Jillian is an acupuncturist, osteopathic manual therapist, and herbalist, who received her Master’s degree from the The Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine in 2013. She continued to study manual osteopathic therapies such as visceral manipulation through the Barral Institute. By becoming aware of subtle pulls of the body, the practitioner can find the channels and points that will release blockages and restore flow. Jillian believes that the body has a way of informing us of exactly what it needs, and learns something new with every patient.
In the last couple of years she has implemented sound healing using tuning forks, vocalization and guiding clients on journeys through their Akashic Records to connect them with their spirit guides. In this work she is able to help people work with their unprocessed emotions in order to integrate parts of themselves and return to a state of wholeness.
Jillian enjoys living on the peninsula in all of its natural beauty. She spends her free time going to see bluegrass and other live music shows, rock climbing, snowboarding, playing the guitar, keyboard and charango.
Hello Jillian Rifkind, L.Ac., EAMP!
Welcome to the Acupuncturist of the Month interview.
So, how long have you been practicing acupuncture for, and what are your specialties?
I have been practicing just under ten years, specializing in emotional and mental health and the visceral system as it pertains to digestive issues and chronic pain.
What inspired you to become an acupuncturist?
I worked at a center for human trafficking victims and saw how Eastern medicine could be used inexpensively to support the public health sector and help people to get off of medications.
How do you feel your experience as a mental health worker has allowed you to better treat your patients on a physical and emotional level?
When I treat patients, I don’t see a physical and emotional level. We are so interconnected, and we are mostly energetic and emotional beings that we cannot separate these things in treatment. Over 90% of ER visits are due to stress or emotional trauma, and the energetic and emotional fields inform what is going on in the physical body. I feel lucky to be able to work with patients by listening to their bodies and allowing them to unfold as their trust in the medicine opens up. No longer do we have to separate the physical and emotional to heal.
Tell us more about osteopathic palpation. What health issues see the most benefit from this treatment?
Jean Pierre Barral is the innovator behind visceral manipulation, an osteopathic method of listening for restriction in the body and encouraging gentle awareness of the body’s natural rhythms so that it can return to equilibrium. This extends to work with cranial sacral, vascular, and lymphatic systems and is very helpful for restoring digestive, respiratory, elimination and reproductive function which affects so many aspects of our body. Chronic pain responds very well to this type of work. The organs are so crucial in our health that if there is an imbalance there, it will encroach on the peripheral parts of the body and cause shoulder pain, hip pain, neck and back pain, etc.
On your journey to become an acupuncturist, what obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
In school I struggled with the male dominated structure and was called out for being defensive. This goes back to childhood and I had to work on receiving with gratitude without worrying about feedback. I suppose this was good training for my career when encountering a difficult patient!
Share a recent success story you had with a patient. What acupuncture points, herbs, or other interventions (meditation, yoga, nutrition, etc) did you use to help them achieve results?
I helped a patient with an acute gallbladder attack. I used visceral manipulation to allow flow into the bile ducts, worked with the sphincter of oddi, used tuning forks to target unresolved anger affecting the liver, and used channel therapy to balance the wood and earth elements. The pain resolved for him and never came back.
Tell us about your time at Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine. What experiences at acupuncture school made a big impression on you?
SIEAM was a bit of a pressure cooker. About 10 students per our class, we lost a couple of students and got very close in proximity for a grueling schedule. I was fresh out of university and a summer of finishing up prerequisites, a vegetarian (now very much recovered to omnivore) and adrenally drained when I began. The container really supported my growth and I created lifelong relationships. My teachers supported me through a gnarly eye infection, UTI, headaches and fully finding my bliss and what I excel at. I should have taken a before and after picture!!
“An important part of keeping an acupuncture practice going is establishing boundaries and being loyal to making the practice about you. If you make your work about you and your passions, the right people will find you.” – Jillian Rifkind
What makes you feel inspired about East Asian Medicine?
I am inspired by the shifts on the planet that allow us to work with our subtle energy bodies. Wheras before 2020 I felt the need to use more needles, deep bodywork, cupping, gua-sha and more frequent treatments, the shifts have allowed me to work with the energetic body more, resolving trauma in the energy field and finding the path of least resistance- the smallest ligament within the viscera that can release mounds of tension throughout the entire fascia system!
I have noticed frequency shifts through my practice that have opened up potential for higher density shifts, less deep invasive treatment and more powerful transformations!
Looking back, what advice would you have given to the younger version of yourself, who was just getting started in this profession?
I would give her quarterly spreadsheets to ease the anxiety of starting a practice and suggest utilizing an outside billing department, resources like FreeUp and canva, and encourage her that it’s worth the freedom.
What keeps an acupuncture practice going?
An important part of keeping an acupuncture practice going is establishing boundaries and being loyal to making the practice about you. If you make your work about you and your passions, the right people will find you.
What are specific roadblocks to watch out for as a new acupuncturist?
Roadblocks can often include making too many sacrifices for patient care or losing the passion to serve. Being firm on your boundaries on availability and price is crucial especially when you are young and eager to serve. It’s easy to get burned out people pleasing and lose passion.
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 like water- stay in your resonance and allow the energy to create a mirror for the patient to see their own fluidity. Validate the frustration but maintain your own energy in not taking it on. Clear your energy after an interaction with someone; I like to imagine a waterfall of crystalline energy moving through my channels.
What are your favorite acupuncture points, and why?
Ht7 was a favorite while I was in school to help me sleep. I called it the “OFF” button because it helped shut off my brain. The joy point was the foundation of what I named my practice after a patient in school mentioned that was her Mom’s name. This point is good for depression. Early on in my practice I put an ear seed on the joy point and then later saw a rainbow outside. The joy was certainly palpable.
Tell us about some herbal formulas and foods you find yourself consistently recommending to your patients, friends, and colleagues. What makes these herbs/foods so helpful?
Liver as it has bioavailable iron and copper as well as an affinity for the liver. Oysters also contain a great copper/ zinc ratio. One of my patients and I trade for beautiful locally farmed oysters that have helped my nervous system and brain immensely.
You also offer a sound medicine journey with guided meditation, which is awesome. tell us why you decided to offer this service. What is the feedback from patients?
I have been working with sound vibrations since the beginning of the pandemic. I find that in many ancestral practices, frequency is an important way of bringing unprocessed emotions to the surface. Through using tuning forks and singing to clients I can help them resolve childhood trauma.
I have been delving deeper into this since I began studying the Akashic Records, which is an energy field that you can connect with through meditation which allows you to drop into wisdom from your guides, ancestors, higher self, inner child and archangels. Utilizing this channel or frequency, I can create a landscape for my clients to walk through in order for them to see what is in their highest benefit for healing and growth. I enjoy having a larger group together and utilizing singing bowls, drumming, rattles, co-creation in the group and singing to cultivate healing vibrations.
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 holistic practitioner that has helped you in your professional growth, or in your care for patients?
I frequently trade with other providers and maintain a fresh attitude when it comes to my work. My colleague and former teacher at SIOM has taught me a lot about working with the vagus nerve through gentle tei-shin work on the scalp which feels amazing!
The COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt had a significant impact on the acupuncture practice community and small businesses alike, and while it’s on the mend, we are still navigating through the new normal as acupuncture providers. How has COVID-19 changed your practice? Have you added or removed any services due to the pandemic?
I have a tiny postage stamp of an office and the Covid era required me to reserve the office as a 1:1 environment. When the next patient comes I have a seat setup for them in the hallway to wait. It is really nice because it maintains better boundaries for me and allows me to focus on one patient at a time.
Do you have any daily habits or rituals that keep you at your “best-self”, both as an acupuncture practitioner and person?
I use daily movement practices such as yoga and qi gong to stay balanced in my body. I enjoy rotating various practices in such as cold water plunges, wim-hof breathing, epsom salt baths, and hape ceremonies (sacred tobacco) to clear my energy and keep me in the flow
The kindest thing a patient said to you recently:
That some of my insights created an a-ha moment and changed their life.
You have an entire tribe within you.
The funniest thing a patient said to you recently:
A patient at a methadone clinic where I was working asked me what substance I put on the needles.
As an acupuncturist, what are you most proud of thus far in your professional journey?
I am proud that I can live the life that I love. I bring drumming, charango playing, singing into my practice, I get to travel for conferences and to participate in retreats, and I am always expanding my knowledge base and network.
If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it be and why?
If you want to change the world, start from within..
What is your definition of success?
The ability to make changes that make your life easier by increasing your productivity, joy and embodiment.
If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
Infinite Resilience, so that I could walk on fire, climb high altitude peaks, and travel and experience more without fatigue.
*Rapid fire questions! *:
Morning or night? Morning
Tea or coffee? Yea
Sun or moon? Moon
Cupping or Tui na? Cupping
Yin or Yang? Yin
Meditation or exercise? meditation
Instagram or Facebook? IG
Top 3 Favorite Books? Dirty Genes- Ben Lynch, the biology of belief bruce lipman tuning the human biofield eileen day mccusick
Where can other licensed acupuncturists, students, and patients go to learn more about your work?
Joy Point Acupuncture
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