Elaina Greenberg has been licensed and in private practice for 20 years, with nearly 30 years as a practicing herbalist. She is nationally board certified in both Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (Chinese Herbal Medicine) from the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and licensed in the states of California and Washington to practice acupuncture and Oriental / East Asian medicine.
I’m often asked how — or why — I became an acupuncturist. I can truly say that it has been a journey of the heart.
It started in high school.
In my teenager "downtime" I exclusively read books on herbals and healing. Any kind of organic healing — Pranic breathing, meditation, plant medicine, homeopathy... anything I could get my hands on.
After high-school, I did what was expected and went to university. I was in the science college within Michigan State, majoring in forest conservation. I did well, but it wasn't a good fit. I would sit in chemistry class with headphones on, listening to music, and then go back to my dorm room and teach it to myself.
I spent that summer after my freshman year in Colorado. I came back to Michigan State with a wayward mind. I was taking a construction drafting class (I might want to be an architect), a math class (I'm good at it) and a forest conservation class (I like trees). I met with my forestry professor and he sat me down for a frank conversation. "What are you doing? You are wasting your time and your money. Figure it out." So, I left his office and dropped out.
I call my mom to tell her the rapid developments in my life. She told me to get a job. So, I did and then moved back out to Colorado.
At 19, I began my formal herbal studies at the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies (RMCBS) in Boulder. I focused on Western herbal medicine and developed a special interest in ethical wildcrafting and herb harvesting.
In 1996, I did a shamanic apprenticeship with herbalist Susun Weed in Saugerties, New York. While working with her wildcrafting herbs, tending goats, and deepening my knowledge of holistic healing, I was introduced to the concept of recapitulation.
Recapitulation is an initial process in the shamanic journey to reclaim all the energy that has been lost throughout one’s life. You revisit each meeting, interaction, and event to retrieve any energy that may have been lost in that exchange. It is left to the apprentice to figure out how to reclaim that energy.
I think of it like a library. Over a lifetime we lend books, take books that might not be ours, and are left with an incomplete, inauthentic collection. Recapitulation is the process of re-establishing our soul's library, so we can meet each new moment in fullness. This is critical for a healer.
It took me almost 10 years to simply figure out what my personal process of reclaiming lost energy is. Recapitulation isn’t a concept or an activity that can be laid out in oral or written text. Each apprentice must discover, define, and work their process.
To balance out my woo-woo esoteric and energetic affinity (really to please my mom), I continued my education and a bachelor’s degree in Organic Chemistry and Phytopharmacology (the chemistry of plant medicine) at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
After graduation, I met an acupuncture student while visiting New Mexico. From a single conversation, I had a visceral response to what he was doing. "I want to eat that, I need to get that information inside me." There was no doubt, no question. It was a directive. That I simply must study the coolest thing I have ever heard of.
Fast forward to the next year where I had applied and was accepted to Bastyr University’s Master of Science program in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. I was also offered a job at Bastyr’s research institute based on my own undergraduate research and chemistry background.
While I studied at Bastyr, I was a research assistant studying ultra-high dilutions of Taxol from the Pacific Yew tree against various breast cancer cell lines. After that, I continued to work as a teacher's assistant for point location, Chinese herbal therapeutics, and biochemistry.
At Bastyr, I met my first Chinese medicine mentor – Dr. Anne Jeffres.
With Anne, I studied Classical Five Element Acupuncture not only in school, but also as an observer in her private practice. Even after graduation and getting my own license, I continued to study and observe Anne. She was profoundly influential on my practice and perspective of healing. Eventually, Anne moved to New York, and I inherited much of her practice in Washington.
After studying with Anne for so long, I wanted to study with one of her foundational teachers, Thea Elijah. What better than the teacher’s teacher?
Thea is a master Sufi healer, acupuncturist & herbalist, and international lecturer. I have now studied with Thea for more 15 years, and I embody the depth of her teachings into each treatment and into my daily life. So, while Anne shaped my acupuncture practice, Thea has influenced the eyes and heart I see the world through.
My family and I left Washington in 2010 to re-establish ourselves near family in Los Angeles. Here, I get to weave together my vast background from shamanism to biochemistry and Taoist philosophy to autoimmune disease to create diverse, effective, custom treatments for each patient.
In 2015, I began studing the Classics of Chinese Medicine with Z'ev Rosenberg. I realized that I needed to learn the code that this medicine was built on. To further this application of 2,000-year-old texts into modern diagnosis and treatment, I began a Graduate Mentorship Program with Sharon Weizenbaum and the White Pines Institute. I have completed my first two-year program with her and have begun a second two-year course of study.
Classical Chinese Medicine is epically deep and transformative. The more I study, the more I learn how vast the applications are and simply, how much more I need to study.
I am blessed that my career is my passion. Being of service to others is a true privilege that is fulfilling on all levels.
My patients' trust is the greatest compliment I can receive.
Certificate in Western Herbal Medicine - The Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies, Boulder, CO 1994
Shamanic Apprenticeship with Susun Weed, Saugerties, NY 1996
Graduate of the Evergreen State College - Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Olympia, WA 1998
Internal Medicine and Gynecology Internship at Shu Guang hospital in Shanghai, PRC 2002
Studied at Shanghai School for Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2002
Graduate of Bastyr University - Master of Science in Acupuncture & East Asian Medicine, Kenmore, WA 2002
Adjunct Faculty at Bastry University, Kenmore, WA 2003-2008
Country Doctor Free Teen Clinic - Acupuncture Volunteer and Coordinator, Seattle, WA 2003-2008
Clinic Supervisor, Yo San University, Los Angeles, CA 2011-2016
National Board Certification in Oriental Medicine from the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from 2002 to present.
Private practice in Seattle, WA, Renton, WA, Santa Monica, CA, and Los Angeles, CA from 2003 to present.
Acknowledgment of Teachers and Mentors:
Weiyi Ding, Yajuan Wang, Ying Wang, Qiang Cao, Chongyun Liu, Yuanming Lu, Andrew McIntyre, Steve Given, Terry Courtney, Richard Kyo Mitchell, Boonchai Apichi, Angela Tseng, Wang Ju-Yi via Jason Robertson and Yefim Gamgoneishvili, Thea Elijah, Huang Huang, Yu Guo Jun, Sharon Weizenbaum, Susun Weed, Feather Jones, Peter Holms, Atsuki Maeda, Brigette Mars, Giovanni Macioca, Chunyi Meredith Qian, Chang Qing Yang, Z'ev Rosenberg, Kiiko Matsumoto, Anne Jeffres, Char Sundust, Dariusz Rawa, and Joseph Rael Beautiful Painted Arrow