The most powerful lessons come not from a school curriculum, but from life. Our world is full of both problems and opportunities. There is what we struggle against, and what we stand for. And the unfolding dance of yin/yang reminds us that everything has aspects of its opposite. Problems contain opportunity. Injustices in the world catalyze our values and actions in the world that in turn create a new balance.
“Let yourself be guided silently by that strange power of what you really love.”
In this conversation with Bess and Kyle, we explore their journey of creating a free student-run acupuncture clinic as an avenue to mature as professionals and scratch an itch for social justice-oriented and community-based work. We touch on the existing disparities in health care and their desire to change the narrative around acupuncture, its perceived accessibility, and how it is a potent medicine for healing that invites people into their own power.
Listen into this discussion on the radical nature of acupuncture, finding opportunities to further your vision of what’s possible, and creating something that aligns with your heart.
In This Conversation We Discuss:
- Nurturing the idea and living the experience of helping run a free clinic
- Acupuncture as a radical and revolutionary form of medicine in America
- The optimistic lens of Chinese medicine and Zheng (upright) Qi
- Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine at a crossroads
- Acupuncture as a conversation
- Friendship and leaning on each other’s qualities
- “How do you create that ideal clinic, service, or practice that is truly yours to create? What does it take?”
- Commit and fall in love with what you want to create
- Stepping out of mainstream conventions
- What does your practice look like today?
- Are we practicing Chinese medicine, or is it practicing us
Your story and spirit offer something unique to your practice. That magnetism will attract your patients, your people. Trust that you both have something to teach one another.
Bess Randles, L.Ac
With a love for physiology and creative inquiry, I graduated from Oberlin College with a dual degree in studio art and biology. In medicine, I found their confluence, and logically began the journey towards a medical doctorate. In this pursuit, however, I fell in love with Chinese medicine. Already having been accepted to medical school, I found myself pinned down to a massage table and in absolute awe of acupuncture’s potency, artistry, compassion, individualized approach, and sustainability.
One year after my first acupuncture experience, I left Alpert Medical School to pursue and receive a degree from OCOM, returning to Rhode Island by way of Nepal. In Providence, I use acupuncture, herbal medicine, bodywork, and whole food supplements to empower patients with their health and sense of self. I am particularly interested in the opportunities Chinese medicine provides to heal emotional trauma and its associated physical manifestations.
A clinical encounter is a meeting of experts: you are the expert of the medicine, and the patient is the expert of their experience.
Kyle Yoshioka, L.Ac
Kyle is a Licensed Acupuncturist based in Portland, Oregon. As a clinician, they prioritize transparency and empowerment to build relationships of radical trust. This approach is informed by the various communities they represent and support as a biracial, nonbinary, neurodivergent queer person.
In addition to their work as an acupuncturist, Kyle is a writer and long-time advocate for institutional reform in both higher education and healthcare. Equity, abolitionist frameworks, Black liberation, Indigenous sovereignty, anti-orientalism, trans liberation, feminism, sex and kink positivity, body neutrality, trauma-informed care, class struggle, and intersectionality (with credit to Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw and the Combahee River Collective) inform of all of Kyle’s various projects.
Kyle has a background in Japanese martial arts (both of their parents hold black belts in Shotokan Karate) and worked for years as a yoga teacher before becoming an acupuncturist.