Timber Hart, LAc – Beyond Acupuncture

timber_4Timber is a Nationally Certified and State licensed Acupuncturist with a masters degree in  Oriental Medicine. After graduating from culinary school in 2000 she embarked on a journey to heal people through food. As a chef and nutrition advocate, she has spent the last 13 years educating others on how to live a healthy life through a balance diet. In 2005 she decided she had much more to offer the world than just good food. It was time for her to switch careers; moving into the world of Acupuncture, energy medicine, herbalism and aromatherapy. I met with Timber to learn more about her unique practice and approach to health and well being.

Timber, thanks for speaking with us today. Let’s talk about health and nutrition and the realization that being a chef wasn’t your ultimate career path. 

Hippocrates, a very wise man once said, “Let food be thy medicine & let thy medicine be food.” I have always been passionate about health and what inspired me to go to culinary school was the idea that I could heal people with food. So much disease today is caused by our lifestyles and our food choices, and I firmly believe that a healthy diet will lead to a healthy body and mind. Once I became a chef with a strong background in clinical nutrition, I soon realized that most people do not go out to simply eat healthy. What I realized is that most people want to splurge when eating out and get something they wouldn’t normally make or eat at home. There are so many fad diets out there as well. When I first started cooking professionally the Atkins diet was a huge fad at the time. People would come in and order a double cheeseburger with bacon and forgo the bun because the bun wasn’t “healthy”.  This was frustrating to me because I felt people weren’t being educated on what their bodies need in order to function at their optimal ability. I knew that I had so much more to offer the world and came to understand that cooking wasn’t the right avenue for me to express my true potential. I felt that it was the right time for me to pursue my dreams of becoming an acupuncturist.

How was it that you always knew you wanted to be an acupuncturist even though you had never had acupuncture?

When I was sixteen years old, I was meditating on the side of a cliff overlooking a valley. I remember looking at the clouds and feeling the wind on my face as my mind wandered into what the future held for me. I was suddenly overcome by a strong inner knowing that I was going to be an acupuncturist. This knowing always stayed with me, never changing. Even through my career as a chef, I still knew that I would become an acupuncturist some day. I believed this in my heart so much that when the time was right for me to embark on my journey I enrolled in one of the top acupuncture schools in the United States without having ever experiencing acupuncture for myself.

Then unbeknownst to you, your husband scheduled you for a surprise birthday appointment with an acupuncturist. This would be your first time experiencing acupuncture. What was this experience like for you?

My husband was so thrown off at the thought that I was going to dedicate so much time and money to go through a rigorous medical program without truly understanding what it was. The woman he took me to see was Chinese, and didn’t speak very much English. She asked me a couple of questions, looked at my tongue and felt my pulse. She then proceeded to tell me that I had chronic lower back pain and an upper respiratory infection, and she was right! It blew me away that she could figure out what was going on with such little information. She gave me an acupuncture treatment on my back with some glass cupping and sent me on my way. After that day, I knew that this was the medicine for me. My cold was gone after that day and my back pain was gone for almost three months from just that one treatment. The whole experience was quite magical. I felt like I had been swept off my feet, and from then on I fell more and more in love with Chinese medicine.

My friends teased me and called me Hermione (from Harry Potter) in school because I always had my nose in a book and seemed to have all the answers. The truth is, I absolutely loved learning about Chinese Medicine. It is a whole system of its own, and it makes sense to me. I couldn’t get enough of it. I still read and study ancient techniques today and incorporate them into my practice. Almost every patient I see makes a comment about how they have never experienced techniques that I use, even if they have had acupuncture for several years before coming to see me.

timber_2Fast forward to today, you are part of the dynamic team at the Wellspring Center for Body Balance. Please talk about how your expertise has been incorporated into the clinic.

The way my husband I and became part of the Wellspring team is pretty whimsical. I cannot have asked for a better place to be or for a better team to be a part of. I work with a task force of highly skilled professionals who are not only well trained in their field, but are also very knowledgeable about several other healing practices. Whenever one of the Chiropractors or Massage Therapists in the office has a question regarding how my skills can further assist someone in their own journey to health, they send them over to me for a free consultation. I am always happy to sit down with someone and answer any questions they may have.

I help out at the front desk when I am not with patients during the week, and I utilize this as an opportunity to meet as many people who walk through the door as I can. I am happy to offer advice on how to kick a cold or how to sweat out toxins through a bath-detox from behind the front desk. People really seem to appreciate the knowledge I have to share. I give essential oil and Chinese herbal advice as well as dietary recommendations to people in the short time that I process their payment and make their next appointment. People do not need to have an appointment with me to learn about health and well-being. My knowledge and love of this medicine truly is my gift to the world, and I share it freely.

Timber, your patients have reported some amazing results after working with you.  Often times these results have been quite surprising even for you.

I know that Chinese Medicine works because it has been around for thousands of years and is still used today; making it one of the oldest and most widely used medical modalities in the world. That being said, I am still surprised at some of the results I get. I have seen people with extreme anxiety and insomnia sleeping after a couple of treatments and weaning-off of their medications after six treatments. Another patient who suffered from eczema for years had clear, itch-free skin after just three treatments. The most amazing result that I have witnessed was with a patient who experienced chronic, debilitating pain for years be pain free after just one treatment. It is now four months later and the pain is still gone!  I was taught in school to tell patients that they will usually see some positive results within 6-8 treatments, but in my experience as a practitioner my patients notice results after the first treatment. I have not been sick for almost five years and I attribute it to the fact that I utilize nutrition, acupuncture, essential oils and herbs on a regular basis for preventative care.

OK, time for a trick question… where does the healing come from and how does it happen?

We are all natural born healers! What? You didn’t know that? Long before we ever took our first breath we were designed with an amazing, innate healing ability that allows our bodies to heal all disease!  Yes, it’s true! Pain and sickness are strictly the result of one’s inability to heal.  It is not a question of what you have; it is more a question of “why aren’t you healing?” After all, when you truly heal all pain, illness goes away.  I believe that ultimately our bodies heal from the inside out, not the outside in. It is our force of life, sometimes called an innate intelligence, which heals us. Your body’s normal state is health.  An alignment of nutrients, rest, exercise, joy, love, laughter, and optimism are just a few of the essentials for vitality and vibrancy.

I specialize in helping individuals become agents of their own healing by emphasizing the importance of balance within one’s life among the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of the self and consciousness. If given the right tools, the body is perfectly capable of healing itself at any given time.

I was intrigued to learn that you practice a form of acupuncture that works solely with essential oils; please explain.

I have been trained in a very subtle, yet powerful technique called Aroma Acupoint Therapy, which is a type of clinical aromatherapy. I apply medicinal grade essential oils to acupuncture points and then I stimulate the points with tuning forks.  The acupuncture points used are firmly based in Chinese medicine, and the oils are chosen based off of their physical and energetic properties. The oils can be used by themselves or before the insertion of acupuncture needles. I have found that when using the oils and acupuncture together, they profoundly affect each other and you get the best of both worlds.

To me, using the essential oils is like an art form. I am currently working with over 50 oils, each with their own unique healing properties. I also custom blend them for people who want to continue the treatment at home. I have come to know these oils inside and out. I have built a special relationship with them. When I started using the essential oils in my practice, I noticed a huge change in the outcome of my sessions. My patients were getting better much faster; it’s a serious form of medicine. I also teach classes about modern applications of essential oils. I am offering a free class with a lot of great information on November 14 at 6:30pm; Essential Oils for Winter Wellness.

You are also offering needle-less acupuncture. Can you say more about this as well?

I offer needle-less acupuncture treatments to anyone who is willing to experience something different.  Acupuncture is considered to be a form of energy medicine. It is based off of the principles that every living thing has vital qi or energy that flows within it. When there is a disruption of this energy then disharmony or dis-ease occurs. Acupuncture needles are just one way to tap into the energy states of the body, and there is no one right way to do this.  There are several ways to turn on the right switches and harness the body’s ability to heal from within. I utilize tuning forks, massage, essential oils and colorpuncture to name a few. In case you are wondering, colorpuncture is a technique that combines color and light therapy and is applied with a type of hand held tool that condenses the colored light through a crystal.  It may sound pretty far out there but it is purely based on scientific research in how our cells communicate with each other through bio-photons or tiny packages of light.  Offering more gentle approaches allows me to work with highly sensitive individuals who do not like working with needles, or those who cannot handle needles like small children or the mentally ill. I treated a patient who had moderate to severe Schizophrenia with colorpuncture, tuning forks and essential oils alone and saw great results right away. Energetic approaches work quickly and I feel that this is the medicine of the future.

What are some of the top conditions you are currently treating in your practice?

I see a wide variety of conditions in my practice from acute and chronic pain conditions to common colds. I specialize in working with mental, emotional and sleep disorders as well as digestive and immune disorders. Emotions like stress and anxiety and digestive disorders such as food allergies and diarrhea severely affect people every day. They can ruin vacations and hinder jobs or relationships. I like to treat these conditions because they have such a big impact on people’s lives, yet they can be changed for the better so quickly and easily. Strengthening the digestive and immune systems can cure food allergies. Calming the mind with small things like deep breathing and visualization exercises have diminished stress and anxiety in many of my patients.  The results that I have seen with minimal treatments are amazing! Imagine feeling better, stronger and more energized by making simple changes, starting today.

Timber_hartYou express a great interest in working with mental emotional disorders. Can you talk more about this and give us an example?

You may be wondering what the difference is between a mental and an emotional disorder. For me the word mental is more related to problems such as poor memory or concentration, lack of focus or even the inability to turn the brain off at night which leads to insomnia. Emotions are easier to understand. I commonly treat anxiety, stress, sadness, depression and lack of motivation. Thirteen years ago, I suffered from anxiety with panic attacks. My doctor at the time put me on anti-anxiety/depression medications.  Along with my panic attacks, they took away my love for life. In front of my friends and family, I became a zombie. I began researching natural ways to heal the panic attacks. I discovered flower essences, essential oils and meditation. After just a short while, I cured myself of the panic attacks and learned to deal with the triggers that caused the panic attacks.  I remember how bad I was affected by this emotional disorder and how liberating it is to be free of the burdens I bared while living with it. After this, I made it my personal mission to help every person I could who suffered from emotional disorders. I have extensive training in the application of Acupuncture and essential oils to treat mental and emotional disorders.  I can honestly say I have seen the biggest changes in people lives treating these disorders. It brings tears to my eyes to think about how people have turned their lives around, finding happiness and joy within themselves after suffering for so many years.

I would love to hear more about the relationships you have with your patients. Do you have a lot of continuity of care with your patients?

I would say the relationship I build with each patient dictates more than anything the outcome of their treatments with me. Having compassion and understanding for what each person is going through builds trust, and trust is everything when providing an intimate space for healing to take place. People are more open to receive when they feel safe and supported. My goal as a practitioner is to build long lasting, meaningful relationships with every person who walks through the door. I am present and open minded, paying attention to every detail that is going on in the treatment room. Because of this I find that I have continuity of care with my patients.  I still get emails from patients who have moved across the country letting me know how they are doing. I often get Holiday cards and homemade goodies as tokens of appreciation. I have come to feel that my patients care as much about me as I do about them. I am so lucky to have the job that I love, and I am forever thankful for the relationships I have built while in practice.

You still love to cook and see nutrition as an integral part of your daily life.  What did you have for dinner last night?

I still love to cook and when I have the time and energy I go all out. I feel that it is very important to eat local, organic and seasonal ingredients.  Knowing where our food comes from is just as important as how we prepare it. I eat whole foods whenever I can, and I prepare as many of my meals as my busy life will allow me to. Right now is a time for storage of nutrients, getting ready for the cold winter months the body needs hearty and warming foods. The plants are retuning back to the earth for winter hibernation, so that is where I look for nutrition.  Root vegetables are in abundance in the fall and winter months and they are full of nutrients vital to the body. That being said, last night I had a roasted root vegetable stew with fresh herbs from my garden. I am always happy to share recipes with whoever is interested!

Let’s talk about the healing culture you are a part of over at the Wellspring Centre. This sounds like the perfect storm that has allowed for some amazing synergy to be created between all the practitioners.

It is our mission to change the world, and I believe that we really can since I work with such amazing practitioners. Each one of us brings a different understanding of the human being, and we each offer a unique approach in how we can assist each other and our patients in their journey to health. We all come from such different backgrounds yet we have the same philosophy when it comes to the services we provide. We promise to value your time, listen to your needs and work with you to attain your health goals and desires. We believe it is essential for you to be interactive in your own health.  We are here to support you on your journey to living a better life, we make it a priority in understanding you as a person and how you have come to your current state of health. We are starting a movement called Live-In Alignment. This means to function at 100% of your capacity physically, mentally and emotionally. It is our goal to educate others on how to live in alignment in our body, mind, relationships, home and divine self. When you live in alignment, you will see it reflecting and rippling out into all aspects of life. You will be inspired to live as your true and best self. Making changes in others lives will make changes in the lives of their friends and family, which makes changes in our community leading to changes in society and eventually in the world! You can find out more about our movement on our website at www.wellspringbodybalance.com

Timber, your path to healing has been something you have paid attention to for a long time. When you look back and reflect on your journey what are you most impressed to see that you have accomplished?

When I look back and reflect, the thing I am most proud of is my ability to stand up for what I believe in. I have always been an intuitive person and many times throughout my life people have tried to tell me what I cannot do. When I know something is right in my heart, nothing stops me from attaining it. I have studied many different types of healing practices including Reiki, Matrix Energetics, Sacred Geometry and a wide variety of meditation practices. Many people have said that my patients would not take me seriously as a practitioner with such a background in “woo-woo” medicine. But I believe that my studies have made me the well rounded intuitive person that I am today. I am firmly rooted in both scientific and energetic medicine practices and freely use both my left and my right brain when crafting treatments for my patients. Most of all I have found that many people don’t care what you do as long as it works, so I have been able to practice the type of medicine that I truly want to practice because people are getting better form my treatments. I have accomplished a lot in my 31 years of life and I look forward to the many years that I have left. I am a student of life, always learning how to better myself as a person and a practitioner.

Your training has taught you how to pay attention in different ways that we might do on a regular basis. Can you give us an example of this?

Unfortunately, most of us only begin to think of our bodies when something goes wrong. My advice is always “listen to your body; it is smarter than you are.”  Our bodies talk to us in subtle ways all of the time, we are usually just too busy paying attention to our hectic life to listen. When you feel tired don’t drink an afternoon cup of coffee, turn in early and get some rest instead. This will save you from adrenal fatigue in the long run. If you are tired after you eat lunch, then you either ate too much and/or you ate the wrong kinds of food for your body. We should eat food for energy, so we should feel more alive after a meal consisting of the right kinds of foods. If you have a headache, drink some water. Dehydration is the most common cause of headaches. When you feel restless or frustrated you probably are stagnant and need some movement, go for a brisk walk or do 25 jumping jacks. Jumping jacks are a great way to increase blood flow to your body and brain and you should feel invigorated and happy afterward. Why just survive when you can thrive?

Finally, please share a recent success story with us that helps to encapsulate your work as a practitioner.

Since the weather has changed a lot of people are coming in with colds. I recently saw a patient who has chronic upper respiratory issues. The last time he was sick it took him 6 months to recover, and his lungs and immune system are still very weak. Before we even began he explained that he had reluctantly come to me because his wife (who is a patient of mine) made him come, and he wasn’t planning on coming back. I smiled with an open heart and proceeded to do what I do best, give him the best treatment I possibly could. He was mum during the first half of the treatment and didn’t offer a lot of conversation. I treated him like I do everyone else, chatting him up and offering him healing advice and explanations on how and why his lungs could be so weak. By the end of the treatment he was a little chattier and even said he may come back but he would have to see how he felt. The following week I received a call from him and he was very excited to tell me that his lungs and immune system felt 100% better! He said he hadn’t felt this good in over six months and he was surprised to see how one treatment could make such a difference. He now comes in regularly for preventative maintenance and has referred others to me as well. He came in as a non believer and left as an acupuncture advocate. This is why I love my job so much!

Learn More:

Wellspring Centre for Body Balance
108 Hersey St., Suite 2A Ashland
541. 482. 2021