Dr. Jenna Valentine is the owner and primary practitioner at Valentine Care in Austin, TX. She is a Doctor of Chinese medicine and licensed acupuncturist certified by the Texas Medical Board. Jenna uses a holistic, multi-modality approach when treating clients and offers acupuncture, cupping therapy, bodywork, Chinese herbs, and much more. In addition, Valentine Care has an intimacy coaching and somatic discovery component to ensure that clients are all living their best – and most integrated- lives. She is the creator of the Aggressive Self Care Card deck, is in the process of publishing her first book, and enjoys public speaking and storytelling. When not working with clients, Jenna can be found at the gym, hanging with her daughter, reading too many books at one time, laughing loudly at comedy shows, and eating way too much Mexican food.
Jenna’s diverse background includes working in the realm of child welfare and juvenile justice, the Veteran’s Administration, drug recovery clinics, low income health care clinics, and an elite matchmaking firm. She is quick to laugh and slow to judge, believes there is no such thing as TMI and is extremely passionate about empowering others to take control of their wellness journey.
Hello Dr. Jenna Valentine, DACM, L.Ac, Dipl.OM!
Welcome to the Acupuncturist of the Month interview!
So, how long have you been practicing acupuncture for, and what are your specialties?
I’ve have my own acupuncture practice for around 3 years now, but have been seeing patients since 2016. I made a conscious decision to avoid specializing so that I can have the best opportunity to help whoever walks through my door. However, I have ended up working a lot with men’s health, intimacy and also skin care. It sometimes feels so random, but I love that I get a wide variety and couldn’t be bored if I tried!
What inspired you to become an acupuncturist?
My background is in child welfare and juvenile justice, but when I went through a divorce it really gave me the opportunity to explore other passions. Acupuncture had been part of my life for decades and I would aggressively (with love) recommend it to everyone in my life. It took a dramatic life change to realize that I could be the one doing the thing I loved so much.
You have a psychology background; can you tell us how that has influenced your TCM treatments today? What led you to pursue acupuncture instead?
It 1000% influences my treatments. I’m so grateful that my psychology background was part of my winding path into Chinese medicine. It allows me to meet people at a deeper level so we can work on body, mind and emotional/spiritual wellness in a truly holistic and integrated way. It has also given me the gift of being able to hold space for anything that comes up in sessions. I believe that only working with the mind isn’t sufficient to full scope healing and wanted the ability to work with bodies as well to move energy and access the deep healing that is often separate from our verbal brain.
We see that you do coaching on relationships and intimacy – very interesting! How did you become interested in these services for your patients?
YES! Sex and relationships are two highly charged areas in almost everyone’s lives and yet we often avoid the topic or get uncomfortable with it. It can be so helpful to have a space that can allow for all parts of a person – including their intimate lives. Acupuncture is an amazing way to support libido, erectile function, etc, so it makes sense to be talking about this stuff. I started the intimacy coaching business before my acupuncture business while I was going through my divorce. People in my life started asking me to talk to their friends/ family/ coworkers/ neighbors about divorce and intimacy which became unsustainable and I decided to create a business around it. I kind of thought this would be a buffer and then I wouldn’t be doing it anymore, but people started hiring me and the rest is history. Now, it’s a beautiful way to help clients delve into self love and engage in more fulfilling relationships.
Tell us about your book “Mantras of Bad B!tches”. What inspired you to write this book?
This book was in my heart for so long. I felt there wasn’t an alternative voice that offerred a humrous and slightly irreverent approach to spiritual work, so I added mine to the mix. It’s meant to draw in the people who think meditation isn’t for them because they don’t look/act/talk like a ‘meditator.’ So, I call bullsh!t on that and offer an easy way to begin.
On your journey to become an acupuncturist, what obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Well, I hadn’t been a student in decades, so that was an adjustment. Figuring out how to work, single parent, stay connected with my loved ones, stay committed to exercise and do all the regular life things on top of an intense and long graduate program and then doctorate program was. . . a lot. Luckily, I have a lot of grit and believe so deeply in this medicine that giving up was never an option.
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 LOVE this question. Today I had a client come in on crutches from knee pain due to an injury. Using the balance method, he was able to walk out holding his crutches! We were both amazed. He also left with a bottle of Golden Flower’s Trauma 1 formula and some herbal topical. I added in ear shenmen which I tend to do anytime there is pain. We did a little light cupping on the IT bands of both legs which were tight and I suggested an epsom salt bath. The success stories are miraculous. I probably wouldn’t believe them if I wasn’t witnessing them daily.
You have worked with so many great organizations such as the Veterans Administration, the Austin Recovery Center, People’s Community Clinic, and more! Was there a particular experience that touched you the most or that you feel influenced your practice the most?
Y’all really ask amazing questions. There was this amazing man who came in at the Veteran’s Administration with low back pain and a lot of life stress. He was pretty old school and a bit of a curmudgeon, so I knew I was going out on a limb when I suggested he incorporate yoga and meditation into his life. He responded with, “well, I don’t know about all that, but I did recently start to lay on my floor and stretch and breathe for about an hour every day.” I told him that he was probably doing more yoga and meditation than any of the acupuncturists he’d met and we had such a good laugh. It reminded me not to get wrapped up in the words and labels I’m familiar with. I call it yoga. He calls it stretching and breathing. But, we are talking about the same thing and it was such a great reminder to meet people where they are at and use that language that resonates for them.
What advice would you give to other acupuncturists who want to implement a multitude of modalities within their practice in a seamless way as you have?
Call me and we can chat! Lol – honestly, though – I love talking with other acupuncturists about how I run my business. I’d say the most important quality is to stay curious. I love having a multitude of modalities so that I have the best shot of finding the exact tool in my large tool box for each individual client. I want this medicine to be individualized for each client and be able to see what modalities work best for each person. It also keeps me interested in learning everything that’s out there. Clients love that I’m always seeking and learning new modalities and trying things with them because they know I’m always out hunting for whatever is going to help them the most. Be curious. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Remember that laughter is medicine too, so if you mess up a new modality and laugh with your client about it – that is it’s own version of vibrational healing!
“Acupuncture is this powerful yet gentle medicine. It works WITH the body instead of against it.” – Dr. Jenna Valentine