Jessica Giese- Gardner
My own personal health challenges and the diseases that plagued some of those most near and dear to my heart inspired me from a very young age to search for and discover what creates health from the inside out. When Western medicine failed to successfully treat a health condition in my family and only offered pharmaceuticals to mask the symptoms I experienced, I knew this was not the answer for me. I knew that unless I changed the cause of this condition, the symptoms would not go away on their own. A problem you ignore doesn’t go away; it just festers. I was interested in nothing less than healing at the root.
What could I do to change how I felt? If I could change this, what else might change? These questions prompted me to dive deeply into exploring food, examining all kinds of diets, ways of eating, types of food preparation, and studying nutrition. I began practicing yoga and meditation and became more aware of my body and mind. I discovered Western herbalism and forged an even stronger relationship with the plants around me and my environment. I started getting regular acupuncture treatments and taking Chinese herbs. All of this amounted to profound transformation. It definitely wasn’t always easy or fun, but it was worth it because it catalyzed profound healing.
But it wasn’t until years later that I finally realized that Chinese medicine encapsulated all of the things that had helped me heal, become stronger, and more aware. Chinese medicine is much more than acupuncture and herbal medicine. It is a complete, holistic system including diet (nutrition and food preparation), exercise (qi gong, tai ji, and martial arts), and manual therapy (medical massage), as well as astrology. Realizing that Chinese medicine included everything that had helped me heal, I was convinced this was my life path and the gifts I most wanted to share with my friends, family, and community. I completed a 4 year Masters program, a 2 year Apprenticeship, and continue studying to this day.
My own personal healing journey of self-exploration has spanned decades, leading me to change the way I live, how I interact with the world, including my relationship to myself and those around me. This journey continues today, as life is in a constant state of flux. My responsiveness to these changes either gives me strength or impairs me from living the life I desire.
I have a life-long fascination with healing arts, exploring how different modalities empower people in realizing their goals and dreams. My diverse background in cultural anthropology, community studies, art, poetry, social activism, travel, and the non-profit sector, enriches the depth and scope of the way I conceptualize and approach medicine and healing.
I draw my strength from my own healing work and the wisdom of the teachers that have come before me. I am especially grateful to the North American Tang Shou Tao Association, Jennifer Minor and Miranda Warburton and the lineage we are part of, for teaching me Jin Shou Tuina, Craniosacral Therapy, and internal martial arts; and for helping me to access the healer within. I am also exceptionally grateful to my family and to all of the patients who have worked with me throughout the years, helping me to deepen my understanding and practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine.