Each month we highlight one of the talented practitioners at Portland Healing Space so our community can get to know the PHS family. This month, Kathleen King, licensed Acupuncturist, has stepped into the practitioner spotlight!
Kathleen strives to bridge Eastern and Western medical perspectives for her patients' fitness goals and encourages a team approach to optimal wellness. Her background and passion for both physical therapy and Chinese medicine drive her therapeutic approach to Portland Healing Space. She specializes in pain management, chronic headaches, PMS and sports injuries. Kathleen believes in a strong focus on patient education so that people have the tools they need to keep working toward optimal health.
We sat down with Kathleen to learn a little more about her:
What made you decide to be an acupuncturist?
I have been practicing as a physical therapy assistant for 22 years, working in hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and seeing patients in their homes. I notice that what is becoming more common is the lack of time and emphasis on education. So people end up on supplemental oxygen because they have never been instructed in proper breathing techniques. People have chronic back pain and don't know how to perform basic body mechanics or stabilization exercises. Our current medical model has forced health care practitioners away from the thing people need most, which is to understand their dysfunction and how they can change whatever they are doing to start feeling better. I wanted to give my patients another option to understanding their illnesses and imbalances.
After I broke my wrist snowboarding in Montana, I came out of my cast with numb fingers, shoulder tendonitis and a hand swollen to the size of a softball. So, I went to the acupuncture school for treatment. Six visits later, all my symptoms were gone and I was hooked!
Tell us something unexpected about you.
I rode my bike (a hardtail mountain bike!) 250 miles in 3 days, from Philadelphia to Washington DC, for the AIDS Bike Ride. Before that trip, I had not ridden a bike more than 5 miles! It was a fantastic experience and satisfying accomplishment.
What is it like to get acupuncture from you?
My biggest goal is that you learn a few new things about yourself, how your body functions and what it is trying to tell you. I love to educate and learn about my patients. The relationship that we develop helps determine the treatment outcomes, and the time spent on that is essential. MDs are allowed approximately four to eight minutes per patient. I do not think you can learn much in four minutes. Helping people is often like a puzzle, and I like that Chinese Medicine has an explanation for almost everything.
It is important to me to make sure that you understand what we are attempting to accomplish and that you are an integral part of the treatment session. Each treatment may be markedly different than the previous session, as I utilize a myriad of modalities based on what is going on with you at each appointment. My hope is that you will leave feeling relaxed and confident in your ability to manage your wellness, with a new sense of empowered understanding.
What is something you wish more people knew about acupuncture?
I wish that more people understood that acupuncture is a preventative medicine. Your body is constantly letting you know when it is struggling to maintain homeostasis. Any symptom we experience is a message the body is sending us. Everything we are experiencing has meaning, whether it’s a headache, PMS, stress, heartburn or acne.
I also want people to know that it is a safe medicine. That it is effective and that, instead of using acupuncture as a last resort, we should choose Chinese Medicine and acupuncture first or at least in combination with other treatments. If we use acupuncture regularly, we might not ever need to access Western medicine.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
If I could choose a superpower I think flying would be pretty darn cool! I could get to the other side of the world without having to buy a plane ticket, and fly over the ocean and watch the whales. If I flew really high, I could see all the greens and blues and the curve of the earth.
What is your favorite place to go in Portland?
Portland has the best movie theaters of any town I have ever been to. I do not watch TV at home and to me there is nothing better than watching a movie on a 40-foot screen while eating a slice of pizza, a salad or sushi. Other than movies, I mostly spend my free time outside. Forest Park is probably my favorite city adventure spot, especially in the winter. With almost 90 miles of trails, we are extremely fortunate to have such a jewel within our city limits. I have actually walked the entire Wildwood Trail (30 miles) in one day!