Another guest blog – a student’s perspective.

Hi folks. This month I would like to share with you an essay one of my students wrote at the end of our Community Acupuncture Practice Development (that’s quite a mouthful) class at AIMC in Berkeley. Linda is a first year acupuncture student and she stumbled upon my class when she and a classmate sat in on the first session. I am grateful that she gave me permission to share this:

Except for a few minor adjustments, this is the essay that I sent to
the administrators at AIMC about 8 months ago to familiarize themselves with me
before they considered my application for admission. It is not that I am being
lazy that I am sending this, but rather that I feel what your class has given
me ties in most synergistically to my “statement of purpose” and I wanted to
share that with you.In a way I think
that my essay speaks to the “why I am here” while your class taught me the “how
I can make it happen”. Did I say synergy? – With Gratitude. Linda


My father was an herbalist for years in the small village where we
lived in China prior to 1962. His work was to provide herbal prescriptions to
our neighbors and friends in the village. When we arrived in the US in 1970,
when I was a mere 4 months old, it had been over 8 years since my father
practiced since the profession did not yield enough money to support his 8
children, wife and elderly mother. However at home, the brewing of herbs and
the rubbing in of tinctures never abated. In our dining room in San Francisco
we had 2 floor-to-ceiling cabinets for medicinals. One cabinet was jam-packed
with jars of roots, twigs, leaves, of dead animals swimming in tea-colored
liquid. The other cabinet was filled mostly with miscellany, but one shelf
comprised of our “western” pharmaceuticals where we kept bandages, cotton
balls, alcohol, and one bottle of Bayer aspirin. So, it was with this armory
that my parents raised all 8 of us to be healthy and thriving. I didn’t realize
how radical my parents were being by keeping close tabs of our bodies, before
illness set in. We didn’t have medical insurance so illness would have been a
very expensive and confusing ordeal for us. All I knew was that they were
always looking at our tongues and boiling soups and teas for us.How did my parents become so evolved to be
able to foresee the power of prevention? I learned one can do so much with so

But actually it wasn’t until relatively recently that I learned that in
fact in China it was more common to treat people before imbalance and disease
set in, than after the fact. Floored, I thought, what if all poor or working
class families had access to affordable health care that allowed them to keep
their families healthy and disease-free? America, our land of the free, would
be a different place! Now as my parents are nearing the end of their lives, I
realize that they have left quite the legacy in me and I am eager to forge
ahead. The big difference is in addition to checking my family members’ tongues
and boiling soups and teas for them as needed, I am venturing to become a
practitioner in TCM and I venture to explore the world of community acupuncture
as a model. This model for a clinic is new to me as it has just been introduced
during this class, but when I look back into my history, I find that it is
closer to my purpose than I would have ever imagined.

Recently I have come to realize that at a high level, the apparent
meandering of my educational pursuits reveal to me this decidedly particular
path. Would it be so strange to say that this was all meant to be?Majoring in psychology revealed to me my
proclivity to help people in need, engage people on a personal level, encourage
awareness and responsibility. I was extremely attracted to learning a method
with which I could heal. After my second year, I shifted my focus to sociology,
as I unearthed my interest in creating effective change in communities in need,
with a particular interest in working on imbalances of power with regard to sex
and class. After graduation, and some traveling in Asia, I felt that academia
and private practice psychological consultations were not for me, and that in
fact I wanted something in which I felt less theoretical and more engaged, more
practical and more hands-on.

Finally, the “education” that I acquired most recently while running a
small but thriving technology business with my partner for the last 10 years
has revealed to me my ability to handle and manage the operations of a
business. That I can take these skills which I have acquired and apply them to
work that is evermore compelling to me is really exciting. Because once I learn
this medicine, I will be able to combine a whole life’s worth of learning and
discovery and ultimately build a practice that is socially, politically, and
spiritually meaningful to me without having to recreate the proverbial wheel.
Soon, it will be my turn to contribute.

Author: tatyana

<p> I grew up in the Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States as a teen, living in New York and Chicago before moving to the Bay Area in 1998. I began as a Yoga instructor and as a practitioner of Ohashiatsu bodywork and have been practicing Acupuncture/Chinese Medicine since 2003. Before switching to community acupuncture practice model I had a sporadic and struggling private practice, worked as an herbal pharmacist, as an instructor and clinical supervisor at an acupuncture school, plus did a two-year stint doing acupuncture at a public health clinic, working with mostly HIV/HCV+ populations in San Francisco. </p> <p> My discovery of Community Acupuncture practice model (via Lisa Rohleder's Acupuncture Today columns) profoundly transformed my life -- not just my work life but many other aspects of it. I gained a vocation, a community of friends and the most stable and rewarding job I have ever had. I see community acupuncture practice model as the most sustainable and most fitting to my values. It makes sense to me from the point of view of healthcare access, social justice, spirituality, and as an antidote to isolation. In 2008, together with another stellar acupunk Pam Chang I...

Related Articles

Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.

Survey of CAN clinics

Skeptics in the acupuncture community say that CA clinics can’t be successful.  A variety of reasons are cited – prices too low, patients want one-on-one attention and wouldn’t like treatments in a room with other people, Dr.


  1. Thank you

    Thank you for sharing that, the stress of being in acupuncture school sometimes makes it hard for me to remember why I wanted to study this medicine at all.  Now I remember…