After graduating from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in journalism, I came home to Los Angeles and enjoyed a career in feature film development. We made some fun movies—including the near-Academy Award-nominated The Fast and the Furious films and Cruel Intentions—and some terrible ones for which I secretly fear I may someday be karmically punished. At breakfast one morning in 2002, I eavesdropped on a conversation at the table next to me where a woman was talking about going to acupuncture school, and -on a whim- quit my job and enrolled at Emperor’s College the next day. After working at a few other clinics including the Immune Enhancement Project in San Francisco, I opened Poke Acupuncture in Los Angeles in 2009.
When I started my practice, I was all-too-pleased to declare that I don’t use crystals or wear billowy lavender yoga pants. “I’m not one of those healers,” I’d think, while insisting that any Caucasian who says “Namaste” must be a tiny bit deranged. But the longer I work- and frankly the more constipated and nauseated I am by the news, the images, the world- the more honored I am to practice a medicine that exists a little outside of reason; that reminds people of wonder and mystery, and that maybe seeks to soften the pointy didactic edges of scientific certainty. I am so proud that the very nature of what we do- “pinning someone down” without distraction- is in defiance of the neon buzz of the modern world, whose virtues of speed, volume and productivity have given us much, but too-often rob us of the experience of living deliberately and fully. What a rare privilege it is to spend my days sitting together with a stranger in the dark, waiting for something to happen. I am so thankful to serve as a reminder to my patients that more can be felt than seen, and that they are not just what they read the on the internet today. Rather, the grace and force that pushes them through their lives is the very same gravity that hung the moon in the sky.
My work has been heavily influenced by Johanna Hedva's seminal manifesto “Sick Woman Theory” which weaves together her biography of battling chronic illness with capitalism, white supremacy, sexism, and political resistance. In it, Hedva challenges the modern notion of “wellness” as a capitalist construct intended to bolster the instinct to go back to work for capitalism, which is more-than-often the thing that causes disease and detachment to begin with.