Interviews

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

Welcome to the vibrant world of Jade Mountain Medicine, nestled in the heart of Ashland, Oregon. In this interview, we delve into a dynamic healthcare journey with the practitioners behind Jade Mountain Medicine: Jason A Miller, DACM, LAc, Kara J Miller MAcOM, LAc, and Jeremy Rothenberg MSTCM, LAc. Representing this renowned acupuncture and herbal clinic, Kara, Jason, and Jeremy share a passion for providing affordable, compassionate, and comprehensive healthcare for the entire family. The team brings a wide range of expertise, with a focus on chronic disease, womens’ health, anxiety/mental health, digestive health, and musculo-skeletal issues, each practitioner brings a unique expertise that contributes to the clinic’s stellar reputation in the community. Join us as we explore their exciting growth, commitment to high-quality care, and the gentle, slow expansion of this healing community.

  

Hi Jason, Kara and Jeremy, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today. How is everyone doing at Jade Mountain Medicine?

Thanks Shields, I think we’re doing pretty well, all things considered. It’s been a year of refinement and revisioning for us at Jade Mountain, and we’re all digging in deeper to uncover more ways to care for our community. Care is one of the words that has been coming up a lot for me lately, and I’ve been sitting with that word to let it sink in.

When Kara and I graduated from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in 2005, we knew that our goal was to provide a new level of healthcare for our family, friends, and to the larger Rogue Valley community. And over the last 19 years, we’ve achieved that goal.

We continue to refine the way that we care for ourselves, for our immediate family, for our home and all of our animals, and for our patients at Jade Mountain Medicine. Although we are acutely aware of the suffering that is happening across the world today, we are focusing our intention more than ever on caring for the people that we can directly affect – our local community.

One of the best things happening for us at Jade Mountain is that it is staffed by a team of committed staff members, all of whom bring a deep level of care and dedication to their work. We are so grateful to everyone that is a part of making the Jade Mountain experience rich and rewarding.

Kara, as a specialist in women’s health care, can you tell us more about your focus and the unique services you provide for women at Jade Mountain Medicine?

Thanks Shields! To start, I would say that traditional Chinese Medicine contains a wealth of knowledge in this area, making it an obvious choice for women of any age dealing with any type of issue ranging from menstrual abnormalities, into the childbearing years, and all the way through menopause. I also bring almost three decades of experience working with pregnancy, including prenatal and postpartum care to my practice. I became a Doula in 1996 and then for several years I worked as a midwife assistant before deciding to study traditional Chinese medicine. I am forever grateful for all of the invaluable knowledge, wisdom and experience I have been lucky enough to receive from all of the amazing midwives I have had the honor of working alongside over all these years.

I also had the great honor of apprenticing with an 80 year old gynecologist in Nanjing, China when Jason and I traveled to China for post-graduate internship study after completing our master’s degree training at OCOM, in Portland. It was incredible to see Chinese Medicine practiced in its traditional homeland the way it’s been done for centuries! As a practitioner of traditional Chinese Medicine, I not only use acupuncture as a powerful tool for healing, but all of the traditional therapies as well, including cupping, moxibustion and most extensively, traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Jason, the majority of your work is focused on collaborative care for people with cancer, and you are deeply involved with a number of challenging cases. This is no small feat. Can you elaborate on the challenges and rewards of working with such cases and the impact it has on the community?

Thanks for this question Shields, as it’s one that is close to my heart. When I was studying for my master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine, I remember thinking to myself, “I want to work with the most challenging conditions in medicine.” Although I didn’t realize it at the time, that meant dedicating the lion’s share of my time and energy to understanding cancer – on as many levels as possible.

It also meant that I would be walking a deep and profound road with many people, including friends and family, who are facing their own mortality. Beyond the intensive study of human physiology and cancer biology that it has taken for me to be fluent in the modern medical language surrounding oncology, I have also had to deepen my capacity for being with people through the many challenges that a cancer diagnosis brings.

Community implies a feeling of fellowship with others, and I hope that my work serves to engender a sense of deep caring and togetherness through the experience of living and dying together.

Kara and Jason, with the clinic’s reputation in Ashland, how do you collectively work to provide the highest level of health care for the community, and what sets Jade Mountain Medicine apart?

One of the most important elements to the success of our practice is our ongoing approach to collaborative care. We work hard to establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with other healthcare providers in the area, and we take time to communicate with them about our patients whenever appropriate.

We have established a rich network of collaborative healthcare providers that we know and trust, and to whom we can refer our patients to for specialty care.

We also take a very personalized approach to each of our patients and their families.  Our practitioners and staff are always willing to go the extra mile to make sure people feel confident in their care, and that we are all truly here to support each of them in the most comprehensive way possible.

Jason, you mentioned Chris Chen’s Qi Gong classes. How do these classes contribute to the overall wellness approach at Jade Mountain Medicine, and what benefits do they offer to patients?

I’m glad you asked this Shields, as this is something I have been eagerly awaiting for a while now. Chris Chen is a TCM practitioner who moved to Ashland 2 months ago from New York, where he has been running a successful practice in Manhattan. I met him through our mutual friend and colleague, Kyle Shinners, also a TCM practitioner, who recently moved to Williams. Both Chris and Kyle studied for many years with Master Sung, who is considered to be the grandmaster and lineage holder of the Dohan Qi Gong tradition. The three of us, along with Kyle’s wife Jessica Shinners, hosted a 4-day Taoist medicine based Qi Gong workshop last fall, where Kara also got to share her deep knowledge and experience in making delicious, nutritious bone broth.

Qi Gong can be loosely translated as “cultivation through practice.” Beyond its extensive history of use in China, modern research has begun to reveal the profound impact that the practice of Qi Gong can have on many aspects of health. The techniques that I have learned while studying with Chris and Kyle over the past few years have powerfully influenced my own health and vitality.

Both Chris and Kyle are truly gifted teachers, and although they don’t have any local classes scheduled yet, I am assured they are coming soon, so stay tuned!

Jeremy, as a specialist in chronic pain, anxiety/mental health and digestive health, can you tell us more about the unique services you provide?

I help people who are suffering from chronic conditions of all kinds with a special focus on pain, anxiety, and digestive health. My work ranges from in-clinic treatments with acupuncture, Chinese medical bodywork, Chinese herbal medicine and dietary therapy to outside-the-clinic teaching meditation and serving as a Wellness Consultant and Coach for individuals and businesses.

My focus is on solving health challenges through retraining the nervous system. This is how I believe acupuncture is so effective at addressing a wide range of chronic conditions. As we regulate the Autonomic Nervous System, this influences all the systems in our bodies, from digestive to cardiovascular, to overall brain function.

My interest in Chinese medicine goes back over 20 years when I had my own issues with digestive health and anxiety/panic attacks. I had been working for many years in startups and the early days of tech and found that it took a considerable toll on my health and wellbeing. What I discovered, as many do, was that the conventional medical system did not have solutions to my challenges. Unfortunately for many people, this is still the case.

It became clear that I had to find my own answers and forge my own path. After a long search, I found traditional Chinese medicine. The holistic approach and potent treatment strategies profoundly changed my life. In the clinic I have found these treatments to be life altering for many who suffer from the chronic conditions that our conventional pharmaceutical approach doesn’t always serve very well.

What I’ve since learned as a practitioner for the past 15 years is that when we change our perspective, our diet, our habits, and our own sense of self and safety in this world… everything changes. When we engage in training our nervous systems to support that change, healing happens.

Treatment with acupuncture deeply relaxes the body and mind (nervous system) so that the internal intelligence can then repair instead of always trying to protect the body. Botanical medicine helps to retrain the physiological status quo and move towards a new state of balance. Breathing techniques, meditation, dietary interventions, and learning new habits continue to support the work we are doing in the clinic. With full engagement by patient and practitioner, dramatic changes will happen.

Jeremy, after your profound journey with heart surgery, how has it influenced your general acupuncture practice, and what valuable insights have you gained during this time?

My heart surgery was to remove the pericardium, the protective sac around my heart.  Mine had become stiff and calcified over many years after a case of pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium) when I was 21. This constricted the space that my heart had to fully expand, leading to a backup of blood in my liver that caused cirrhosis of my liver. Without removing the pericardium, I would have one day needed a liver transplant.

Amazingly, only a couple of months after surgery, I am back in action, working, exercising, and will likely be healthier than before, though I had no overt symptoms to begin with.

This experience has left me in deep debt with an enormous amount of gratitude to our colleagues in the medical system that had previously failed me. I came face to face with the fact that living a healthy lifestyle and being physically fit do not always protect us from severe health challenges. Sometimes, the structures of the body respond to events or may even be based on congenital defects that have nothing to do with lifestyle and will not respond to herbal medicine and acupuncture (though I do believe that my lifestyle and treatments kept me otherwise very healthy and led to a quick recovery). Thankfully, our medical science and the wonderful doctors and nurses who are well-trained in it can do things that are truly miraculous.

The main takeaway for my practice is for us all to honor our intuition and keep searching when solutions aren’t found. If a patient isn’t responding to my treatments, they may have something beyond my scope and should be fully worked up by an MD. If a patient doesn’t feel as though they’re getting what they need, they should be proactive and keep looking for a solution. I’m more committed than ever to collaborating with western trained doctors so that patients can get the best possible care and not miss anything along the way.

I encourage my patients to do what I did. If it weren’t for my own curiosity and pressing the somewhat fragmented system we have, I would not have gotten involved with acupuncture in the first place, nor solved my current issue or gotten treated by top-notch doctors. We must all advocate for ourselves and trust our internal guidance. If I hadn’t, the potential outcome could have been fatal.

Jason, with your focus on cancer care, can you share any inspiring success stories that highlight the positive impact Jade Mountain Medicine has had on patients facing these challenging conditions?

I have had the honor of playing a central role in the care of many Ashland community members who have received a cancer diagnosis, and as I reflect on the many people I have worked with, there have been many successful cases.

As many cancers are extremely difficult to treat, even when all of the finest medicines in the world are brought together, we are confronted with the reality that sometimes we have to accept the fact that we may succumb to the disease.

As a doctor, it is hard to accept that sometimes no matter how good the work we do is, we may not find the solution that we want for our patients, or the solution that they want for themselves.

Success comes in many forms and although most people might measure success as finding a cure for their disease, this is not always possible. In some cases our definition of success has to expand beyond this definition to encompass a wider range of outcomes, including finding a deeper sense of meaning and purpose through the disease process. That said, I’m happy to share a more specific “success” story with you.

A man came to me 8 years ago suffering from pain and walking with a cane after having 7 compression fractures in his spine. He was being treated by someone in New Mexico who was giving him medicine based on a system that used saliva testing to identify what medicines he needed. After reviewing his lab work and scans, I strongly recommended that he see an oncologist at HOA in Medford for evaluation and treatment of what looked like multiple myeloma, a malignant disease of the bone marrow.

Over the past 8 years I have been recommending botanical and nutritional medicine to complement the therapy that this patient has been receiving through his oncologist at HOA, and he has been walking without a cane with stable disease and no further fractures or other significant health issues over this period. I have worked directly with the team at HOA to formulate a collaborative strategy for this patient and the results have been truly remarkable.

Jason, I would love for you to talk about the slow expansion of the community, and the role Jade Mountain is playing as a leader in our community.

I’d first like to give praise to the many gifted and devoted medical practitioners that I have had the pleasure of working with in the Rogue Valley. The level of care and dedication that I have witnessed through the years is truly inspiring. As the saying goes, “it takes a village.”

We offer supportive care to people suffering from chronic disease, which represents the vast majority of medical issues that people are facing today. In the literature, it is estimated that almost half (45%) of Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease.

Our goal is to work collaboratively alongside other medical providers to improve outcomes and create synergistic solutions for our patients. Using a wide range of diagnostic modalities and therapeutic strategies we can positively influence outcomes for people suffering with even the most challenging diseases, ranging from chronic pain and mental/emotional conditions to autoimmune disease and cancer.

In many cases, we are able to resolve a person’s chronic health issues using a comprehensive combination of botanical, nutritional, lifestyle, and dietary therapies. When this conservative approach isn’t enough, we can help guide our patients to seek the additional care that they need.

Kara, celebrating over the past 18 years in Ashland, how have you seen the clinic evolve and grow? Can you share insights into the change in perspective and the vision for the future of Jade Mountain Medicine?

I have really enjoyed watching our patient base become more diverse, as we have served an ever-widening population of people over the years. Jason and I both share a love of connecting with lots of different types of people in the world, whether we are traveling, making new friends or working here in the clinic.

It really expands the mind and heart to connect with a wide variety of people, and we welcome anyone at any point in their healing path who is interested in receiving any of the services we offer here at Jade Mountain.

How can our readers connect with Jade Mountain Medicine, whether it’s visiting the website, following on Instagram, or taking advantage of the monthly newsletter and membership site or coming in for a cup of tea and an appointment?

Our website is a great place to get more information about the services we offer and the practitioners that provide them. We also have a Jade Mountain Facebook page, and Jason has an active Instagram account: dr.cedar.miller, where there are frequent postings expressing Jason’s perspectives on ecology and medicine. Jason’s Youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDEbVA_uQJFxrrseu_g_HRw is also home to Cedar’s Compass, a repository of Youtube videos covering a wide range of medical topics.

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me today.

Thank you Shields, for your ongoing dedication to this community and for highlighting the many gifts it has to offer.

Learn More:

Jade Mountain Medicine

190 Oak St Suite 2, Ashland, OR 97520

www.jademountainmedicine.com

541-482-2107

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Jade Mountain Medicine

Jade Mountain Medicine Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic in Ashland, Oregon offers affordable, compassionate, comprehensive care for the whole family. To view our team members' specialties, please visit our Practitioners menu on The Clinic drop down bar above.Our extensive apothecary includes high-quality herbal and nutritional supplements, customized Chinese herbal formulas and patent medicines, tinctures, pediatric formulas, topical liniments and patches, and first aid products.?

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