“I don’t even know how I would practice if it wasn’t for the Sports Medicine Acupuncture Certification (SMAC) program. I was introduced to it back in acupuncture school because Brian Lau was my teacher, and I am forever grateful that he turned me onto it. His passion for anatomy is infectious, as is his way of thinking about combining it with Chinese Medicine.
I went into this field not because I want to work with a sports team, but because I actually understand Traditional Chinese Medicine better when I have a better understanding of anatomy and physiology and the structures of the body that we’re working with. I’m incredibly grateful to this program because it put all that together for me in a way that I could understand with my Western brain, yet is still in sync with Chinese Medicine.
Early on in my practice, after completing the SMAC program, I had an amazing case when a woman came in for lower back and hip pain. She had been to doctors and neurosurgeons, and no one had actually done any orthopedic evaluation with her. They had done imaging—MRIs, X-rays, ultrasounds—performed surgery and prescribed pain medications, but they had never performed a Gillet’s Test, FABER, or Shear Test on her hips to check for sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
I did these few easy orthopedic tests and determined that one of her sacroiliac joints was not functioning well, due to a postural imbalance in her pelvis. I treated her, and gave her corrective exercises, straight out of protocols from SMAC, and after two treatments she was sleeping through the night and had no more pain.
Months later and still pain-free, she wrote me an amazing letter of thanks, that is really a testimonial to using this type of medicine. This case sealed the deal for me, I realized that the evaluative skills I learned in SMAC are uncommon even among medical doctors. We really have a unique combination of orthopedic evaluation and holistic treatment that is very helpful for treating a wide variety of pain patterns.
Since completing the SMAC program, I decided to enroll in the Anatomy Trains Structural Integration (ATSI) program with Tom Myers, because I wanted to refine my body reading skills and hands-on myofascial work. It’s funny, because shortly after starting this program, I realized how much structural integration work I had already learned in the SMAC program! Not only had I learned a lot of body reading and myofascial work in relation to the sinew channels, but the concept of relating postural discrepancies to TCM pathology is really unique and significant for my practice.
I am taking these ideas forward in my structural integration training, and am learning that it’s really all there if we know where to look. So, the more I develop my “reading” skills and my understanding of how structures relate to one another, the better I am as a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I feel I have a lifetime of study ahead of me to refine these skills, and I want to learn more especially in relation to the visceral body, but I never would have gotten here if it weren’t for the SMAC program. It put me on a trajectory for the most interesting work I could have possibly found, and I am so excited to move forward with it.”