After over 11 years of being in practice (HOW did that happen?!) and my young kids starting to go to school more often, I’m finally seizing the opportunity to re-vamp my website and start a blog. I’ve been wanting to put many thoughts and musings about Chinese Medicine down in writing over the years and I hope you enjoy reading them. It is my hope that this blog will be a resource for learning about the profound toolbox that is Chinese Medicine, from acupuncture to herbs, to cupping and moxibustion, the possibilities for healing are endless.
I’ll start with a little background about me and my path to Chinese Medicine. I’m Lindsey Rosso McKoy, clinic director of Broomfield Community Acupuncture, acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. My patients often ask me, “What made you decide to become an acupuncturist?” And I always joke that I give a different answer every time, I think because the path to becoming an acupuncturist had many twists and turns along the way.
Did it start, growing up in a suburb of Denver, where we had NO conception that consuming high amounts of sugar could have a detrimental effect on our bodies and minds? Drinking 3 sodas a day on a regular basis, eating fast food at least once a day, and feeling a nagging sense of discord in my mind and body, but not having the words to put to what was causing this?
Or was it moving to Boulder to do my undergrad in Geography and Women’s Studies, where I worked part-time for an organic food market, seeing vegetables that I’d never known the name of before (what is a shiitake mushroom?!) and starting to eat real, organic foods and seeing a dramatic difference in how I felt in my own body? This was also a time when I started creative movement classes and saw that the more I moved, the better I felt, physically and emotionally.
It could’ve had something to do with the start of my actual career in health care, 18 years ago, working as a young, idealistic medical assistant at a low-income women’s clinic. I knew immediately that I wanted to be in healthcare with a bent for social justice. I wanted to work with the underserved and help empower women to take their wellness into their own hands. What I saw in practice was a lot of really committed practitioners, but a limited toolbox for treating the disorders that arose. I saw women coming in over and over for antibiotics for anything and everything. Birth control pills were the only way to address problems with women’s menstrual cycles, but often created a whole other slew of problems and took away women’s natural cycles. I began to ask myself, “Is this really the only way to help people? Might there be another way, a better way? And can I do it in a way that all women can afford?”
The first time I met an acupuncturist was when my 18 year old brother was battling leukemia and kept getting massive headaches from his chemotherapy regimen. I watched as the acupuncturist inserted 7 or 8 teeny tiny needles into spots on his wrist, low leg, ankles, and tops of his feet for 30 minutes. I couldn’t believe he could take a nap with needles in his body, but he became extremely relaxed and slept peacefully. When she took out the needles the headache was gone. It was such a huge relief to my brother; it seemed miraculous at the time. I took that experience and set it on the backburner for 5 or 6 years, until I moved to Steamboat Springs and became the office manager for an acupuncturist and chiropractic office. It was during this time that I was given the benefit of having regular acupuncture treatment each week. I was struck by how calm and centered I felt after each treatment. More than that, I couldn’t believe I wasn’t having those stomachaches that I’d been having for most of my life. The acupuncturist really listened to me and provided nutritional advice that I still follow to this day. What surprised me was how much I learned about my own body through simply laying with a few, hair-thin needles in my arms and legs for 45 minutes. I started to listen in, search for answers from inside out instead of outside in, and never looked back. I moved to Portland, Oregon for the next three years and attended the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine to become an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist.
The last piece to click into place was my mission to make acupuncture affordable for Every Body. My first two years in practice were doing private treatments in Boulder, to a mostly very wealthy clientele. I noticed that there was such a gap in who was coming for acupuncture. It seemed to be only women who could afford $70 per treatment (or $280 a month). There certainly weren’t any women from the low-income clinic from which I had started out. Most of my own family and friends, including myself, could not afford this. Once again, it got me to thinking, “Is there a better way?” So I decided to experiment with a new model, one that might provide me with a way to see more people for much less. Thus, Broomfield Community Acupuncture was born, with its sliding scale and open-style acupuncture room, where patients receive acupuncture all together, just like they do across all of China.
Now 11 years and hundreds of patients into my practice, I wouldn’t have it any other way. For me, the tenets of Chinese Medicine have become a lifestyle, a way of understanding how the world works, and a road to deep healing for my patients as well as for myself. The more I learn about Chinese Medicine, the more I want to know; it is truly a lifetime of study. I recently completed a two-year post-graduate mentorship in Classical Chinese Herbs with world-renowned teacher Sharon Weizenbaum. She helped me expand my herbal apothecary and challenged me to grow exponentially as an herbalist, following a new philosophy for herbal diagnosis that has resulted in more effective results for my patients.
I look forward to all of your questions and comments as we explore the rich world of Chinese Medicine together!
In good health,