Cayly Christensen, MSOM, L.Ac maybe age 2 1/2.

Rocking the farmer’s tan.

My story starts here:

THE EARLY YEARS

I grew up in an active, athletic family that took every possible opportunity to get out of the house and escape into nature. I learned at an early age the importance of balancing academic and intellectual pursuits with physical exercise and recreation, and developed a deep love for the natural world as a result of frequent camping trips with my parents and older sister. I spent most of my childhood on my bike, on a soccer field, or in the mountains around my home—my love for the outdoors matched only by my love for the written word and my desire to read every book ever written, and then write one (or several) of my own.

In college, I continued to pursue both athletic and literary aspirations, playing four years of soccer for the university while studying literature and creative writing in class. I graduated magna cum laude from Willamette University in Salem, OR, earning my Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, with big plans for a prolific career in the literary world. Life, however, had different plans for me.

DISCOVERING CHINESE MEDICINE

My passion for Chinese medicine grew out of my own healing journey as a patient of acupuncture and herbal therapy. I sought acupuncture as a skeptic initially—a position I quickly abandoned after experiencing a profound degree of personal transformation within only a handful of treatments. After six months of almost-weekly acupuncture treatments, I was more than convinced of the capacity for Chinese medicine to address the root of illness and bring about significant positive change on all levels of being—emotional, physical, and psychological. I was so convinced, in fact, that I applied to begin classes the following year as a student of Chinese medicine.

EDUCATION AND CLINICAL EXPERIENCE IN CHINESE MEDICINE

I earned my Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine degree from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR, graduating with highest honors after completing four years of study in classical Chinese medicine. My education at NCNM included extensive exploration of anatomy, physiology, and pathology—all from both a western and Chinese medical perspective—acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapies, shiatsu, qigong, and nutrition. In addition, I completed a year of internships, during which I had the opportunity to work at several community clinics around Portland for twelve weeks at a time, as well as the teaching clinic at NCNM. As an intern, I dedicated a full year to the OHSU Richmond Clinic in SE Portland, where I worked with my fellow interns, clinical supervisor, and clinic staff to establish a brand new Chinese medicine clinic providing low-cost treatments to patients of the Richmond Clinic, referred for acupuncture by their medical doctors. By the end of my intern year, the clinic was flourishing, with a wait list of patients months long and plans for expansion.

I have reaped the benefits of this amazing medicine in myriad ways in my own life and have witnessed immense degrees of transformation in the lives of my patients as well. I believe the love of nature instilled in me during childhood and the importance I learned of leading a life of balance—of work and play, academics and athletics, mind and body—have prepared me for this path. I can’t imagine doing anything else, and feel privileged for the opportunity to share this medicine with others on a daily basis.

Cayly Christensen, MSOM, L.Ac during a run in the Columbia River Gorge and her cat, Sammy, being cute as usual.

Left: Solo run to Tunnel Falls on the Eagle Creek trail, July 2012; Right: Sammy Poptart, circa Spring 2011.

 

CURRENTLY . . .

These days, when I’m not busy practicing or studying Chinese medicine, you can find me running the many beautiful trails in and around Portland, riding my bike or taking in the city on foot, sharing a meal with friends, buried in a good book (or several at once, as I continue to chase my childhood dream of reading everything ever written), practicing yoga at home, or relaxing with the cutest cat on Earth, Sammy Poptart.