I knew relatively early in life that I was going to be a healer, but wasn’t sure about which path I would take to become a Lafayette acupuncturist. So at the grand age of 23 years, I traveled throughout Mexico and Central America, practicing basic acupressure techniques on people and promoting vegetarianism as I practiced my Spanish. After a year in the university of life, I returned to UC Berkeley and completed my degree in Nutrition and Food Science.
I then travelled to Asia to teach English, and it was in Taiwan that one of my students, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, turned me on to herbs and acupuncture. I was there in the winter when it was cold, rainy and polluted, and I was getting sick all the time. The acupuncture and herbs worked wonders, clarified my direction in life, (and I stopped being a vegetarian).
I returned to San Francisco in 1988 to study at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. After graduating with a Masters of Science and getting licensed in California, I practiced in Berkeley and San Francisco at Quan Yin Healing Arts and the Immune Enhancement Project.
I treated a lot of HIV/AIDS, and this was a life-transforming experience. Combination drug therapies for HIV had not yet arrived, and my patients relied on acupuncture and herbs to help maintain their health and help combat the wide variety of opportunistic infections and disorders that arose from a weakened immune system. Needless to say, my knowledge, skills, and empathy increased dramatically from the experience.
I also got involved in acupuncture policy and served on the board of the California State Oriental Medical Association for eight years. In addition to serving as president, editor in chief of the California Journal of Oriental Medicine, and producing 5 acupuncture conferences, I helped shepherd seven pieces of legislation that were signed into law and increased the public’s access to high quality Acupuncture & East Asian Medicine by protecting and clarifying our scope of practice, secured and expanded our role in the California Workers’ Compensation system, preserved and advanced the California Acupuncture Board, established higher standards for the education and training of CA Licensed Acupuncturists and the eventual development of a national Professional Doctorate in Oriental Medicine (too many years later in my opinion).
This activity in part led to my work as a clinical instructor, teaching professor, and academic dean at the Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College, Berkeley. We revamped the curriculum and helped transform the school into one of the preeminent institutions in the western world for the study of Acupuncture & Eastern Medicine.
Having retired from the world of acupuncture politics and education, I’m now in private practice as a Lafayette acupuncturist at Lafayette Wellness. I’ve also gone deep into Functional Medicine, which I find to be highly complementary to Eastern Medicine. Both paradigms are functional at their core, but view our biological systems through different lenses. Functional Medicine differs through its use of numbers and data to quantify our physiology with lab tests.
I’m also the proud father of two healthy and flourishing daughters who sparkle and delight my world, and stay sane and balanced with meditation, reading, yoga, running, biking, ultimate frisbee, tasty cooking experiments, and acupuncture.