My own journey into Traditional Chinese Medicine and how I became an acupuncturist and herbalist

My name is Renata, it's a Latin name that translates to "born again". I was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil and I can't count on my fingers the times I've been born again in my life. At early age I knew I wasn't going to keep things simple, my curiosity for life, hunger for learning and my stubborn and ambitious mind, one that Capricorns just come built with, were set to take me to many places. So, I want to tell you a little about my journey, which I honestly can't help but feel really proud of, and happy for being able to dive into an adventurous and fulfilling life.

  Serra do Mar, Sao Paulo State 2001

Serra do Mar, Sao Paulo State 2001

  Brasilia Cathedral, 1998

Brasilia Cathedral, 1998

When I first went to college for a bachelors degree in architecture and urban design I had my first taste of freedom and noticed that the world became a bit smaller in my view and my plans to conquer it all became a little more realistic. I traveled a lot, I wanted to see all the unique and amazing architecture in the world. And so, I also learned that I was no longer under the safety and security of my parents arms, I was vulnerable. I was born again several times, mostly from escaping of many dangerous and uncertain situations.

  Amazon village, 2001

Amazon village, 2001

Right after I finished college, I spent one month in the Amazon jungles, I experienced the deep ends of the forest, where I thought life was a lot more primitive and disconnected to the world, which to my surprise, was in fact mixed with conflicting culture and customs, and somehow, half adapted to what we call "modern living". That was an experience that made me feel even more eager to find myself and my real home.

  Amazon village, 2001

Amazon village, 2001

  Amazon village, 2001

Amazon village, 2001

Then I had an opportunity to visit a friend in the United States, we studied in college together, and during the Summer of 2001 I had the privilege to see what life feels like in the USA. During my visit, I became friends with the love of my life, my amazing husband, who back then barely knew what he was getting into, when he encouraged me to interview for a position in a prestigious architectural firm in Washington, DC. That was when I received two of the best gifts of fate, a life-time partner and a job offer that allowed me to become an American citizen! That was one of the most pivoting times in my life, I was born again.

  Us and Toby, 2005

Us and Toby, 2005

We got married, we bought our first house and created our first home, we raised an amazing chocolate lab named Toby, we had our first daughter Olivia. My career was in its peak, we had our second daughter, Isabella and we moved to the suburbs in Virginia. Life was amazing already, and almost perfect! Then a dormant dream surfaced and the desire to move close to the mountains, to the wonderful Denver, Colorado became strong enough that we could no longer resist. On May first of 2012 we arrived at our real home, and I was born again, again.

The opportunity to rearrange and restart helped us find a way of living that was even better than what we had before. We found more time to spend together as a family and explore the beautiful nature and adventures that are found in the Rockies. And that was when I had an opportunity to look within and find a new passion that would become a new career in my life.

For a while I had known I wasn't born to be an architect for my whole life. I grew up in a family that was either into law or health care, I was certain that I didn't have any interest for law, but I loved the aspects of health care, to help people feel better, to make an impact in peoples lives through the power of touch. That thought guided me through volunteering opportunities in First response, Emergency department, Birth Center, and then I found myself amused by the power and efficacy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, when I was trying to find answers for my own health problems. 

In fact, the only uncomfortable thing for me, after moving to Colorado, was an annoying chronic rhinitis, triggered by severe allergies to the local vegetation and dry climate. I was constantly feeling congested, my eyes, ears, nose and throat were itchy every time we went to the mountains, and I had countless embarrassing nosebleeds during my first year in Denver. I had developed allergic rhinitis long before, but it was never this severe. I remember having to resort to long term use of over the counter allergy relief pills and prescription corticosteroids, and deal with what felt like a life long of grogginess and foggy brain.  

One day, a dear friend who had seen my miserable condition going on for too long, suggested me to go see her acupuncturist and try to get some help with my allergies. I have had many acupuncture visits before, I loved it, because acupuncture made me feel new, healthy and energetic, so I gave it a try.

I'm sure it won't surprise you to learn that my allergy condition was completely resolved, or I wouldn't be here, writing this blog post about my life and how I became a practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine myself. That was when I felt like I, once more, was born again.

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Acupuncture and herbal medicine have become a big part of my life for the past five years. I have had the opportunity to see it do "its magic" in so many lives, the ones in my own home, and after going back to school and earning a Masters degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, so many others under my care and of my colleagues'. I'm seeing the answer for so many people's well being and I love that I can be a mediator to many who are looking for help with their health.

I also see, and keep on dreaming of a near future, when we will be able to combine the best of Western and Eastern Medicines, and provide the citizens of the world with the best possible care for their health and well being. It has started to happen already, at least in our community, with many hospitals incorporating what is called Integrated Health, including acupuncture and other modalities of natural health under their umbrella of options, and I believe there will be no way to stop this movement towards a better healthcare for all.

I'm in this medicine to be one more point of connection in this hybridization of medicines, however, not losing track of my ultimate goal, which is to help people feel better, to help people be "born again", if you will, and RISE to their optimal heath and optimal self.