Acupuncture was an unexpected turn in life.

I grew up in a small town in southwest Virginia where most people had never heard of acupuncture, and many thought it was quackery, or worse. I favored math and science classes and even went to a science summer camp at a local college twice when I was younger. I was highly skeptical of anything lacking hard, cold, undeniable proof that it worked as promised.

However, I knew I wanted to grow up and help people or animals. When I was small, depending on my mood, I would say that I wanted to be a nurse or a zookeeper.

When I was seven or eight years old I developed dramatically violent respiratory allergies, dashing my zookeeping hopes to dust They were mostly seasonal, but I was allergic to dust and various pets so they could spring up anytime. My face would itch to no end, and the whites of my eyes would swell. My nose would get so congested that I took up mouth-breathing as a hobby. The suffering was honestly unbelievable at times.

Not to mention that these episodes could be pretty embarrassing at times for a teenager.

“With that background, it’s amazing that I ended up here.”

Doctors always dismissed these issues and only offered medication that worked minimally for the allergies. This always frustrated me; I felt like there must be something I could do to get better! But there wasn’t, or so I was told. I had those allergies well into adulthood.

Fast forward past college at U.Va., and just not quite being able to pull the trigger on grad school for counseling or finish those pre-med requirements for med school and psychiatry.

I could never go through with these steps because I wanted to give people more. I didn’t even know what that meant, but for me, a lifetime of prescribing pharmaceuticals didn’t feel like the right thing. So, I kept looking for the career option that felt right.

A few years later, I had my first experience with Chinese medicine. When I was in my early 20’s someone loaned me a book called, “Healing with Whole Foods.” It’s a book that explains diet from a Chinese medicine perspective. This was a tome of a book and to me was nearly written in a foreign language, but I couldn’t put it down!  I started applying some of its ideas to my life by changing my diet.

My energy started to get better, and my allergies and my digestion. Not cured, but much better. I was intrigued!  

I decided to see an acupuncturist for the first time soon after this. The results from several months of treatment were clear – my digestion was great for the first time in my life, I was sleeping well, I felt more emotionally balanced than I ever had in my life, and my allergies? Almost completely cured. After almost 20 years of being told that the allergies would be with me forever, they were gone. And in the 15 years since, they have never returned.

It felt like a miracle, but really, it was just a different kind of medicine. One I wanted to know everything about.

A year passed, two years, ten. No allergies! To this day, sometimes that little skeptic comes alive in my head I almost still can’t believe that it happened. 

This experience opened a window of understanding for me that has never closed. All the systems in our body are connected, and some health problems cannot be solved unless we have the good fortune to work some someone who knows how to put the pieces of your puzzle together.

I know what it’s like to be told that your suffering is going to be your status quo. I know from personal experience and nearly 14 years of clinical experience (as of 2023) that there is often so much that can be done to relieve our suffering.

If you are tired of being told you must suffer and struggle with your health, and that is going to be this way forever, I would absolutely love to talk to you.

Maegan N. Hodge attended the University of Virginia and got her B.A. in Psychology in 2003.  She moved to Portland, Oregon in 2006 and got her Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine in 2011.  She has been treating patients since 2010. She is currently licensed and certified to practice acupuncture by the Virginia Board of Medicine.