Acupuncturist of the Month

A Year in Review: Our Acupuncturists of the Month

…and What We’ve Learned

In 2021, ACE featured an all new set of acupuncturists to share their experiences, expertise, and knowledge of practicing Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine. Sometimes, the best way to grow within a profession is to learn from your fellow colleagues, and hear how they help and achieve results for patients. This year we interviewed some amazing acupuncturists, each of which was packed full of insight, skill, and accomplishments. As 2021 comes to an end, we are taking a look at the highlights of “Acupuncturist of the Month” interviews to set ourselves up for exponential growth in learning from one another as professionals in the year ahead of us.

Leonie Wims, L.Ac

Leonie is a licensed acupuncturist in the state of Florida and also has certifications as a home health aide and certified nurse assistant. She specializes in pain management, internal medicine, and herbal therapy, and has a special place in her heart for being of help to the veteran community.

“Patients who are deathly afraid of needles inspire me. Why? To watch a patient’s disposition go from total apprehension, doubt, and fear to relaxed and comfortable is something I never tire of. Through acupuncture, I am given the opportunity to change people’s lives daily.”

Why is auricular acupuncture so helpful and important?

From my experience, patients who have a very high pain tolerance, those on psych medications, and those on very high doses of pain medications take longer to respond to body acupuncture. I have found the positive response to treatments for back, shoulder, knee, and hip pain is better with auricular therapy. Auricular therapy is important for many reasons. One of which is community acupuncture. When doing community style acupuncture, auricular therapy is most time efficient, and is as effective; sometimes more than body acupuncture. Being able to effectively treat a patient with auricular therapy allows you to reach and treat very old injuries that will manifest in the ear. Whereas these old injuries may not show doing body acupuncture.

Dr. Soraya Faris Applegate, DAOM, L.Ac

Soraya is a licensed acupuncturist in the state of Hawaii practicing acupuncture, life coaching, yoga, and more in her practice Soulistic Houlistics. Additionally, she studied acupuncture, herbal medicine, and medical Qi Gong with Dr. Chang Yi Hsiang, the founder of World Medicine Institute.

“My definition of success is health, an ability to adapt to life’s changes and challenges, enough money to support yourself and your family in the style you choose to live, community, friends, and feeling a connection with your soul’s purpose.”

Tell us more about SCIO biofeedback, and what made you decide to implement it?

The SCIO biodfeedback therapy is a high tech quantum energetic device. I was first introduced to it by a colleague while I was in acupuncture school. It reads the energetic frequencies which are causing stress in the body. It gives extremely detailed information, which is fascinating. I bought the machine while I was in school, I used it on myself and my family. I actually used the super learning programs while I was studying for my NCCAOM exams! I love science and technology. It’s a great asset to my clinical practice – pairing ancient Chinese medicine with quantum energetic healing!

Heather Wheeler, L.Ac

Heather is a licensed acupuncturist and certified functional medicine practitioner in the state of Missouri where she practices acupuncture, cosmetic acupuncture, nutrition services, and more in her practice Wheeler Acupuncture & Functional Wellness.

“My greatest happiness is hearing a patient was able to stop taking pain medications.”

We see that you have a background in nutrition education, how has that helped you in your implementation of TCM nutrition in your practice?

My nutrition background and love of cooking has helped me to counsel patients in steps they can take at home to help manage their issues. When they see that the food they’re eating is contributing to their illness, then they are able to be an active participant in their own treatment.

Kathy Veon, DAOM, AP, CCN

Kathy is a licensed acupuncturist and board certified clinical nutritionist in the state of Florida where she practices acupuncture, nutritional healing, iodine therapy, functional medicine, and more in her practice Central Florida Preventive Medicine. She is also the committee chair of continuing education with the International and American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists.

“We are all students, and we are all teachers. We can all remember who we are, and discover and share our unique gifts with each other.”

What keeps an acupuncture practice going?

First of all, I think it’s a passion for helping and being a healer and a teacher for our patients. Becoming an ‘expert’ in your field of interest…be that ‘go-to’ acupuncturist for the area of practice that most interests and inspires you. The right patients will be drawn to you because you are, and offer, what they need to heal. Also, take time to heal yourself and stay balanced.

Dr. Deborah Rinehart, RN, DACM

Jordan is the owner of Willow Tree Acupuncture & Wellness in Seminole, FL. She spent 20 years as a registered nurse in the Tampa Bay area specializing in pediatrics, transplant, and critical care. She is a board-certified and licensed acupuncture physician in the state of Florida, and earned her doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine from the Pacific College of Health and Science.

“Finding balance in my professional and personal life leads to health mentally and physically. Additionally, balance for my community and the world. I would love to see balance restored for every being on the planet so we can all live in harmony.”

What are specific roadblocks to watch out for as a new acupuncturist?

Forgive yourself. If you make a mistake of any kind or a treatment does not go as planned, just forgive yourself or even the patient. If there are a lot of reschedules or cancelations, forgive, otherwise you could build resentment with the patient or yourself.

Set boundaries. Whether it is money, payment, appointments, days you work, etc. Set boundaries that will keep you healthy and in an abundant state of mind.

Check out local business advice like a chamber of commerce or a SCORE program. Find a mentor (typically free) who has business experience to vent questions about being in business. I have used the program more than once and it is a great resource for starting out in small business or even if you want to expand or hire employees. 

Michelle Bouchard, L.Ac, RYT

Michelle Bouchard has served as the only acupuncturist in Ligonier, PA for over 20 years, and is currently working in 2 different clinics in Latrobe and Greensburg, PA. In addition to graduating from Meiji College of Oriental Medicine in CA, she also attended a 500-hour yoga teacher training course also in CA, and later ramped up her yoga teaching certification to include pilates. Chinese medicine, acupuncture, yoga, and shamanism are her unique tools to help patients on their path to wellness.

“What makes me feel inspired about acupuncture is that it looks at the person as a unique being. Even two different people with the same diagnosis are unique.”

For other acupuncturists who desire to publish their own book one day, what advice would you give them?

I tried to make this book as user-friendly as possible. Chinese medicine is still gaining momentum as a viable alternative to Western medicine. In order to bridge the gap, I believe practitioners are in the unique position to make the medicine more accessible and more fun! I LOVE the work that I do. I hope that comes through in my book, and if there is a book that is calling you to be written, I say “do it”!

Jonathan Fields DAOM

Jonathan is an internationally renowned integrative medicine practitioner, martial & visual artist, author, and public speaker. In his clinic in south Florida where he specializes in acupuncture, functional medicine, herbs, PRP, stem cells, and IV therapy. He is also a licensed primary care provider in the state of Florida.

“Always be your authentic self, and treat your patients like family.”

In your research for “Dangers of Scientific Bias Against Herbal Drugs for Coronavirus Disease 2019”, did you find that the risks outlined in the original article were accurate regarding the herbal products?

Not even remotely. They actually didn’t even dispute the safety of the product in question. Instead, they tried to dig up dirt about an old case from 30 years ago where 8 people were injured and all survived. The entire premise was just a propaganda hit piece to discredit alternative treatments.

Dr. Henry Park, DACM, L.Ac

Harry is graduated from the American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with a Masters degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He is now licensed by the NCCAOM and Texas. He is actively engaged in acupuncture volunteering for elderly people at a senior living center in his community.

“There is no finish line in learning. After four years from the graduation of my acupuncture school, I still feel hungry for TCM knowledge.”

Tell is about some herbal formulas and foods you find yourself consistently recommending to your patients, friends, and colleagues. What makes these herbs/foods so helpful?

I recommend often taking Dan Shen, Salvia root. The main action is to invigorate blood. It helps prevent possible angina and other cardiovascular diseases. It is a relatively very safe herb and generally speaking, it is safe for youngsters to take for a long term.

Thank You to all of our Acupuncturists

Well, that’s a wrap!

We learned so much from our fellow acupuncturists this year, and had a great time learning about their specialties and triumphs as acupuncture providers, and as individuals.

The next year of acupuncturists is sure to bring in providers from all walks of life to give us more takeaways in 2022.

Until then, have a very happy new year from all of us at ACE, and as always, take care of each other.