I am blessed to live here in beautiful Santa Cruz and do work that I love. I have a passion for helping people feel better and facilitating the body’s natural healing process. Everything about being an acupuncturist is enjoyable to me — spending time with people, listening deeply, offering support on the physical and spiritual levels with acupuncture, herbs, and other modalities.
People often ask how I decided to pursue a career in Chinese Medicine. I grew up in Wisconsin, with wonderful parents who contributed to the world in many ways. During a difficult five-year period when both my parents and several other loved ones passed away, acupuncture treatments helped me maintain my physical and mental health. At the time, I had a successful career in marketing at a university, but it became clear to me that I needed to pursue more meaningful work. I wanted to be of direct service and facilitate healing for others. My father, an allopathic doctor, was described as a “mensch” by his colleagues, and I aspired to make him proud and carry on my parents’ legacy in a purposeful way. I decided to pursue a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine and became a licensed acupuncturist. My dad would be delighted with my choice.
As a practitioner, I use a holistic approach to get to the root of the problem and create an individual treatment plan including acupuncture, herbs, nutritional counseling, and lifestyle changes to bring the body back into balance. My area of specialization is Orthopedics and Sports Injuries, and I recently completed a two year residency program with Dr. Frank “Donglai” He, a leading orthopedic and sports medicine acupuncturist in the Bay Area. Frank is a master acupuncturist who has treated tens of thousands of patients with his Muscle Channel Technique. I witnessed many miracles observing his treatments! Working in his clinic was an amazing experience and I am forever grateful to him for the opportunity.
I also completed The Acupuncture Sports Medicine Apprenticeship Program run by Whitfield Reaves, OMD, and received special Certification. The mission of the program is “ integrating traditional Chinese acupuncture with anatomy, orthopedics, and western sports medicine practices.”
I enjoy doing hands-on work (therapeutic massage, acupressure, Reiki, and craniosacral therapy) to enhance the benefits of acupuncture. I have many patients that initially come in to work on a specific orthopedic issue and when that is resolved they continue to return for general “once a month” or quarterly seasonal treatments and feel the benefits of having more energy, better digestion and less stress or anxiety. Acupuncture truly can help you feel better!
On a personal note, I am an avid recreational bicyclist. Getting regular exercise, having a daily spiritual practice, and staying connected with nature are essential for me. Laughter is a great way for me to reduce stress, and thankfully my goofy dog keeps me from getting too serious! I am inspired by the teachings of international humanitarian Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and I have been a meditator for over 20 years. This and my Qi gong practice might explain why patients tell me that I am an intuitive practitioner, and that they feel supported in body, mind, and spirit.
– Marianne Benforado, L.Ac.