Hi, my name is Dawna and I am a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of integrative medicine in the state of California. Ever since I was really little I can remember being interested in health and nutrition. As a youngster I suffered from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which meant I had to eat every 2 hours or else I was prone to extreme dizziness, poor concentration, irritability, and even blackouts. I remember feeling like someone was scratching their nails on a chalkboard inside my body and all I could do was scream and cry.
At the time not many people understood how poor blood sugar regulation could affect the brain and body. My mom, determined to find a solution to her sick child had to quickly learn without the help of the internet how to take care of me and my 4 other siblings. She sent me to school with a note to the teacher saying I needed to eat every 2 hours a few slices of apple with a little peanut butter on it. From that moment on I had to pay close attention to what and when I ate. I really had no choice in the matter. Being hypoglycemic taught me a lot about nutrition and that if I wasn’t going to let food be my medicine then I was going to get very sick very quickly.
In my early twenties I set out on a quest to find perfect health. I studied massage and became a massage therapist. I also studied meditation and yoga and worked at a couple well known yoga studios in Southern California. I even became a raw food vegan and thrived on this lifestyle. Everything was great until all of a sudden it wasn’t. After 3 years of living this lifestyle my health started to decline. I began to notice slow digestion, weight fluctuations, headaches, and mood changes. Being addicted to nutritional dogma I refused to believe that this perfect diet could be making me sick. After all, everyone knows that vegetables and fruit are good for you. Who was I to question the status quo?
In an attempt to validate my nutritional bias I decided to go to acupuncture school and further my education in natural medicine in hopes that it would help me treat my failing digestion. Thinking it would support my belief system that humans are meant to be vegan raw foodists, I was slapped in the face with 3,000 years of proven medical wisdom that didn’t mesh with my current nutritional belief system.
In those days it was hard for me to appreciate the delicate art of Chinese Medicine. It’s not an easy philosophy to learn for those who like to think in linear terms. Here in the west we are taught to think that A leads to B which leads to C. In Chinese Medicine there is no distinction between A, B, & C. There is no road that connects the separate parts, there is only one part. Like a balloon, if there is a microscopic tare anywhere, the entire balloon will deflate.
After many intellectual dietary arguments and plenty of late night contemplations to quit, I graduated from Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, California and received a Master’s of Science in Oriental Medicine. After my completion of school, I set out to do postgraduate work at Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Tianjin, China one of China’s leading teaching and research hospitals where I received a certificate in the field of post stroke recovery.
Studying in China opened up my eyes to a world I knew so little about. After 4 years of study in Berkeley, I was just a beginner and finally ready to learn what Chinese Medicine had to offer. It was much more beautiful, much more complex and sophisticated, and much more deeply interconnected with the entire universe than I ever could have imagined.
After completing my Chinese Medicine studies, I went on to study functional medicine from the Institute of Functional Medicine as well as completed a functional medicine mentorship with the Kalish Institute. I believe combining these two worlds offers the best course of treatment medicine has to offer.
As an acupuncturist and functional medicine practitioner, I strive to find the root cause of what ails you. I am not interested in treating just your symptoms, like a detective I will help you unravel the mystery by exposing the fugitive that’s hiding behind your aches and pains. I do this the old fashioned way by sitting down and getting to know you and your story. I ask questions about your current and past health, your diet and digestion, how successful you have been at managing stress, your sleep patterns, your emotional and mental state, your relationships and lifestyle habits, as well as observe your physical constitution.
I use acupuncture, functional medicine lab testing, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, bodywork, and dietary and lifestyle recommendations that are carefully chosen to be personal to you and your story.
I believe perfect health is unique to you and with just a little guidance you can enjoy a happy life free of aches and pains while spending less time in doctor’s offices. I believe that healthcare should be affordable, easily accessible, uncomplicated, and put back into the hands of the patients and their health practitioners, rather than the wealthy insurance and pharmaceutical companies who currently dominate the health care system. Welcome to my world!
I have been practicing integrative medicine since 2006 and currently have a private practice in Pasadena, CA.