Allison Millar, L.Ac.
Graduated from Santa Fe 2015
After graduating from SWAC's Santa Fe campus in 2015, I accepted a job with Steiner Spas Acupuncture at Sea program. The education and clinical skills I received at SWAC allowed me to hit the ground running. I was positioned on a cruise ship this past January, which has traveled throughout Australia and New Zealand, passed through Bali, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and China. It is currently traveling between Taiwan and Japan.
Practicing acupuncture onboard a cruise ship is not without its challenges. It provides an exceptional environment to test and hone both my clinical and business-related skills. I market myself by advertising my services and giving seminars to passengers explaining how acupuncture works. Best of all, I sell treatments as a package so I get to give patients treatments on a daily or near-daily basis and observe what works and what doesn't work.
Over the past 3 and a half months, I have given over 500 treatments and have been very pleased with the knowledge and skills that I learned throughout my 4 years of school at SWAC. I was able to build a very diverse skill set, so when I don't get results from one style of treatment, I have confidence knowing that I can work with the patient some other way (Japanese Meridian Therapy, Dr. Nakano, E-stim, Microsystem, TCM, etc.). Overall, I've been getting great results and helping many people, all the while, traveling and mingling with people from all over the world. Thanks SWAC, for the confidence, skills, and preparation!
Sang Ly Montage
Graduated from Albuquerque 2006
Practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine came to me when I turned 30. I knew I had "to do" something bigger than myself. I discussed what schools there were with my then-acupuncturist and now-mentor, Lonny Jarrett. Six months later, having packed my life from NY, I made the solo move to my new life in Albuquerque.
Having chosen the three year path at SWAC Albuquerque was challenging yet very rewarding. The teachers were amazing! Not only were they knowledgeable, but compassionate as well. The trip to China was eye opening before embarking out on my own. To feel the atmosphere where the medicine was born, to know what damp really meant, was eye opening.
I sold my first practice and now practice at Gorilla Acupuncture LLC. SWAC prepared me by giving me lots of clinic time with advisors. They gave me the freedom to forge my own style within the field. They inspired my by the knowledge gained to go out on my own.
Gorilla Acupuncture LLC is located in Applegate, OR. The clinic is novel as it is housed in a renovated shipping container. The setting is beautiful and serene. Being involved with the local community is key to my philosophy. I volunteer at Providence Hospice, the local food bank, and offer a monthly Affordable Community Acupuncture where no one is ever turned away for lack of funds. It is my goal to give back not only with my personal time, but to empower my patients with the tools and understanding to trust in their own healing process.
Lisabeth Detwiler, DOM
Graduated from Albuquerque in 2013
During my last two semesters at SWAC, I completed all of my NCCAOM exams. Right after graduation, I went to China with the SWAC group. A couple weeks after we got back, I took the NM state board exam, and a week later, I had my license in my hand! The very next day I started working for an established practice as an independent contractor. It was such a whirlwind, but it felt amazing to be able to start practicing less than two months after graduation!
After about nine months as an independent contractor, I decided to open my own clinic, and almost one year to the day after I graduated, Zentral Wellness was open! It's now been eight months and, while we still have a long way to go, we've been able to expand the space to include another treatment room, an amazing massage therapist (who has been with me from day one), and a second acupuncturist. Since I was a teenager, I knew that one day I wanted to have have my own business, and now not only am I my own boss, but I get to help people in my community!
I received a top-notch education from SWAC. Not only was I prepared for all of the licensing exams, but the experience gained in the student clinic gave me confidence, and the SWAC culture of scholarship continues to drive me to deepen my knowledge. I know that practicing Chinese medicine will require a lifetime of study, but SWAC provided me a solid foundation on which to grow.
David Money, DOM
Graduated from Santa Fe 2012
I graduated from SWAC in August of 2012 and started a private mobile acupuncture business based out of my home in Eldorado, NM. Mobile acupuncture can be a good gig and is also very challenging as well. When you're treating patients at their homes you don't have control over the environment, so you have to be more flexible in your treatments strategies. After a few months of doing mobile acupuncture, I decided I needed to set up in an office, so I found a business suite in Eldorado and opened Eldorado Acupuncture Center there.
The majority of my patients come in to get traditional acupuncture, but they typically end up trying other modalities like Gua Sha, Tuina, or cupping. I've also found a great deal of interest in cosmetic acupuncture and related herbs. Patients often comment on the diversity of services that I provide and often ask why the other acupuncture schools don't teach their students more.
Brodie Welch, L.Ac.
Graduated from Albuquerque in 2003
I opened my practice, Life in Balance Acupuncture, in downtown Corvallis, Oregon, in 2003. I love the daily miracles I get to see working with acupuncture and herbs. But the real magic for me is in teaching: helping people to connect the dots between the way they're feeling and the way they're living so that they can make more medicinal life choices. Once you start looking through the lens of Chinese Medicine, the whole world looks different.
I treat a lot of burned-out caregivers, overachieving professionals, and overworked moms who put themselves last on their to-do list. It's my mission to convince them that self-care is not selfish, to stop the glorification of busyness, and help people create more ease and joy in their lives. So I started leading retreats, teaching workshops, and offering online classes to help people break the cycle of stress and exhaustion that contributes to practically every condition I see clinically.
Frustrated with trying to wedge meditation and breathing instructions into every acupuncture session, I decided to put all my go-to clinically successful strategies into a learn-from-anywhere course: Calm Yourself: Self-Care Strategies for Stress and Anxiety, which provides patients with bite-sized body-centered ways of dealing with stress (including acupressure, essential oils, breathing, body scanning, qi gong) while exploring why it keeps showing up in their lives. My online qi gong class: 12 Treasures Qi Gong teaches people a simple daily practice for emotional and physical resilience that they can do in just 20 minutes. I also run an affiliate program, allowing other practitioners to offer these courses to equip their patients with from all the branches of Chinese Medicine, without needing to carry any inventory.
My SWAC education grounded me in a whole new world view. Not only did it set me up for only for the career I thought I was training for (Chinese Medicine practitioner), but it laid the foundation for being a teacher, holistic health counselor, workshop facilitator, online entrepreneur, and whatever comes next!
Paul Rossignol, DOM
Graduated from Albuquerque 2005
I'm from Albuquerque and when I decided to pursue Oriental Medicine, I visited Southwest Acupuncture College. I was immediately impressed with the instructors I encountered and the greater variety of perspectives from different Oriental Medical traditions. Once I became a student, I remember feeling very at home and had several instructors that spent a great deal of time mentoring me during my education.
After graduation, I eventually became an instructor and the Clinic Director for Southwest Acupuncture College, and in 2015, the Santa Fe Campus Director. Additionally, I have a private practice at the University of New Mexico Student Health and Counseling Center. In general, Oriental medicine has really given me a profound perspective on how people relate to themselves and the world around them, and how this can impact the way we feel. I am constantly surprised by how effective Oriental medicine is for each condition I encounter. I have had the most experience treating chronic pain conditions, digestive disorders, anxiety, and insomnia. The highlight for me is facilitating people to become active participants in the process of improving their own health. I feel fortunate to be able to participate in this with both my patients and my students.
Southwest Acupuncture College has offered me an exemplary theoretical and clinical education. I was able to treat patients effectively upon graduation and also had a solid basis for further study. The varied approaches to medicine I encountered at Southwest Acupuncture College helped me to develop my own direction for continued learning in the field.
Robert Underwood, L.Ac.
Graduated from Boulder 2014
My wife and I have a joint practice in Longmont, CO, called Good Life Acupuncture and Wellness Center. Longmont is a city of approximately 100,000 near the SWAC campus that serves as a bedroom community for the Boulder area. It's the least expensive area in Boulder County, but is growing at the fastest pace.
Our practice has grown exponentially since I joined it last April, and I see anywhere from 20-30 clients per week. I treat a mixture of acute, chronic, and pediatric cases. We have a high rate of return, with most of our patients seeing us through the entire length of their prescribed treatment. Our team consists of five practitioners: two acupuncturists, a massage therapist, a cranio-sacral therapist, and a reconnective-healing therapist. We've had to learn a lot about business and hiring the correct fit, but it's a solid team and we're growing each week. We take insurance, but it's only 10-15% of our business. We charge $130 for the initial visit and $85 for subsequent visits.
I feel that my Southwest Acupuncture College education was broad enough that I can offer many different modalities, yet deep enough that I can research and find the answers to anything that I have not experienced yet and feel comfortable implementing it. For instance, I have a young patient with Retinitis Pigmentosa which is a progressive eye disease. While I'm not trained in this particular disease, all the literature and herbs that I have found regarding treatment protocols are obvious and easy to understand. Our clients seem to appreciate that I am well versed in several styles of treatments: i.e., Chinese, Japanese, Five Element, Tui Na, Shiatsu, and I think that is the true benefit of the education that I received at SWAC. I would recommend SWAC to anyone seeking a solid, well-rounded, Chinese-style acupuncture education.
Kim Costello, L.Ac.
Graduated from Albuquerque 2012
A wonderful advantage of establishing a practice in Valley City, ND, is that there are not many acupuncturists here. I have an open field here in ND and anyone else will too if they decide to live here. (THE WINTER IS BRUTAL.) And the cost is less: I have a 1500 square foot office with electric included for under $1000 a month. If I didn't have my school loans and car expense, I would be doing very well. The disadvantage to living in a small town is that if you don't get results or aren't liked, you'll be closed before you open.
When I started my practice, Wellness at Revelations of Beauty, I was advised to join the Chamber of Commerce. Different chambers work differently, and although they all cost something, it's worth it to join. I also paid for an ad with the local paper. I was placed in front with a picture and a write up about me and my business. My first several clients came from that ad and from them I received many more referrals. Now I am invited to different community clubs in town to speak and educate members about my business and TCM.
I can't express the importance of having the opportunity to travel to China. Having witnessed advanced study and experienced our medicine the way it was originally practiced was priceless. The other most important factor in my success was learning to treat many conditions. The variety of clinics SWAC offered by extremely knowledgeable doctors have given me a broad perspective when treating my clients. I have been blessed from the beginning by attending SWAC. SWAC has given me what I needed to be a successful practitioner: results and confidence.
Brianna Kraus, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.
Graduated from Boulder 2015
Within about a month of graduation, I heard about a job opening at Optimal Health Matters with a chiropractor in Highlands Ranch, CO, from a fellow SWAC grad, Rhianna Weaver. She wanted to accept the job, but her private practice was taking off so she did not have the time to devote to marketing for the job at the chiropractor's office that I could devote. I currently am the resident acupuncturist at Optimal Health Matters in Highlands Ranch, CO. Currently there is a chiropractor, two massage therapists, and a personal trainer also employed at the office. It was so great that my fellow SWAC grads knew enough about me and where I was located to think of me when hearing about a job opportunities.
Nancy Randall, DOM
Graduated from Albuquerque 2010
For many years I have been drawn to the practice of acupuncture and Eastern medicine. So in 2006, I applied and was accepted to the Master of Science in Oriental Medicine program at Southwest Acupuncture College.
Southwest Acupuncture College is known as a school with excellent teachers as well as a wide range of classes and student clinics designed to prepare practitioners. While still a student, I had the opportunity to study Japanese Meridian Therapy which has now become my specialty in my private practice. It has been very gratifying to participate in the healing process of my patients. Additionally, there are many interesting continuing education classes and programs available which provide all practitioners with a deeper understanding of this remarkable medicine.
After graduation, one of my goals was to become actively involved in helping my community through acupuncture. Now, together with fellow volunteer practitioners, we work to improve the lives of trauma patients and their families.
Monica Luna, DOM
Graduated from Albuquerque 2007
Monica is a native Santa Fean. Except for some time on the East coast in the 80's, she has lived her life in New Mexico. She held many positions before becoming a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, including a clothing buyer for a national label, a sales and catering manager for a national hotel chain, ran a state legislative committee and owned a landscaping company. Monica was a landscape designer and master gardener for years after studying landscape architecture at the University of New Mexico. It is her affinity for flora that led her to Chinese Medicine. Since graduation, she has studied advanced herbal medicine in Beijing and worked at a small health clinic in northern New Mexico. Monica maintains private practices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Karen Hershman, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.
Graduated from Santa Fe 1995
Karen has been practicing acupuncture and Chinese herbology since 1995. She has a Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) and is licensed in California, New Mexico, and nationally. Karen taught at Southwest Acupuncture College for six years while maintaining her private practice. In 2004, she moved to San Marcos to serve this community by opening Escondido Acupuncture Wellness. Karen is committed to assisting people to regain their health.
In May 2007, Karen was initiated in South Africa into the path of becoming a sangoma (African shaman). She has a deep passion for spiritual growth and loves assisting others on their path to wholeness. Karen also enjoys public speaking and introduces students to theories and non-needle techniques at Cal State San Marcos and in Oriental Medicine at the Healing Hands Massage School in Escondido and Laguna Hills.