice Community Acupuncture.

Lisa has since renamed her clinic Working Class Acupuncture, opened up several branch clinics around Portland, founded the Peoples Organization of Community Acupuncture (the coop organization uniting community clinics), written several books (which you can read in our waiting room), and started a school called Poca-Tech which is solely a community acupuncture practitioner training program. She is the founder of community Acupuncture in this country. I have written about her several times in past newsletters (which you can read on the newsletter page of our website. Click here.) She continues to be an instrumental force in the Community Acupuncture movement.

After I graduated  OCOM, I started a community clinic two nights a week in a community center in Eugene, Oregon. I made cut and paste black and white flyers and advertised on community boards around town. I ended up seeing a lot of patients that way as a new practitioner.  A few years later, when I moved to Asheville, I did the same thing; distributed another round of hand-made cut and paste black and white flyers and set up a community clinic twice a week. This time at Firestorm Cafe. Firestorm was in its first few years of existence then and was located where Adissae Ethiopian restaurant currently sits downtown. Around the same time, in 2008, People’s Acupuncture was being started by Elizabeth Ropp and Sam Soemardi. Many of you may remember Elizabeth. She heard of my clinic at Firestorm and came to get a treatment from me. Shortly after, I met Sam and they invited me to team up with them as co-owner and practitioner at the People’s Acupuncture of Asheville. I told everyone I had gotten my dream job and I still feel that way to this day.

At that time, The People’s Acupuncture was on Charlotte street. Many of you remember that location as well. After about 2 years of moving recliners around every time is rained due to a leaky roof, we decided to look for a new location. The clinic was starting to grow significantly at that time.

I found our current location through a Craigslist add and we moved in with one moving truck and lots of patient volunteers in 2010. About a year later, Elizabeth left the practice to move to Massachusetts and work for another community Acupuncture clinic. After that, it was just Sam and I year after year. We had some other practitioners join us for a time. Some of you may remember Annie Masaoka or Adam Barnes. Then as most of you know, I took over sole ownership of the clinic this year in January and Sam left at the end of June.

I still feel like this is my dream job. Running the clinic solo is a whole new amazing chapter in what has been a 15+ year business adventure. I have learned so much over the years on how to be a better practitioner and business owner. It definitely takes a strong team. I am so grateful to have found that team in Leah the clinic administrator, and our wonderful practitioners Tara and Kat.

I have learned so much from my patients as well. I continue to learn everyday. Thank you all!

In addition to my work at People’s Acupuncture, I have been involved in many of the addiction recovery programs around Asheville. I recently ran the Acupuncture recovery program at Crestview Recovery Center. Acupuncture is an amazingly effective addition to recovery programs. Check out Dope is Death on Youtube. It is a documentary about the roots of Acupuncture in addiction recovery which I highlighted in a previous newsletter. (Click here to go article.)

Outside my work as an Acupuncturist, I live on 4 1/2 acres in West Asheville with my long time partner, my cat and dog. I have a large garden that gets mostly eaten by groundhogs but I try. Most of the flowers in the bouquets at the clinic come from my personal flower garden. Also, Leah has been very generous in bringing in hydrangeas from her bushes. In my free time I like cooking, reading, hiking, walking, and sitting around a fire in the evenings.

So that’s me. I hope to see everyone at the clinic soon!

With love,

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The People’s Acupuncture of Asheville