By Gurneet Singh
When people ask what type of work I do, they are usually quite surprised when I answer, “I am an acupuncturist!”
This is usually followed by: “How did you get into acupuncture?”
Like many things in life, this question has no straightforward answer. My journey has been fascinating, and I am very grateful for all the twists, turns, and experiences along the way!
A few things have always been clear and consistent: my desire to help others, my curiosity about medicine, and my interest in healing. Even as a young child, I loved to draw and paint self-portraits of myself as a doctor. I recently found my well-loved white doctor’s kit that my parents gave me when I was 5.
As I grew older, my focus on healing did not waiver, although I didn’t know what form this interest would ultimately take.
Throughout high school, I worked at a pediatrician’s office and enjoyed being around all the children and interacting with and helping the doctor.
Later, I studied and majored in Biomedical Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. With this major, I had the unique opportunity to learn about different cultures, health and illness, human biology, and approaching human health from a holistic, cross-cultural perspective—which honestly fascinated me to no end!
During my time at university, I worked in a cardiology lab. Also, I did a summer internship as an assistant research technician in an endocrinology lab focusing on sleep at Harvard Medical School.
The summer following my graduation, I worked at a specialty camp in California for children with medical conditions, then worked in a Physical and Occupational Therapy office assisting therapists and patients.
At this point, I realized that my heart was devoted to medicine and that I needed to take the steps to attend medical school. I was accepted into a post-baccalaureate program for pre-health professionals at Rutgers University to complete my medical school prerequisites and engage in special coursework.
During a pivotal lecture showcasing a variety of physicians discussing their medical practices, I was mesmerized by the Naturopathic physician. I still remember my head spinning as she discussed the Naturopathic philosophy and approach to patient care.
I was so excited! This was precisely how I envisioned my practice of medicine, but I didn’t even know this type of medicine existed.
Very soon after, I applied to Naturopathic medical school and decided to attend Bastyr University in Washington State. During the first year, in addition to the typical intense coursework in anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry, we were exposed to Naturopathic philosophy, therapeutic order, and different types of medicine, including Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
I was familiar with Ayurvedic medicine since both of my parents are Indian and Ayurvedic medicine was so integrated into the cuisine and lifestyle. My parents, both amazing cooks, regularly prepared wonderful Indian dishes.
I finally understood how powerful and healing all those delicious-smelling herbs were!
However, Chinese Medicine was new to me, and I was curious. Because of this class, I wanted to try my first acupuncture treatment at our student clinic.
Well, it just took one treatment, and I was IN LOVE!
My main issue improved after just one treatment, and I left the treatment feeling balanced and very relaxed, which was the same state I would feel after meditating for long periods of time.
I knew I HAD to learn more for myself and my future patients. I wanted to know how I could help make my patients feel that way too!
Within a few months after that first treatment, I was accepted into the dual track program at Bastyr to simultaneously complete my Masters in acupuncture alongside my Naturopathic Medicine doctorate.
Yes, it was a busy time, but my mind and heart were full! Being at Bastyr allowed me to explore many natural modalities like craniosacral therapy, facial rejuvenation, and aromatherapy.
I had the opportunity to care for various patients in the clinic—from India to Hawaii to NY. I traveled and spent my summers doing preceptorships with experienced physicians to learn more about Ayurvedic medicine, energy medicine, chronic disease, neurological issues, lifestyle counseling, and, of course, acupuncture.
It is hard to believe it has been 23 years since that first transformative experience with acupuncture! I have regularly continued my acupuncture treatments all these years; it is foundational to my health and well-being.
My journey was not direct, nor the path traveled by many others. Still, I am beyond grateful for the discoveries, teachers, and invaluable learning experiences that helped me cultivate my therapeutic skills and develop as a healer.
Through the twists and turns of my journey, I followed my heart and dreams, and I feel so fortunate that they have led me here to be a part of this special community at Airmid. I am very honored to be able to continue to share my love of acupuncture and support patients in achieving their health goals and enjoyment, fulfillment, and peace in their lives!