About Colleen

In 2006 I began studying acupuncture at Tri-State College of Acupuncture in NYC and 3 years later began my own practice, and in 2011 my husband and I moved back to Minneapolis to open Four Gates where we can work together and offer a wide range of therapeutic services. When I attended Tri-State we spent the majority of our clinical studies focusing on treating pain conditions, and treating pain has always been central to my practice. Yet each acupuncture treatment can be approached in an infinite number of ways, and I feel that the interesting part of my work is to discover which styles and approaches will give each patient the best results they are seeking. My other favorite part about working in the field of Chinese Medicine is being able to share with others the wealth of information that it provides around maintaining health and wellness. Simple— and often easy— changes to our lifestyle can make a world of difference to how good we can feel.  

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Read on if you are interested in the long version of my relationship to Chinese Medicine...

 

When I was young I remember my Dad, impressed, telling me about the acupuncture treatments he received to help him quit smoking. I remember how fascinated he was with the experience, grateful and excited that it worked, and amazed at how good he felt. My Dad was an anxious person- the state of relaxation the treatments offered probably blew his mind! His acupuncturist was Edith Davis, one of the pioneers to bring the art to Minneapolis. Her husband, Lionel, was my piano teacher, still gives lessons to my mom— and he wrote the Field school song :)  

I chose to begin my own relationship with Chinese Medicine when I was in my late teens and I bought the Tao Te Ching while shopping at the infamous Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver. Several years later my now-husband introduced me to the I Ching oracle. It was part of my morning ritual for years, and still is what we refer to as the oracle that keeps it real and lets you know quite clearly when you need to humble yourself. A few years after this I began to study Chinese Nutritional theory via the book that still stands as core resource for me today, Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford. At the time I worked from home and had the time and space to learn how to correctly cook grains and legumes, and prepare the vegetables and protein that corresponded with my constitution and the season. 

During this epoch I tried acupuncture. When I complained of persistent asthma my best friend sent me to her acupuncturist, Jill Larsen. Jill treated me, eliminated my symptoms and  also impacted me with her presence. I still remember perfectly how it felt to have her in the room with me: curious, knowing what she knew and so aware of all she did not know. My same best friend also taught me how healing happens through our presence. I believe this to be true,and my proof is my clear memory of the treatments from Jill, as well as those I have received from many other beloved healers. 

There was a moment somewhere during 2006 when I had the time and space to consider what I wanted to study, what I wanted to choose as my livelihood. I quickly came to the understanding that I wanted to study and practice acupuncture. My Dad’s experience, Jill, the I Ching oracle, the years of studying and learning nutritional theory through experience, and all the little nudges toward the path of my tao that I cannot remember in this moment all contributed to easily arriving at that understanding. The answer of acupuncture came quickly, and looking back over the decades I clearly see that I was headed towards this vocation. 

I graduated from Tri-State College of Acupuncture where I studied and trained in multiple styles of acupuncture, with a focus on Acupuncture Physical Medicine (APM) and a Japanese style developed by Kiiko Matsumoto. Based on original work by Janet Travel,  Acupuncture Physical Medicine was developed by Dr. Mark Seem over 40 years ago and incorporates dry needling techniques to release myofascial trigger points found in the body. This approach is incredibly effective for treating pain. Kiiko Matsumoto's style is a modern style of traditional Japanese acupuncture that she developed over the past 35 years. It has its roots in classical theories and texts, as well as in her studies with several Japanese acupuncture masters. In this style, a palpation sequence is followed in which specific active reflexes suggest the underlying imbalance, and point selection and location is based on changes in these same reflexes.

Although Five Element acupuncture was not a core course of study at Tri-State, we were also instructed by Lorie Dechar, who introduced to this style’s treatments that address Qi blockages on the psycho-spiritual level. To this day, Lorie continues to be the most influential teacher of Chinese Medicine that I have been blessed to learn from. In my experience it is rare to find a teacher who has developed her level of intuitive capacity, energetic sensitivity and theoretical knowledge. She is generous with all she has learned and acquired, and has created a style of acupuncture and healing called Alchemical Acupuncture. I recommend studying with her- and you no longer need to be an acupuncturist to do so! Check out her website to find out more about what most inspires me around acupuncture and healing. 

Mentorship from Lorie over the past five years has refined my practice to be what it is today: a place where I can work with acupuncture points to eliminate blockages, while empowering patients to tend their health and vitality through sharing knowledge from the framework of Chinese Medicine. I truly look forward to sharing it with you—  there is so much we learn!