Founder & Acupuncturist
In Practice Since 1996
Licensed Five Element Acupuncturist, Esoteric Acupuncturist, Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master, Life Coach, Plant Spirit Medicine Practitioner, Acupuncture Detox Specialist (NADA), Facial Rejuvenation (cosmetic) Acupuncture Specialist, Magnified Healing Master, TaeUlju Practitioner, Meditation Teacher, Qi Gong (Mantak Chia) Practitioner, Guided Visualization Practitioner, Yoga Nidra Practitioner, Zero Balancing Practitioner, Clinical Supervisor at The Won Institute.
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I spent the first 9 years of my life growing up in apartheid South Africa in a white middle class neighborhood. I was the 2nd generation of my family to grow up there; my grandparents came to South Africa in the early 1900’s from Lithuania, escaping Jewish persecution.
As a kid, I was completely fascinated with witch doctors and shamans. I loved hearing stories about traditional healers from my Zulu nanny and our family gardener.
I immigrated to the Philadelphia area in 1986 at age 9. If you ask my dad why we moved, he would say “for peace of mind and greater freedom.” At the time, the South African government was oppressive and there was intense violence. The United States represented a place of true freedom and more opportunity for his family.
I spent my formative years in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I grew up going to Hebrew day school but was turned off by religion — I couldn’t believe this idea about an old man god with a white beard and the dogma that went with it. When I was about 12 years old, I remember thinking "there is no God, there is no Spirit, there is just this material world. When you die, you just die, and that's it."
At that point, I lost my interest in shamans, and was drawn towards being a doctor. I would stay up late into the night reading anatomy books and studying the organ systems.
Around age 14, that changed again. I awoke in the middle of the night to a bizarre buzzing feeling under my skin and peculiar noises — I sat up, startled. The sensations calmed down, but when I turned around, I was shocked to see my body was still laying flat in the bed. I freaked out and immediately woke fully up.
The next day, I came across a book that I had never noticed before in my Dad’s office called “You Forever”. In it was a description of the experience I’d had the night before! The sensations, the sounds, the phenomenon, were what was called an out-of-body experience. This is the first spiritual experience I remember.
I spent the next few years reading and studying everything I could about astral traveling and the occult. I had become obsessed and my spiritual sense had been reawakened.
After high school, still interested in becoming a doctor, I entered the University of Pittsburg’s pre-med program. While there, I continued my exploration with astral traveling and began taking a meditation class, because I thought it was a tool I could use to induce this altered state. I quickly fell in love with meditation and out of love with the pre-med program. I switched my major to cultural anthropology to learn about indigenous cultures and traditional healing approaches.
One day in my meditation class, my teacher took me aside and said, “I am going to teach you Reiki.” I had never heard of Reiki and she described it as a laying-on-of-hands healing modality. I was intrigued… and then hooked! I loved my experience of this energetic healing. I enthusiastically shared it with my friends and very quickly became a Reiki teacher.
In 1998, I graduated college with a major in Anthropology and a minor in theater. I moved back to Philadelphia and began my first official healing and teaching practice at the age of 21, with a focus on Reiki.
During that time, my mother happened to try acupuncture for a sprained ankle. After a few visits, she said “You seem to talk a similar talk as Bob.” She recommended I connect with her practitioner and see if there was something to pursue.
I met with Bob, the Acupuncturist, and he began to tell me about Taoist philosophy and the Chinese Five Elements. At some point in the conversation, he jokingly said, “You're asking too many questions! Go check out this Acupuncture School in Maryland."
Truth be told, I had no interest in learning Chinese Medicine, but I was so fascinated with this invisible healing force and Taoist Philosophy, that I thought I ought to at least go visit this school. I went to visit the Traditional Acupuncture Institute in Columbia, Maryland (now Maryland University of Integrative Health) and fell in love. I signed up that day with zero intention of ever poking people with needles, simply a thirst to understand the unseen realms. I ended up falling in love with the medicine and it turns out that poking people with needles is a profoundly magical and practical way to conduct the energy of the body, mind, and spirit. Acupuncture has been my practice for the past 18 years, always informed by the flavors of my many spiritual pursuits.
Five Element Acupuncture is actually a rather shamanic practice and it has lended itself well to my integration of shamanic techniques that I have studied. I learned Plant Spirit Medicine under Huichol Shaman Eliot Cowan and I currently apprentice under don Oscar Miro-Quesada in cross-cultural Peruvian Shamanism. Alongside these studies I have also deeply embraced the perennial philosophy that All is Mind/Consciousness. This fuels my daily meditation practice and the homework I give my patients.
I have studied numerous healing techniques over the years. My licenses, trainings, and practices include: Licensed Five Element Acupuncturist, Esoteric Acupuncturist, Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Meditation Teacher, Reiki Master, Life Coach, Plant Spirit Medicine Practitioner, Acupuncture Detox Specialist (NADA), Facial Rejuvenation (cosmetic) Acupuncture Specialist, Magnified Healing Master, TaeUlju Practitioner, Meditation Teacher, Qi Gong (Mantak Chia) Practitioner, Guided Visualization Practitioner, Yoga Nidra Practitioner, Zero Balancing Practitioner, Clinical Supervisor at The Won Institute.
In my current practice, I work with individuals one on one both with words and with acupuncture needles. My acupuncture training had a heavy emphasis on the understanding of psychology and using "words as needles.” My patients describe my work as part talk therapy, part acupuncture, and very healing for the body, mind and soul. At the wellness center I run, it’s important for me that everyone understand that healing begins with relationship. Much of my work with my words is to establish rapport with the patient so that we can wade ever deeper and into more profound territory of their self-realization and healing. I’ve found that the best way to work with people is over time. Even if I see them many times a week, it’s best to know that they will come in at least at the turn of each season to maintain their balance and right relationship with the world around them.
My calling in life is to help others and myself live life more fully.