Many of you know that my family has made its first real home here in Watertown, MA. We have loved becoming a part of this community. So, when a new perinatal care specialist moves into town, I get super excited! Ece was connected to me by another friend, Shirley Anne, and we got together for lunch one day and talked about all of the exciting things we’ve got going on! I am looking forward to my first treatment with her next week and am excited to introduce her to the Watertown area community! We are excited that we got a chance for a little email interview to learn more about Ece and her practice!
A little about Ece
Ece (pronounced like EH-jeh, it’s a Turkish name) is a licensed acupuncturist in Watertown, MA. She just opened her own practice in Watertown and also does home visits, workshops, and more! While she has practiced general care for years in remote locations, her true passion and specialty is women’s health and menstrual systems.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your journey into your career as an acupuncturist and your specialty?
A: I came to acupuncture through my own health journey. As a kid, I frequently got sick and had to be prescribed antibiotics over and over again. As a young adult, I suffered from dysmenorrhea (significant menstrual cramping) as well as vomiting and weight loss. Testing ordered by allopathic physicians (conventional primary and specialty care) revealed nothing wrong with my digestive tract, and various prescriptions ordered by my gynecologist did little to nothing for my dysmenorrhea.
After starting college and losing 25 pounds in just few months, I decided it was time to look into other options to improve my health. I still didn’t know about acupuncture or other health therapies, but I discovered the power of food in healing my digestive tract. My health was significantly improved from diet and exercise – which helped me manage my anxiety – but I was still debilitated for a few days out of every month by my menstrual cycle, and I was still getting sick often with recurrent strep and mononucleosis.
Finally, I discovered acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. Finding treatment that actually worked, and discovering an entirely new way of viewing the world through Chinese Medical theory (based originally in Daoist philosophy) changed my life, and I knew I needed to devote the rest of my life to bringing this medicine to those in search of a better way of being. The ability of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture to bring change to someone’s life, in more ways than just physical health, continuously amazes me. Through study and treatment, I now enjoy more stable emotional health, significantly fewer and more mild illnesses, and an improved menstrual cycle. I still have further to go on my health journey, but I now feel in control in a way I couldn’t have imagined before.
While my own menstrual health was the main factor in honing my specialty, the societal treatment of menstruation was also a compelling factor. I became tired of the taboo of women’s health – historically allopathic medicine has been based on research of the male body – and while that has been just barely starting to change in the past decade or so, it does so much too slowly. Menstruation and pregnancy are still viewed as conditions that need to be “controlled” with hormones and surgery, rather than expanding treatment options. The more I learned about women’s health, the more I was shocked at how women, trans-men and non-binary menstruators are consistently turned away with menstrual problems (as I was) and postpartum. Individuals who have given birth are often taught to accept the “new normal” of their bodies which may include pelvic pain/scarring, pain during intercourse, incontinence, organ prolapse, or more. I’m happy to see this changing, especially in areas like Boston, where midwives and doulas have entered the hospital setting and influenced the entire medical system. I want to be a part of that continued change.
Q: Besides your specialty, can you tell us more about what makes your practice unique?
A: I studied Classical Chinese Medicine at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. Classical Chinese Medicine is different than what most acupuncturists study, Traditional Chinese Medicine; both are very effective forms of treatment – as can be seen in the many quality acupuncturists coming out of Boston’s own New England School of Acupuncture – though my program stresses the importance of studying acupuncture directly from the classical texts, as well as emphasizing personal cultivation as part of the way we practice. In my 4 year program, we took time to understand the way the seasons and the cosmos are reflected in the way the body expresses health or imbalance, honoring the roots of Chinese Medicine in Daoist philosophy. By practicing self cultivation (for me in the form of yoga or tai ji and meditation), I am better able to use all of my senses to accurately diagnose and treat the patient.
Most easily noticed, though, is the way I treat using hands on therapies such as moxibustion, cupping, gua sha and other manual techniques in my treatments. While there is often benefit in resting quietly with the needles, practicing these other modalities alongside acupuncture is also of great value to the individual. It’s also often the case that moxibustion and cupping can be less intimidating than acupuncture for those new to Chinese Medicine and offer a gentler, alternative treatment.
Q: Where have your studies brought you and what brings you now to Watertown, MA?
A: Before beginning my graduate program, I had the opportunity to travel to China to appreciate the culture and roots of this medicine. At that time I also spent a month living in a monastery in Nepal, exploring the arts of meditation and preparing myself for delving into my study of medicine.
During my time in Portland, OR, I had the opportunity to study with many amazing teachers both inside and outside of my school. In my traditional mentorship program, I studied with Dr. Brenda Hood who is skilled in many of the lesser known techniques of Chinese Medicine, which she learned working in various hospitals in China. I practiced Tai Ji with lineage holder Master Ko, and learned how to feel the meridians in my own body. I studied the Classical texts with Dr.Edward Neal and Sabine Wilms – exploring acupuncture techniques as directly described in the texts and working to interpret the many-layered meaning of the Classical Chinese language. I honed the sensitivity of my hands by working with Sheila Murphy in the arts of visceral manipulation and with Tami Kent in learning pelvic floor techniques. In our school’s supervised clinic I worked to bring all these various techniques together to develop my own personalized style with the varied patient populations in student clinics all over town.
Following school, I took time to travel to Nepal and volunteered as an acupuncturist in a rural clinic in the Sindhupalchok district with Mindful Medicine Worldwide. The Nepali people there have very little access to healthcare, and so acupuncture was one of the few ways for them to keep ahead of or recover from imbalances such as postpartum prolapse, stroke, diabetes, and angina. It was a humbling experience, and I was thankful for the opportunity to serve them.
Since then, I settled in upstate NY in a rural town called Chatham. I opened my doors and had a steady clinic there for about 2 years, before deciding to move to the Boston area to move in with my partner and to open my new clinic in Watertown. While it was very difficult to close the doors of my little clinic in Chatham and to say goodbye to the community there, I am very excited to be in an area with access to a wider community of healthcare for both myself and my patients, and to take this next step in my relationship with my partner, Aaron.
Q: Can you tell us about some of the workshops and activities that you see yourself participating in or hosting?
A: While I’m still slowly getting all the parts of my new business together, I’m looking forward to when I’ll be ready to teach (and co-teach!) acupressure for labor workshops and postpartum care workshops. I’m also interested in designing menstrual workshops to help young people discover their menstrual product options as well as learning appropriate menstrual care – nutrition, activity, etc. and tips for regulating their cycle and fertility. I’ve also been having conversations with other practitioners about hosting women’s circles or even a ceremony to honor women at the different phases of womanhood.
Q: What is your vision for your business in the future?
A: I dream of having a cooperative medicine clinic where patients can access the different modalities of healing in one location. No one branch of medicine can do everything. While acupuncture has been my main modality for my health, I wouldn’t have achieved my current state of health without the assistance of nutrition, pelvic floor work, TuiNa therapy, and Naturopathic therapies. In the context of health for menstruating and pregnant individuals, I hope to have a cooperative clinic with a workshop space and access to doulas, midwives, nutritionists, acupuncture, and more.
To learn more about Ece, visit her website at new-moon-acupuncture.com and follow her on Facebook @newmoonacupuncture. Also, stay tuned on the Birthing Matters Doula Services blog for up-to-date event listings including workshops offered with New Moon Acupuncture!