Julia Pinkham L.O.M. is a Certified Licensed in Oriental Medicine. Her training and degree in Chinese Herb practice comes from the Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly Tai Sophia Institute). She obtained her acupuncture therapy degree from the American Institute of Alternative Medicine in Columbus, Ohio. She has also obtained her Doctoral Degree from the Pacific College of Health and Science – San Diego. Julia is a native from Columbus Ohio. She graduated from Upper Arlington High School in 1997.
Julia’s pursuit of healthy living comes from the teachings of her mother, Dr. Sandra Pinkham. Her philosophy is to balance the inner body by providing support through different toxic reduction techniques. Her main focus is to provide integrative mind, body and soul therapies involving massage, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, reflexology, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, sound and other therapies to help you balance your life.
In the August Acupuncturist of the Month interview, we sit down with Julia and discuss her journey to acupuncture from her mother’s medical legacy, business advice, overcoming obstacles, how she’s handling the COVID-19 situation, and much more!
Read the full interview with Julia Pinkham, L.O.M. below.
Welcome, Julia Pinkham! Thank you for joining us for Acupuncturist of the Month!
So, how long have you been practicing acupuncture for?
I have been practicing acupuncture since 2005.
What inspired you to become an acupuncturist?
It was a natural next step for me when I came home to Columbus and to our office Pinkham Medical with a degree in massage therapy I went to the American Institute of Alternative Medicine to take the final class I needed to sit for the Ohio State Medical Board Licensure Exam they had just announced and started offering their new program of Masters in Acupuncture, so I enrolled.
We notice that in addition to acupuncture, you also have virtual classes available for patients. Tell us a little more about them. How have these classes helped your patients?
I started offering FaceBook live classes when we went under the stay at home order for the pandemic, but I’ve really enjoyed doing it and hope to continue offering these virtual classes on preventative medicine, oriental medicine, functional medicine and health topics.
What is functional medicine? How does it differ from TCM, and how do you incorporate it into your practice?
Functional medicine is part of what it is commonly referred to by my mother who was a pioneer in Integrative and alternative medicine including advanced blood work, genetic testing, diet, lifestyle, and nutritional supplementation. It is a good companion to Traditional Chinese Medicine, and also has a similar total approach of mind-body-spirit to influence wellness and health.
What are your specialties in acupuncture?
I am in a family practice, and treat all conditions: prevention, wellness, acute and chronic health concerns.
We see that your mother was an MD, and looks like she was a pioneer in the holistic and alternative medicine world. How did she inspire your work in the field of holistic healthcare and acupuncture?
Exactly, I always like to say I followed in my mother’s footsteps by not following in her footsteps, and that I was born into this field. It is quite an honor and a privilege to have worked with her together here in our family practice for the past twenty years. She was a great physician, and I am blessed and grateful to be here to be carrying on her legacy.
What is one thing about acupuncture & oriental medicine, that to this day, still amazes you?
It is fascinating, yes. I am surprised today still at the quick recovery some people have with even chronic pain, and when they recover completely they can improve their quality of life which is amazing always.
On your journey to become an acupuncturist, what obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Well, the legislature has changed over time here in Ohio, originally my masters in Chinese Herbology was not recognized, and I worked under and with my mother prescribing Chinese Herbal formulas often for complimentary Cancer care. I also have hoped that Acupuncture would be covered by Medicare and Medicaid one day, as my mother was a provider for both, and it seems to be moving in that direction as well helping patients get access to alternative medicine treatments.
Looking back, what advice would you have given to the younger version of yourself, who was just getting started in this profession?
I guess in retrospect, I had wanted to be a counselor, and perhaps that would have been a good direction to have gone in initially in undergraduate studies, although I don’t know if I would have changed anything. I suppose I would have liked to have studied for a longer period of time in China, although that could still happen one day. I think take it easy and keep going would be good advice to anyone starting out.
Running a practice is not a simple or easy task – what do you feel was the biggest challenge in getting your practice up and running?
When I started out in my first year entering all the expenses and payments in Quickbooks it didn’t add up, and I said to my Dad, “Dad, I don’t know should I just get a job?” and he said no, keep going. Same from my Uncle Perk who explained what it takes for a business to succeed in the first few years and the costs of business ect. I was able to keep growing and grow year after year.
What keeps an acupuncture practice going?
Patients, and word of mouth referrals. Happy customers telling their families, and friends how and why you helped them improve their lives.
What makes you feel inspired about acupuncture?
It is magical and transformative with many “invisible” benefits and outcomes.
What has been the most rewarding moment so far in your career as an acupuncturist?
Watching someone heal is always amazing. I am always just taken back when someone gets this opportunity and I can witness this process.
We have all occasionally had a patient come into our practice who is upset, frustrated, and a little angry. Maybe it’s from work, being stuck in traffic, or life in general – we have all been there! What advice would you give to fellow acupuncture students and/or colleagues on how to deal with situations like these?
Be gentle and kind, practice respect and tolerance, don’t take it personally, and realize this is also still your opportunity to help to heal their mind-body-spirit too.
What are your favorite acupuncture points, and why?
I love Shen men, Heart 7, Ren 17. I guess I am an open the heart kind of gal.
Sometimes, the best resource for improving our skills is by learning from the other acupuncturists we meet along our professional journey. What is one thing you learned from a fellow acupuncturist or other holistic practitioner, that has helped you in your professional growth, or in your care for patients?
I have had and do have some really amazing teachers and colleagues that I rely on everyday in practice. I guess I would give a shout out to Cara Frank, she was my teacher at Tai Sophia Institute in the Chinese Herbal masters program I took there, and I often quote her in saying “Chinese Medicine is God’s gift to woman” and more recently with her work on inflammation and heat clearing herbs which calm the spirit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt had a significant impact on the acupuncture practice community and small businesses alike. As the economy progresses to re-opening acupuncture offices and other businesses, how have you been handling the COVID-19 situation as an acupuncture practice owner and individual? What advice or wisdom would you like to share with other acupuncturists who are also navigating through these sensitive times?
I took the stance to continue coming to my office every day, so I am here 8:30-4:30. Even if I am not working with patients, there is always work to do. So, I am in the back of the office, or sitting out front, or working on lifelong learning and teaching. Writing will be my next pursuit in my professional career.
I hopped onto FaceBook Live for example to keep in contact with my patient audience, and I will like I am here today be here to answer calls and talk with my patients connecting “virtually”. I think absolutely knowing what we don’t know, and keeping up with the situation unfolding before us in real time and understanding that we learn from failure and have room to grow and improve as a global community is a helpful perspective and attitude to have.
Do you have any daily habits or rituals that keep you at your “best-self”, both as an acupuncture practitioner and person?
Yes, I am taking good care of myself these days, sleep well, eat well, move well, and think well. I get up early and water my plants, walk my dogs, sit and meditate read and pray. When I come home I cook and eat with my kids, take a bath and rest and recover just relax and enjoy life more today.
The kindest thing a patient said to you recently:
“Your husband is the luckiest man in the world” that was pretty nice, right.
The funniest thing a patient said to you recently:
If they could just come in every day.
If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it be and why?
My favorite slogan is “Balance and Harmony”
Where can licensed acupuncturists, students, and patients go to learn more about your work?
www.PinkhamMedical.com and Pinkham Medical on Facebook
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