According to the Chinese philosopher Confucius, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Imitation, observation, and reflection can help fine-tune our competencies, but true wisdom comes from experience.

When you practice acupuncture long enough; when you start to see the world through the lenses of Chinese medicine it begins to change your instinct. Putting your skin and heart in the game, creates the conditions and circumstances that allows the fundamentals of our medicine to teach you. It will change your perception and thinking. Gazing through the tides of Yin & Yang or the interplay of the 5 phases will awaken something that will allow you to see otherwise hidden things. There seems to be a spirit in the work we do.

In this conversation with David Allen, we touch on the curious path that brought him to Chinese medicine and pediatrics. He talks about the influence of a mentor and the idea of a native intelligence that points us in the direction of our hearts’ desire. We also riff a little on the malleability of acupuncture and the importance of reading between the lines in the clinic.

Listen into this discussion on the choices we make throughout our lives, the people who intersect us on our path, and how our hunches sometimes act as a reliable form of navigation.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • David’s journey into acupuncture and pediatrics.
  • The realization that comes from the periphery and the role of intuition
  • Interpreting and bringing together the five phases and six Qi in clinic
  • The malleability of acupuncture
  • The value of putting our heart and skin in the game as practitioners
  • David’s experience seeing a ghost
  • Reading between the lines, being able to hear the patient, and the playfulness that goes with practice.
  • Nurturing the ability to glean patients

The two things you learn from a mentor are information and style. Information contains the logistics of doing acupuncture, prescribing herbs, and the rest of the nitty gritty of being able to perform good medicine for the patient. Style refers to the personality you have while doing it.

David graduated from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine with his masters in 2007, and again with his doctorate in 2016. He spent many years studying directly under Alex Tiberi, widely considered to be the foremost expert on pediatric acupuncture and herbalism in the Western world. Part of this training included developing painless, needle-free alternatives to acupuncture, and safe, healthy, and tasty herbal formulas for a wide variety of conditions. David travels extensively in Korea and China furthering his studies in pediatrics. David is a faculty member at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, the nation's educational leader in Traditional East Asian Medicine. He also supervises acupuncture students at the Integrative Medicine program at Rady's Children's Hospital of San Diego.

David believes that all children deserve every chance at a healthy and happy life, and has devoted his life to helping them achieve their highest potential. While he specializes in pediatrics, David also treats adults for a wide range of ailments


Links and Resources

Visit David on his website at


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