Kara J Miller LAc, MAcOM, Dipl.CH Jason A Miller LAc, DACM, Dipl. CH, – Jade Mountain Medicine

Jade Mountain Medicine Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic offers affordable, compassionate, comprehensive health care for the whole family. Conveniently located on the corner of Oak and B Streets in Ashland, the clinic is owned and operated by Kara and Jason Miller. In today’s interview I speak with Jason and Kara about their lives and work together here in Ashland, Oregon.

Kara and Jason, thanks so much for speaking with me today.

Thank you Shields, we always enjoy catching up with you and recalling all of the places where our lives have crossed paths over the years.

To begin with, can you please introduce us to your clinic?

Jade Mountain Medicine occupies a lovely building in the Railroad District. The lower level houses the in-patient clinic, with the treatment rooms, the administrative office, and part of the apothecary. The clinic space is an inviting, home-like setting, and we often hear from patients that they “feel better just having walked in the door.”

Upstairs are two additional spaces: one houses both the apothecary and Jason’s consultation office, and the other is sub-leased to Cara Frantz, a local midwife who often shares clients with Kara.

Each of our treatment rooms is equipped with far-infrared heat lamps and far-infrared heat mats made out of jade and germanium. We use electro-acupuncture systems when indicated, and we have a variety of therapeutic tools available, from moxibustion and cupping to many forms of bodywork and musculo-skeletal acupuncture.

There is always soothing music, hot tea, a good book to check out from our lending library, and a warm, cozy environment at Jade Mountain.

When you first set out to create your clinic, what were some of the goals you each had in mind to accomplish?

Jade Mountain Medicine was born out of our desire to care for our family and our community.

Jason: I’ve always wanted to be able to help people get out of pain, recover from illness, and live healthy and long lives. Jade Mountain has been the central vehicle for the manifestation of that dream for me.

One of the goals I set for myself while I was studying traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in graduate school was to be able to help people who are facing the most challenging chronic diseases. Starting about 15 years ago, and evolving out of my work with Donnie Yance at the Mederi Center, working with cancer patients became a central focus of my practice at Jade Mountain.

Kara: I’ve always had an innate desire to help people and animals even as a young child. Once I made the decision to go back to school for Chinese medicine, I became very passionate about bringing the power and wisdom of Chinese medicine back to our community. Simply put, I wanted to help people feel better! Also, having already worked for many years in the field of women’s reproductive health, I was very excited to bring the unique diagnostic and treatment modalities of TCM to the birthing community.

Kara, you are very much focused on helping and assisting women. Please say more.

Sure! I started my journey in women’s health when I became a Certified Doula in 1995 at the Seattle Midwifery School. We moved to the Rogue Valley in 1997 and I began training as an assistant with a team of local midwives. I have attended over 100 births in both home-birth and hospital settings, and have provided prenatal and postpartum care for hundreds of women and their families. The postpartum period (sometimes referred to as the fourth trimester) is an especially important time for recovery and healing both physically and mentally. Chinese medicine has a wealth of herbal formulas and physical therapies such as moxibustion that can be profound for new moms especially if they have had a complicated or traumatic birth. At Jade Mountain I work with all ages of women in their reproductive years from young adulthood through menopause, treating a wide array of conditions including PMS, infertility, menstrual irregularities, hormone imbalances, and common perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.

Jason, you have been focused on taking care of people with cancer and other chronic diseases for almost 20 years now. Can you tell us more about this aspect of your career, and a little bit about why you have chosen this path?

That’s a good question… I think that a big part of this particular aspect of my journey into health and medicine has been about the path “choosing me,” as much as “me choosing the path.” I say that because as I look back at the journey that got me to where I am today, there were many important elements that had to come together in order for me to be able to effectively help people with cancer and chronic disease.

Interestingly, my friendship with Donnie evolved out of us initially making music together: Donnie as a bass player, and me as a drummer. From there, Donnie began to mentor me on all aspects of natural medicine, and especially, in all things oncology. I also got close to Jonathan Treasure, a UK trained herbalist who is an expert in integrative oncology, Dr Dwight McKee, MD, an oncologist/hematologist who worked closely with Donnie through the Mederi Center, and Dr Monte Stewart, MD, a general surgeon who practices in Ashland.

My relationships with a number of exceptional, committed mentors have propelled me deeply into becoming an expert in integrative oncology. I am someone who is deeply passionate about this work, and it takes daily diligence to stay abreast of the ever changing landscape of oncology research. Although it’s not where I thought I’d be putting a large part of my focus (reading research articles on my computer everyday…!), it’s how I’m able to provide a comprehensive perspective for my patients.

You each have had an extraordinary path of training and practice. Will you each go into more depth about your specific specialties and focuses?


My interest in botanical medicine started while studying medicinal ethnobotany at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. A couple years after moving to Ashland I started working for Ken Bendat, a local acupuncturist, herbalist, and deep scholar of TCM to whom I attribute my introduction and ensuing inspiration around Chinese medicine. It was during this time that I attended a birth at which an acupuncturist was present, and the lightbulb went on – I knew I wanted to become an acupuncturist with a focus on women’s reproductive health.

After sharing my vision, we decided to get married and move to Portland to complete our master’s degrees in traditional Chinese medicine at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine between 2002 and 2005. After graduating, we went to Nanjing, China, where we each did an internship in our areas of interest. I was able to study with an 80-year-old senior gynecologist who had been practicing traditional Chinese medicine for 60 years! That was an absolutely invaluable experience.

Jason was fortunate enough to study with a group of specialty doctors in a branch of the Nanjing hospital called “The House of Celebrity Doctors.” For 2 months he rotated between departments, working closely with some of the area’s most published and famous doctors.


My own journey into science, health, and medicine began in high school, and then accelerated through my undergraduate work as a pre-med student at the University of MN. I eventually shifted my focus to alternative energy systems and permaculture as a means to affect health at a bigger level, and then steered back into medicine when I found TCM – an ecologically based medical system that showed me how to bring permaculture to the human body.

After returning to the US I started to work with Donnie, initially helping him edit monographs and other papers, and I soon became the technical writer for Natura Health Products. A few years later I moved into the position of medical educator, which I maintain today.

In 2004, I began to study Applied Kinesiology in Portland. I took a year-long course twice while finishing my master’s degree. It gave me another lens through which to view the body, and helped me see patterns in human physiology more clearly. It also gave me a large toolbox of diagnostic and therapeutic skills that I have been able to use in the clinic, especially for helping people get out of physical pain.

Since then I have poured my heart into the study of human physiology, modern pharmacology, and botanical medicine.

In 2018, I completed a doctorate in traditional Chinese medicine, giving me the official title, “Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.”

I think the biggest piece of my education at this point is in developing educational content, and then teaching it.

You are also joined by an amazing team at your clinic. Will you please introduce us?

Currently, we have 4 practitioners working at Jade Medicine, and we are working on bringing in a 5th team member who can work on the weekends.

Jeremy Rothenberg, MSTCM, LAc has been practicing Chinese medicine for 15 years, specializing in all aspects of pain relief – physical, mental, and emotional. In addition to acupuncture and herbal medicine, he coaches people on how to gain control of their lives with mind-body awareness. Through food, powerful new habits, exercise and meditation, Jeremy helps people regulate their nervous systems to feel calm, confident, and strong.

Joshua Graner, MS, LAc brings over a decade of experience to his clinical work. In the clinic, he uses a unique combination of acupuncture, body work, physical rehabilitation, and therapeutic neuroscience education to help his patients reduce pain and optimize their physical and athletic performance. He is a dedicated healthcare provider who listens to his patients and helps empower them to achieve optimum health and wellness.

Karen Wennlund is our apothecary manager. She has been working in this field for over 20 years, and she has a wealth of knowledge and experience that we are so thankful to have on our team.

Danita Virga is the office manager for the Jade Mountain clinic, and she also supports Karen in the apothecary. Danita is the glue that holds it all together for us.

Antonina Dressler is Jason’s care coordinator. Previously, she managed the front office at Jade Mountain for several years. Her baby girl, Calliope, is pictured in the staff picture.

Jason, can you please talk more about Jade Mountain´s unique approach to wellness and also the amazing apothecary you all have.

Fundamental to the Jade Mountain approach to health and medicine is a deep commitment to individualized care. In order to fulfill that commitment, we maintain an extensive apothecary that we use to serve the diverse needs of our patients. We carry a wide range of herbal medicines, including the bulk herbs and granules that we use to make traditional TCM formulas, plus tinctures, powders, teapills, and capsules. We also carry a host of specific nutrients and nutritional formulas. Our experienced and compassionate apothecary staff create all of the custom herbal formulas that our practitioners write for their patients. In addition to our internal medicine formulas, we also formulate topicals, mouthwashes, sprays, rinses, and more.

From helping them gather their medical records to preparing their botanical and nutritional medicine protocols, the Jade Mountain team is uncompromising in its quest to provide thorough, comprehensive health care. We are also committed to developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with the extensive healthcare community here in the Rogue Valley.

Kara, you also focus on mental health support. Please share more about your experience treating this condition and tell us about the results you have witnessed.

As someone who has struggled personally with both anxiety and depression over the course of my life, I have a deep well of compassion for and understanding of the suffering that accompanies these conditions.

Since opening Jade Mountain in 2006 I have treated many patients for stress, anxiety and depression, but after witnessing the collective trauma of the Almeda Fire, the ensuing fire seasons, the Covid pandemic and everything else going on in the world, I have worked to make mental/emotional health care more of a primary focus in my practice.

In the last few years I have expanded my education and experience in the field of mental health, particularly among teenagers and young adults. Anxiety and depression are increasingly prevalent among all age groups, but particularly widespread among our youth. I work with teenagers and young adults both in and out of the clinic, and I am passionate about helping our youth cope with such overwhelmingly challenging times. Through my work I have witnessed profound transformations in people of all ages that struggle with mood disorders and other mental health concerns. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offer natural and innovative treatment options, and I personally bring compassion, confidentiality and a deep personal understanding to my patients while providing safe, gentle and effective emotional support and healing.

Jason, what do you love the most about the work that you do?

My favorite part of the work I do is the connection I have to the people that I work with. I’ve always been someone who is fascinated by people – I love getting to know them, and I love learning from them.

Jason, will you speak more about the work you currently do with Donnie Yance at the Mederi Center and also your work with Natura Health Products?

Over the past 12 years I have begun to develop my skills as a teacher. This aspect of my career really began with presenting case studies in Donnie’s clinical training program back in 2009, and then quickly evolved into writing for publications and speaking at conferences.

Currently, I am the Head of Faculty and Content Development for the Mederi Academy, which is one of the things that has been consuming a lot of my focus over the past two years. Our initial phase of content development is now complete, and the program is available for practitioners of different doctrines to take the coursework and grow their skills in the field of integrative oncology. Building the Academy’s academic content has been a labor of love for me, and with this transition into releasing the content and enrolling learners, I have more time and energy to devote to my work at Jade Mountain and to my business as well.

Jason, you have been working with cancer patients through your business, can you say a little more about that aspect of your career?

My work with cancer patients involves a deep, investigative approach that includes an evaluation of all of the available data, an extensive intake, and the development of comprehensive recommendations for each patient. In order to accommodate this work, I have developed a separate business model. You can find out everything you need or want to know about this aspect of my work at: There are also many recorded lectures, papers, as well as my newly established blog and vlog pages there.

Moving into the future, what are your dreams and hopes for your practice?

One of our goals for the not-so-distant future is to develop a diverse team of collaborative practitioners from different doctrines that all work together at the clinic to provide multidisciplinary care to our patients. This multidisciplinary model would also serve to fulfill our dream of serving a more diverse population of patients. In the short-term, our goal is to re-establish the bustling Jade Mountain atmosphere that has been an essential part of Ashland’s community healthcare system.

You mentioned that right now your clinic is open to accepting new patients. Can you tell us more about that?

Although we have both taken on a number of additional ventures in the past several years, we recently decided to put our focus on re-vitalizing Jade Mountain. We have brought on some new team members, and we have both added clinic shifts to our schedules. With all of the additional treatment spaces available with the increase in practitioners, and our own increased availability, we are finally ready to take on more patients!

Over the past twenty years of living and practicing in our community, what do you love the most?

What first drew us to this place is the land itself. We immediately fell in love with the rivers, the mountains, the valleys… We also love the community and the culture: the people, the art, the music, and the wonderful businesses and organizations that make Ashland such a richly fulfilling place to live and be. We love walking through the streets on First Friday, and appreciating the beautiful community that we have become so deeply woven into.

Finally, thank you to you both for joining me today. Do you have any last thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?

In closing, we’d like to say thank you to our amazing community for supporting us in our vision of creating and growing Jade Mountain Medicine into a blossoming center for health and medicine. And thank you Shields for your ongoing service to Ashland through the LocalsGuide, we appreciate you!

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