Kim Bonsteel, LAc, DiplAc, CCHM, LMBT
Licensed acupuncturist, board-certified diplomate of acupunture, certificant in Chinese herbal medicine, licensed massage & bodywork therapist, certified myoskeletal alignment therapist, certified Tai Ch'i instructor.
Practiced and taught acupuncture since 2010; massage & bodywork since 2002.
Adjunct faculty member at
Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine.
I've lived in western North Carolina since 1978, and I've done a lot of different things in my life; some of them were literally backbreaking work. I had 30 years of low back and hip pain, tried chiropractic, stretching, massage, good nutrition, herbs that I wildcrafted from the mountain forests and river valleys -- everything helped, but nothing cured. It would get better, it would get worse. I was never pain free. Then I started getting acupuncture. The funny thing is, I kept doing all the other things, but the acupuncture pulled everything together and made it all work for me. In a year, I had no more low back and hip pain, and it stayed that way. It's been 18 years since I had that problem.
I decided to go to acupuncture school in 2005. It took four years, was a master's-level program, and the most interesting and challenging thing I've ever done. My teacher, Sean Marshall, had been an acupuncturist since 1975; his teacher, Nguyen Van Nghi, was a Vietnamese-French medical doctor trained in both Eastern and Western medicine. Dr. Van Nghi came to France just before World War II, and with all the young doctors off at the war, there were not many doctors left in Marseilles. The medicine ran out. Dr. Van Nghi just started treating everything with classical acupuncture and moxa -- it was so effective, and so well-received, that he was asked to bring acupuncture training into some of the French medical schools. There are a lot of good stories about Dr. Van Nghi; once, a baby was born with no thyroid gland and put on thyroid hormone replacement. Dr. Van Nghi taught the parents how to use moxa to warm and add energy to the thyroid area of the throat, and by the time the baby was a year old, she had a fully developed thyroid and was tapered off of the thyroid medicine. Dr. Van Nghi practiced acupuncture more than 60 years, until he died at age 90.
I went back to school for two more years at Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts. I earned a post-graduate certificate in Chinese herbal medicine, which has a long history and is quite sophisticated. Herbs can be used along with, or instead of, acupuncture.
For the past five or six years I've been studying with Kiiko Matsumoto, a living master of a style of Japanese acupuncture. I practice it, and am continually amazed by it. Acupuncture came to Japan from China in the 600s, and then followed its own separate development. There was a time when blind men in Japan were taught either massage or acupuncture. Without eyes to see, they became highly skilled in palpatory examination, diagnosis by touch. One of the features of the Japanese way is immediate feedback. Places that are painful on pressure from the hand are treated by finding an acupuncture point, usually at a distance, which reduces the pain right away. The object is not so much to reduce that pressure pain the patient didn't even know they had, but to remove the underlying condition which is reflected in the painful place.
Movement is so important for health and healing, and the Chinese developed special exercises that remove obstructions and circulate Qi and blood. My acupuncture school included four years of training in taijiquan ("tie chee chwan"), which is still my daily practice. We also learned a number of medical qigong exercises ("chee goong") which are simple but powerful, and I teach some of those to patients who can benefit from them.
I've been doing massage & bodywork a long time, have had some great teachers over the years, and I've done more than 10,000 treatments with my hands. Part of the four years of acupuncture school was learning Chinese medical massage. There are medical doctors in China who do nothing but massage. Typically it requires no lotion or oil, and the patient remains fully clothed. Most of my patients are going to get a few minutes of bodywork when I see them for acupuncture.
How I first got interested in all of this, my grandmother helped raise me, and we didn't go to the doctor for little things. Part of the reason was that in her younger days, it took half a day to get to a doctor, so you had to do for yourself a lot. She knew a lot of old home remedies, folk remedies, herbs, and so on, so I grew up with exposure to natural treatments. Once I was using the bed for a trampoline, fell, and hit my head on the corner of the bed frame. Grandma stopped the bleeding, cleaned it, disinfected with Camphophenique, and sewed it up with some catgut suture, which anyone could get from the pharmacist in those days. It healed perfectly. I come by it honestly, my interest in alternative medicine and self-care.
I hope you will get in touch and allow me to help you in your quest for health. Don't forget, even if nothing obvious troubles you about your health, acupuncture excels at helping you stay well and live long. Come in for a tuneup now and then. I look forward to meeting you.
I am always excited to meet new people I can help with their healing process. Let's connect.
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