December 20, 2021
How did you decide to become an Acupuncturist? Was there one a-ha moment or was it a more gradual process of deciding?
I wound up in acupuncture school as a complete accident! I had done my undergrad degree in metal arts, sculpture and jewelry making. I knew I didn’t want to be a bench jeweler and really wanted to do large scale installation art, at the time that wasn’t really a thing so I wound up taking a job as an underwriting assistant for farm insurance, not Farmer’s but literal farms. The job was pretty dry, but for the first time ever I had some disposable income which I used to join a yoga studio. I loved yoga so much I thought about teacher training, and by some fluke I wound up attending a workshop by a local naturopath at the studio. He spoke about how all the parts of the body are all connected and how something off in one area may lead to something else being off somewhere else. I just inherently knew all of this to be true and was fascinated by this type of medicine. I started working with him on some digestive issues I was having that my Doctor was no help for – they simply told me to take a pill that ‘turns off your gallbladder’ without even testing anything, lo and behold I’m just lactose intolerant and that was the issue. I was so awed by the whole system of medicine that I wanted to go to naturopath school, but you can’t get into medical school with an art degree! I really didn’t want to do a second undergrad, and had come across acupuncture schools in my search so I checked it out and wound up signing up. I had never even had acupuncture before!
Do you have a favorite memory of being in school or class?
I think the beginning of school was the most exciting, when everything was new and really magical. When I was in school was when Harry Potter was really gaining steam so we all referred to class as ‘Harry Potter class.’ Also, on brand with the ‘4th Pillar of Health’ we learned in nutrition class, my friend Ashley and I started ‘Waffle Fridays’ where we would make waffles every Friday morning, it was a really nice way to get through the term, lol.
What surprised you about learning East Asian Medicine, either in school or after?
I think after school was when I really started to figure out who I was as a healer. What I’ve found to be true is that there really aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to East Asian Medicine. Yes there are specific systems of medicine, points, etc, but there isn’t just one system, there are hundreds if not thousands. My only hard rule is: do no harm.
Outside of that the medicine really depends on intention, not mentally figuring out point prescriptions or reading the latest journal article. I think it’s actually mostly about the space we hold which helps patients feel safe and connected enough to start to release things that no longer serve them. I think a lot of the ‘failed’ acupuncture research proves this point, when they try to do sham acupuncture by not using acupuncture points or having people who aren’t trained perform it or by using fake needles etc. What most studies find is that the real acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups perform similarly, and usually outperform the no treatment group. Some people use this as an excuse as to why acupuncture is a fraud or liken it to placebo effect, but to me this just proves that intention is paramount, this medicine is much more complex than what we have time to learn in school and its so much more than just point prescriptions. If you give a treatment with a contact needle or not in an ‘official’ point and it still gives a result, it tells us that the systems of acupuncture are far beyond our westernized view of them, not that they don’t work.
You’re a Medical Intuitive– can you tell us a little about what that means?
In line with what I mentioned above about intention being everything, my work as a medical intuitive, or rather my blend of work as an intuitive acupuncturist is dependent on this. As a medical intuitive I use my intuition to help ‘see’ inside the body and detect imbalances. The way I practice is mostly by palpation and communication with my guides and my patients’ guides to help me find the right points to use, and rarely will I practice by using a traditional point description, i.e. Large Intestine 4 because it helps with headaches.
I don’t offer medical diagnosis or anything of that nature as some medical intuitives do, rather my strong suit is helping people to understand what their disease, illness or difficulty is helping them with. I believe that all issues we have stem from an imbalance in our spiritual field, usually they are helping to guide us back on track to align with our purpose for being here on earth, at minimum they are helping us to learn something that we likely had wanted to learn as an intention for coming into this life. Perhaps we are learning how to go slowly if we have arthritis, maybe we are learning to find our voice if we have vocal cord spasms, there are an infinite number of ways disease plays out in our lives, and I don’t believe that it is ever random. So my work is in helping my patients have more clarity around themselves and why they are here.
What drew you to Cosmetic Acupuncture as a specialty?
I first learned cosmetic acupuncture in school with Virginia Doran. I honestly was drawn to it because we were told it would be a great way to make money, after learning it I found that I have a very good ability to do the treatments because of my background in jewelry making and art. There is an art to being an acupuncturist, particularly in needling, with facial acupuncture even more so. I enjoy doing the treatments because it’s a place I get to use my dexterity skills well, and often the results are pretty nice as well. In my course I offer in Integrative Cosmetic Acupuncture a big piece of the learning is around why and how the treatment works, which is multi-layered, but it’s something in all the courses I have taken had never learned or had explained before so I felt that was important to add.
Can you share a little bit about how Cosmetic & Facial Acupuncture fits in with your spiritual development work? Is Facial Acupuncture a spirit-level treatment?
The patients who come for facial acupuncture are usually pretty healthy people, but there is usually some type of disconnect or imbalance with how they view themselves on some level. I see cosmetic acupuncture as a tool to help people tune back into their true nature. Since we aren’t needing to address much physical dysfunction there’s a lot of room for growth in other areas. Particularly it’s about creating a safe space for the Shen and other spirits to call home, releasing limiting beliefs and programs around beauty and tuning back into our true selves.
When we are truly being our higher self we are beautiful, beauty isn’t about what we actually look like at all, in essence it’s more of a verb – it’s who we are being.
Any recent themes you’re seeing in the treatment room?
A practice is an ever evolving thing, right now I’m actually currently closed to new patients for cosmetic acupuncture and am possibly thinking about phasing it off entirely. My main focus has been on spiritual type treatments, which I call Gateway Healing. This is a process where we use acupuncture to help with spiritual growth and alignment in the etheric, mental, and astral bodies along with chakras in body and out of body. By working on these ‘outer’ levels we can influence physical changes, but mostly the intention is to grow as a person and move more into alignment with our true purpose and service. Many of my newer patients are very focused and committed to this level of growth.
These types of treatments can be very transformational, helping the body keep up with the spirit and offering a safe harbor for the spirit along this journey.
Essentially I see this as going way back to the alchemical roots of acupuncture history where acupuncture was a means of alchemy – transformation and the quest for immortality. Of course we aren’t becoming immortal with acupuncture, but as we connect more fully to our divine self and intention we can actually experience a life much greater, in all ways, than just the programmatic birth – school – marriage – work – give birth – die life we’ve become accustomed to. This type of treatment isn’t for everyone of course, and does require that a person be also supporting themself with their own growth processes, looking at their inner shadow, meditating, etc.
I know you’ve got a new project starting, the Integrative Healing Institute. What inspired this project and what’s it all about?
Yes! The Integrative Healing Institute is a soon to be 501(c)3 non-profit research and education institution that I’ve founded. The primary goal is to offer affordable continuing education courses to acupuncturists, and eventually other healthcare providers and the general public with a focus on content that bridges the spirit – mind – body connection. In addition I hope to see this project start to take on research projects looking at how different modalities affect patients in this way across all aspects of what it means to be human, not just the physical body. I wanted to offer these courses and content because it’s an aspect of this medicine I feel is sorely lacking in general practice and these areas of practice aren’t included in school curriculums. The courses currently have a really good range of topics and interests, from emotional wellness, facial acupuncture, we have a big year long dream series course, ancestral healing, differential diagnosis and treatment of lower back pain and a business course taught by my personal business coach Ryan Rigoli on Uncovering the Uniqueness of Your Brand which I think is an essential for any business owner who wants to be successful without ‘selling their soul’ to do it.
In 15 years, what do you hope you’ll be able to say about the direction our field has taken since the time of this interview?
In 15 years I hope that East Asian Medicine and Acupuncture is able to not only become more accepted and mainstream as a treatment, but also that we can call back the roots of the medicine to make it more complete.
We see this stripping down of the medicine to fit into the western mold continuously happening, like with dry needling or the medicare ‘inclusion.’ And while it’s obviously great to become more accepted in the western field, I hope we are able to do that without paying the price of the alchemical essence of the medicine. These systems of medicine were created thousands of years ago, and it was not by some logical type process of noticing a needle in the ankle helped the back feel better, it was done through intuition and connection, a real ability to see into the body, sense the energy flow and how it manifested in a particular pattern. This is part of the mission of The Integrative Healing Institute, to help preserve this beautifully poetic essence of the spirit of the medicine and not let it get washed away with the point prescriptions and randomized control trials. I hope every acupuncturist one day comes to ask themselves, if being accepted into a broken and failing system like westernized healthcare in the United States is truly what we want to happen? Particularly when it comes at the cost of the beauty, nuance and vast potential of the medicine when we include the spirit, mind and body? I think with the growing number of people looking more into their own existence, spirituality and doing this kind of deep healing work where we are breaking generational patterns and limitations, we have a real opportunity to help support people through this process of growth.
Acupuncture is so much more than just pain reduction or better sleep, it can actually be a tool we use to help know ourselves more deeply, to attune to our intention for this lifetime, to help others around us heal and move forward into a state of more community. We have a powerful system of medicine at our hands, we should use it wisely and to help create more harmony on Earth.
Dr. Kim Peirano, DACM, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM), LAc, CNC has been a licensed, practicing Acupuncturist since 2010, a published author, speaker and intuitive healer; her treatments aim to access the deep inner workings of the mind-body-spirit connection to help her patients unlock the root cause of disharmony. Dr. Kim is a pioneer and teacher of Integrative Cosmetic Acupuncture, with over a decade of experience with Facial Acupuncture, her unique and innovative style aims to demystify the science behind why this treatment is effective, teach students an effective protocol and open the doorway to the greater healing potential of the treatment by addressing the Shen and Spirit of the patient. You can find out more about her San Rafael-based practice at www.lionsheartwellness.com/ or explore the offerings of her new non-profit at www.theintegrativehealinginstitute.com