Shawna’s personal experience with acupuncture changed the course of her life. As a teenager living with a severe case of dysmenorrhea, she assumed painkillers like Percoset, Vicodin, and Advil were the only way to combat the debilitating symptoms she experienced every month, until she tried acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. With nothing else to lose, at 18 years old, Shawna scheduled an acupuncture appointment and began to feel refreshed after every treatment. She didn’t expect drastic changes but within two months of weekly treatments, she reduced her Western medications by half. By three months she was pain-free. Miracle, no. This was the powerful effect of acupuncture.
Shawna graduated in 2002 from the University of Vermont in Burlington with a degree in Women's Health and Botanical Medicine and a minor in Art History. While a pre-med undergraduate student at the University of Vermont, she created a program to give low-income HIV patients access to complementary and alternative medicine at little or no cost. For the program, she interviewed a diverse group including massage therapists, reiki practitioners, yogis, and acupuncturists. During this time, she gravitated toward the acupuncturists, asking them questions about their career, family life, and overall happiness. They all sang the praises of their decision to become an acupuncturist.
As a pre-med student, Shawna’s initial intention was to continue on to medical school. Feeling undecided she asked her father, a prominent neurologist, what she should do. He told her Western medicine had changed since he entered the profession. He saw 50 patients per day, only spending ten quality minutes with each, and was under the thumb of HMO’s constantly being summoned to court by insurance companies. He finished his rant by telling her to follow the path that will make her most happy.
Considering her “miraculous” experience with acupuncture, Shawna followed the footsteps of her future colleagues who had attended the New England School of Acupuncture in Boston. There, she studied and contributed 1,200+ hours of hands on clinical instruction. Since then, Shawna has been in practice for eleven years.
Shawna believes in a ladder of intervention when it comes to non-emergent health care: first allow your body a chance to heal on its own by improving diet, exercising regularly, practicing stress relief, and sleeping at least 8 hours nightly. If you need further help or guidance the assistance of an acupuncturist, massage therapist, chiropractor, nutritionist, or counselor may be helpful. If this is still not enough then conventional Western treatment such as pharmaceuticals and/or surgery may be necessary. Often times, a combination of these modalities works best for your mind, body, and spirit.
Shawna takes great care in making sure that her patients are comfortable with the treatment plan. To foster your acupuncture treatment, she will outline a custom-tailored treatment strategy including estimated number of visits, specific exercises or stretching techniques, and Chinese dietary therapy including recipes and stress relief practices. She encourages patients to take action in their own healing process as this is a key component towards faster recovery.
Shawna is licensed by the District of Columbia Department of Health and certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).