To read about how I healed myself of fibromyalgia and chronic neck and back pain, please click here.
My fascination with the connection between the mind and body goes back to childhood
My mother is a nurse practitioner, a midwife, and a very wise woman. One of her greatest gifts to me is a deep faith in the ability of the human body to heal itself and a conviction that our thoughts and beliefs affect that capacity (for good or for ill) more powerfully than anything else. My mother taught me this lesson from the time I was a little girl; it was as much a part of my upbringing as learning to say “please” and “thank you”. In retrospect I can see that my mom was way ahead of her time — thirty years ago belief in the link between the mind and body was definitely not the norm, especially among conventional healthcare providers like her.
I developed an interest in acupuncture and herbal medicine when I was twelve years old and a little old Chinese man who didn’t speak a word of English used acupuncture and herbs to cure me of an ailment that two surgeries and physicians at the Mayo Clinic were not able to diagnose or treat.
But I’ve also always loved science
I went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and a master’s degree in applied physiology. As a graduate student I directed a university laboratory where we collected data on the effect of diet and physical fitness on cardiovascular disease risk factors and taught undergraduate students. I am proud to say that my lab published research that paved the way to our current understanding of the benefits of fish and coconut oil. Eventually, data from my master’s thesis was published in The Journal of Applied Physiology.
My goal is to bridge two worlds
By the time I completed my first master’s degree I was a scientist by training and a skeptic by nature, but to the chagrin of my graduate advisor I had maintained my interest in natural medicine. I knew from personal experience that acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary supplements, and most especially mind body techniques like meditation, journaling, and tapping work, sometimes even when conventional means have failed. Chinese Medicine is a pre-scientific method that operates according to logic that is foreign to the Western mind. In many cases it defies analysis under the scientific method. But I began to wonder – with my training, might I serve as a bridge between these two very different worlds? At its essence, acupuncture is nothing more than a tool for strengthening and directing the body’s own self-healing capacity. Doctors of Chinese medicine have known for thousands of years what those at the very forefront of Western science are just now beginning to understand, namely that our feelings and beliefs have a profound effect on our physiology and that unresolved emotions are a primary cause of disease. These principles harmonize perfectly with what I knew from my earliest personal experience to be true.
I spent the years of 1999 – 2003 studying at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, where I completed over 3000 hours of training and earned my second master’s degree (Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine). I have now been in private practiceas a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist for thirteen years and have been privileged to work with thousands of patients with a very wide variety of health problems.
It is 2017 – I feel called to a bigger mission
Given the uncertain future of the healthcare system (more appropriately called a disease-management system) in the United States and the skyrocketing costs of insurance, physician services, and medications, I have now turned my attention to helping my family members, friends, and patients become as independent as possible from the medical system. Spreading the word about the TMS phenomena and writing about the details of my own experience is part of this effort.
In 2012 the annual cost of managing (not curing) chronic pain the United States was $636 billion. To give you a point of comparison, the treatment of all forms of cancer costs $895 billion annually, heart disease costs $753 billion annually, and diabetes costs $204 billion annually. If even a small portion of what we are spending to put a bandaid over chronic pain could be directed toward other uses, it could be game-changing.
MY CREDENTIALS AND DEGREES
Texas State Board of Medical Examiners
Licensed Acupuncturist (#AC00703).
National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
Diplomate of Oriental Medicine.
Diplomate of Acupuncture.
Diplomate of Chinese Herbology.
Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM)
Clean Needle Technique Certification.
Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (3000 hour professional program, including 1080 hours of supervised clinical practice).
University of Missouri-Columbia
Master of Arts in Applied Physiology (thesis research co-published in the Journal of Applied Physiology).
Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition (graduated Summa Cum Laude).
Private Practice (2003 – present)
Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, Nutritionist, and Reiki master.
Specialist in family medicine.
Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic (1999 – 2003)
American Health Science University (1999 – 2007)
Academic Director (1999-2001) & Consultant (2001-2007)
Developed curriculum for two accredited distance education programs in human nutrition (certificate and M.S. degree program). Taught and mentored students enrolled in the Certified Nutritionist program.
University of Missouri-Columbia Applied Physiology Laboratory (1997 – 1999)
Senior Research & Teaching Assistant – Coordinated data collection and analysis for two major research projects and taught undergraduate students. Responsibilities included: literature review; subject recruitment; subject interviews; body composition estimation by underwater weighing (residual volume measured by helium dilution spirometry); maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) testing; venapuncture; laboratory analysis of plasma triglycerides, total HDL-cholesterol and HDL-C subfractions, total LDL-cholesterol, and Cholesterol Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) concentration; and coordination of statistical analysis (4-way ANOVA with repeated measures).
- THOMAS, T.R., HORNER, K.E., LANGDON, M.H., ZHANG, J.Q., KRUL, E.S., SUN, G.Y., COX, R.H. Effect of exercise and medium chain fatty acids on postprandial lipemia. Journal of Applied Physiology. 90:1239-1246, 2001.
- KIST, W.B., THOMAS, T.R., HORNER, K.E., LAUGHLIN, M.H. Effects of aerobic training and gender on HDL-C and LDL-C subfractions in Yucatan miniature swine. Journal of Exercise Physiology. 2:7-15, 1999.
- THOMAS, T.R., FISCHER, B.A., KIST, W.B., HORNER, K.E., COX, R.H. Effects of Omega-3 fatty acids on postprandial lipemia. Journal of Applied Physiology. 88:2199-2204, 2000.