I have often been asked, "What made you become an acupuncturist?" The short answer to this question is passion and calling. The long answer is......
When I was in college, my major was chemistry. Although I was raised in China, I had little interest in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) until I met a TCM doctor, Dr. Fan Zhenglun. He ignited my interest in Chinese herbal medicine.
As a chemist, I wanted to study Chinese herbal medicine in a scientific way. That's why I came to the United States and to UNC to do my graduate work in medicinal chemistry under Professor K. H. Lee. At UNC, I spent five years studying the chemistry of medicinal herbs. After receiving my PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences, I realized one fact -- even though I knew the chemical components of the herbs, I still didn't know how to use the herbs. The ancient Chinese doctors knew how to use the herbs, but they knew nothing about herbal chemistry. I wanted to know how they had known how to use the herbs. So I decided I would study the herbs in the old fashioned way.
It was my good fortune to meet Hai-Sha Ni, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner in Florida who was willing to take me on as his apprentice. My family and I moved to Florida, and, while working toward my Masters in Oriental Medicine at the Florida College of Integrative Medicine, I studied under Hai-Sha Ni for three years, learning all I could about Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. These three years of apprenticeship built a solid foundation for my later practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I am always very thankful for my mentor, Hai-Sha Ni.
My initial interest was only in Chinese herbal medicine. I was not so much interested in acupuncture, because I was AFRAID of needles. 😛 When my mentor first taught me acupuncture, honestly I was a little skeptical. How could a needle in the LEFT LEG eliminate the headache at the RIGHT TEMPLE? That's unbelievable, isn't it? However, many people were healed right in front of my eyes. I could not deny the facts. So, my attitude toward acupuncture changed from skeptical, to curious, to humbled. Despite my fear of needles, I started to study acupuncture and practice on myself. The more I studied and practiced, the more I fell in love with this ancient healing art.
I have to say that the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine has humbled me as a scientist. I am acutely aware of how much there is still to learn in this field. And, I am so grateful that I can do what I love and love what I do.