To help the patients of GoodMedizen get to know us just a little bit more, we’re continuing our “Meet the Practitioners” blog series. In these entries, we chat with each of our practitioners to find out more about their background, what sets them apart from others in the field, and more.

Meet the Practitioners of GoodMedizen: Emily Paul

Emily Paul hiking in the Orcas Island during summer 2015.

Today we’re talking with Emily Paul, MS, EAMP, who has been practicing acupuncture since January 2013 and has been with GoodMedizen for a year and a half. Born in Iowa and raised in Minnesota, Emily has lived in Sweden, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and now Seattle for almost seven years. Let’s find out more!

What brought you to Seattle?

I came here to go to school at Bastyr. What drew me to Seattle is that it’s on the water, and it has the mountains and the forest. So when I was considering different options for acupuncture school, Bastyr spoke to me—in part because it’s in the middle of the woods. I also love the accessibility to nature in Seattle and the tending to and taking care of nature that goes on here. There’s so much awareness about recycling and composting, and I value that. Most of all, I love being able to spend so much time outside, and that it’s easy to go out for a beautiful hike and spend time around different lakes and the sea.

What drew you into the field of acupuncture?

That’s a tough one to answer succinctly, but I would say it was my own healing journey.

Let’s start at the beginning. What took you to Jamaica?

Meet the Practitioners of GoodMedizen: Emily Paul

Third from the left, Emily Paul with other volunteers for the Jamaica AIDS Support (JAS) participate in a women’s rights march, circa 2000.

I first went to Jamaica as a student for a study abroad program in a gender and development program. After I graduated from school, I had the opportunity to move back there to help a grassroots organization that was focused on HIV, AIDS, and LGBT issues. So I jumped at that! Jamaica has such a rich, rich culture, with creativity and dynamism. I was so humbled to be working with the communities that I did, working on true grassroots endeavors that were truly shifting people’s lives.

That absolutely impacted my desire to also look at the bigger picture for healing, what’s really important in life, and how we can magnify that.

After Jamaica, you went to Sri Lanka. What prompted that move?

Love. And people thought I was crazy, because it was just after September 11. But love can be a huge catalyst for change, and I just felt that I needed to go. It ended up being exactly the path I needed. I was able to connect with amazing human beings who were doing incredible work.

I started studying Kriya yoga, which is a meditation-based yoga. That was a clear shift for me, and I felt called to the healing arts. I wasn’t sure what kind, and I’d been doing different spiritual practices leading up to that, but Kriya yoga provided a landing.

So I went to Thailand to study Thai massage, which combines yoga and acupressure. I ended up suffering an injury while I was there, and I received acupuncture treatments to help with it. Sadly, I knew I was not going to be able to practice Thai massage afterward because of what it requires of your body to perform it. I went back to Sri Lanka, wondering what I was supposed to do, and I started working with a holistic healer. He was a trained MD but practiced homeopathy, Ayurvedic medicine, and acupuncture—he had a great combination of gifts. He suggested to me that, since I loved Thai massage, I should consider acupuncture. I had already been thinking about it and researching schools. So it felt like a sign, and I absolutely trust in doors that open. And that’s when I found Bastyr, which really spoke to me.

What do you love most about being an acupuncturist?

It’s a way to connect with individuals wherever they’re at on their journey and to be able to support their path of finding greater health and well-being. When we’re pain-free, and when we aren’t burdened by anxiety or depression, we respond differently to the world. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine help to remove or lessen some of those obstacles so that an individual can really thrive.

How are you different from other acupuncturists?

I think my journey has been enriched because I spent so much time outside of the United States. I don’t come from the perspective that’s traditional here. When I look at things, I’m looking through the lens of all this other indigenous and cultural wisdom that I’ve been exposed to.

Transgender health is one of your specialties. Could you share more about that?

At GoodMedizen, we have created a safe space for anyone to be able to come in and access the care that is needed. When I work with someone, I want to know, how can we support who you are? How do we support your body? How do we look at the mental, emotional, and spiritual components that play into everything?

It’s also not just about transition, which could be one phase in a person’s journey. Many individuals are questioning their gender identity and might not necessarily be at the point of even recognizing that transition is something they want to go through. My focus is to be here to support an individual in any phase.

Not many practitioners or acupuncture facilities specialize in trans health. But with the background and experience that I’ve had, I was able to facilitate in-house training for the staff at GoodMedizen. We looked at different procedures that we needed to have in place, the awareness in our language, and other things we need to create a safe space for growth and healing to support the transgender community.

Meet the Practitioners of GoodMedizen: Emily Paul

Emily Paul captured the cherry blossoms in full bloom while on a walk around Seattle’s Green Lake in the spring of 2016.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to go for walks, and I take pictures when I’m walking sometimes. I like to meditate and focus on spiritually nourishing activities.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability, what would it be?

It would be to help people know their own Truth.

Like an empath?

I actually don’t know how it would look. I just feel like that’s so inherent in the work I do, even as an acupuncturist. In that Truth, there’s love, peace, health, and well-being.

If you think Emily sounds like the practitioner for you, book an appointment today.