Courtney M. Zeller (She/They)
Acupuncture & Eastern Medicine Practitioner
Why did I choose Chinese Medicine?
I first knew that I wanted to practice medicine while taking an elective psychology class while in the Running Start program at Cascadia College.
From day one, I was so drawn into it, and couldn’t get enough. The standard treatment for psychological conditions were very troublesome to me, even at 16 years old. It seemed like pharmaceuticals were, in most cases, the only real option. Wherever therapy couldn’t go, medications did. Because of this, I had chosen to pursue a career in psychiatry, so that I would have the credentials to take on the more difficult cases, use medication only when absolutely necessary, and try to devise alternative and holistic ways of helping these people who were clearly suffering.
Even back then, I had a holistic mind, though I didn’t even know the term “holistic medicine” yet! I was focused on the interplay between psychological and physiological pain, and how to lessen both to help people to heal. Little did I know how far that concept would end up going in my life!
Two years later, I was studying at the University of Washington towards a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and getting all of my Pre-Med classes done with the plan of attending Medical School the following year. While I was getting frustrated with the pharmaceutical complex driven program, I was still on my mission to find a better way for the treatment of psychology patients and mostly enjoying school.
Then something happened that changed everything… My migraines, which I had been struggling with since age 12, became debilitating. I was getting them a few times per week, they would last up to 3 days, and I couldn’t function. I saw countless doctors and specialists, and it seemed as if no one could help me. I ended up having to take a hardship withdrawal from my studies for a quarter because I simply could not function.
I was growing more and more frustrated with doctors, until one day, I had finally had enough. I was on day two of a migraine, and it was “a bad one.” I had an appointment with a new doctor to evaluate my migraines, again. I lived a few blocks from the office, and I remember stumbling, trying to walk there with my eyes mostly closed to block out what seemed like piercing bright light (it was Seattle, in the fall… it was not very bright out…). I made it to the office, and was hopeful that this doctor was going to be the one to figure it out, the one who would help me…
Well, I was wrong. The doctor, like all the others before him, offered me opioid pain killers, to which I responded that I couldn’t take, and that it should be in my chart that I cannot take them because they make me violently ill. The doctor then threw his arms up in the air, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “well, I don’t know what you want me to do then!” Now crying, I told him that I wanted him to figure out what was wrong with me. Why, an otherwise healthy young girl was struggling on an almost daily basis with debilitating pain. He again threw his arms up, said that there was nothing more he could do if I didn’t want to take the medication, and walked out of the room.
I was devastated.
Days, weeks, or months went by, I am really not sure – pain does that to ones’ memory… but somewhere along the line, a friend convinced me to try acupuncture. I was TERRIFIED of needles, so it was a pretty hard sell… but I was desperate! I wanted my life back!
So, I went, and it was maybe the single most defining choice of my life...
I had some relief with my first visit. It wasn’t magic, by any means.. it was subtle, but it was almost as if the edge of pain that I was on, even on my “good days,” wasn’t as bad. It was enough to get me to go again. And again. And again…
After a few months of acupuncture treatment, along with Chinese Herbs, and some exercises to do as homework, I began living a migraine free life. Yes, MIGRAINE FREE! Other than a couple of migraines while I was pregnant with my son, I have continued to be migraine free ever since.
I just completely fell in love with the medicine, I couldn’t get enough!
So, instead of applying for Medical School, I applied to Bastyr University and pursued a Masters of Science in Acupuncture. Fast forward 14 years later, I am STILL in love with this medicine, and am thankful every day for the honor of using it with my patients.
I feel so privileged to be practicing Chinese Medicine in this time in history because we have been able to (and continue to) unravel so much about how it actually works. Western Science has been making extraordinary steps in understanding the power of this incredible medicine. This gives me the ability to explain what I am doing with patients. It helps them to understand their treatment which allows them to take an active role in their healthcare.
On a daily basis I get to help ease suffering and empower people to take control of their health! I get to utilize science, while also performing art. I get to help people get freedom from pain, and to get more enjoyment from life.
Find out how Chinese Medicine can help you! Schedule a free consultation today!
Credentials & Specialties
Courtney M. Zeller is a board certified East Asian Medical Practitioner in Washington State and a Diplomat of Acupuncture for the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She earned her Masters of Science degree in Acupuncture from Bastyr University, one of the leading institutes for Natural Medicine.
Because Experience Matters
Masters of Science in Acupuncture at Bastyr University
Supervisor Assistant Acupuncturist, Bastyr Center for Natural Health
Advanced Training and Certification in Master Tung Acupuncture and Herbal Therapeutics
Guest Lecturer, Bastyr University, Cascadia Community College
Advanced Training in Aesthetic Facial Rejuvenation
Clinical Nutrition Training, SHEI, NRT, Standard Process, NW Biotics Research
Diplomat of Acupuncture, NCCAOM
Because No One Can Be a Master of Everything
I specialize in these areas:
Pain Management: Physical pain and psychological pain can both cause and affect one another. I call this the Physical and Psychological Pain Axis. A common example would be when you are very stressed out and you notice that your neck and shoulders are tight, we often refer to this is “carrying our stress on our shoulders.” Stress, and other psychological or emotional factors can make pain worse, and the same is true the other way around whereas experiencing pain can make things like anxiety and stress much worse. It is with careful examination and treatment on both sides of this axis that more profound relief from symptoms, as well as healing, occurs.
Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders: Do you feel…. off? It might be your endocrine system not working effectively. Fatigue, anxiety, weight gain, inability to lose weight, food cravings, poor sleep… the list goes on! All of our hormones play an elegant dance with one another, and when one gets “out of step,” it can cause all of them to be “off-beat.” With thorough investigation, we should be able to figure out who the main culprits are and, with treatment, help get them back in line, and you feeling at your best! Your trouble weight loss is likely not a matter of you “not trying hard enough” at the gym, or with your diet! It’s more likely that your hormones are miscommunicating with one another so your organs aren’t getting the proper “start” and “stop” signals. With Chinese Medicine as well as Clinical Nutrition, we can effectively reverse most of these problems and get you feeling better!
Neuropathy: Dysfunction of nerves can happen for various reasons from acute injuries to chronic tension, and from more serious causes like Diabetic Neuropathy and Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy. This results in symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and even pain. For some, this is a nuisance that comes and goes, and for others it can be completely debilitating. This can be very difficult to get relief from, and often times patients are told by their doctors that medications, often with awful side effects, are the only option. Under the right conditions, nerves can regenerate, although this can be a very slow process – Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can be an immense help with both reducing the symptoms quickly – so you can feel better, as well as help encourage neuro-regeneration to reverse the condition, regardless of its cause.