photo by Ryan Stanbury
“A Tap dancing doctor.” This was my answer to: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” This thought came about when my younger sister was diagnosed with a rare kidney disorder, Masengial Sclerosis. At four months old, she blew up like a balloon in her crib. She received a kidney transplant at the age of two. At this time, I was inspired by the level of care displayed by the doctors, nurses, social workers and other healthcare professionals. Since then, I began to develop a passion for helping and healing others (Thank you, Christina). I spent quite a bit of time at the hospital until the age of 5. My mother didn’t want me to have to spend all of my time there, so she put me in dance classes at The Dance Shop in Holbrook, MA, where I started learning tap, jazz, and ballet. Tap dance happened to be the place where I felt freest. I now strive to use this freedom and exuberance to help and serve others.
After attaining a Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Connecticut in 2008, I had difficulty finding work. I noticed there were many jobs available in massage, so I decided to go back to school to study Massage Therapy. That way, I could heal others by utilizing my knowledge from my undergraduate work. Studying Massage Therapy provided me several tools such as palpation and recognizing changes in a person’s physical body. One day, a client of mine told me how acupuncture healed complications from his broken foot, and how afterward, he could feel and use his foot like never before. This story inspired me to reach out to acupuncture schools and read more about what acupuncture is and how it can help one’s health.
The theories and philosophies of Chinese Medicine (the broader name for what I do) made so much sense to me that I wondered why more people didn’t know about this option for healing. Later during my first visit with an acupuncturist, they asked "How may we help you?" I told the practitioners (both acupuncture students), “I have a lot of decisions to make, and I am having trouble making them. My mind feels cloudy and overwhelmed with the thought of so many decisions to make.” They said that they could help. Let me tell you, I made so many decisions after that treatment and felt so clear, I felt like Superwoman! It was truly amazing!
Through weekly treatments, acupuncture and herbal medicine have helped to alleviate my severe menstrual pain. My life is no longer interrupted by excruciating menstrual cramps, low back pain, and fainting on a monthly basis, which resulted in me missing school and work. It allowed me to make the choice to get off the birth control pill. I have healed my own sprained ankles and those of others many times. I have alleviated plantar fasciitis for those who thought they would have to deal with the symptoms for the rest of their lives. I have even assisted in the birth of children because of this medicine. Chinese Medicine continues to bring me joy knowing that I can make a difference in another’s life, with my hands, needles, a spoon, tape, and plants.
April M. Nieves Stanbury