Each month, ACE has decided to feature an acupuncturist to share his or her experiences, expertise, and knowledge of practicing Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine. Sometimes, the best way to grow within a profession is to learn from your fellow colleagues, and hear how they help to achieve results for their patients. Stay tuned for additional interviews with acupuncturists across the United States & Canada.
Interview with Dr. Sandra Carter, L.Ac
Dr. Sandra Carter is a Native American Shamanic healer of the Lumbee Nation of North Carolina and the first and only Dr. of Chinese Medicine in her tribe. She has trained in China on two separate occasions, in 2007 and 2012, and she is also a Reiki Master and Metaphysical Practitioner. Dr. Carter has experience in massage and holistic psychology and is also an ordained Minister. Her healing practice is unlike any other as she combines all of her God-given gifts with 20 years of healing experience to create a one of a kind, unique treatment that is changing lives in Tampa Bay. She is a practicing Acupuncture Physician since her graduation in 2014, and the owner/operator of Nirvana Acupuncture & Medical Center in Tampa, FL.
Hello Dr. Sandra Carter! Thanks for joining us for the Acupuncturist of the Month Interview.
So, how long have you been practicing acupuncture for?
I have been practicing Acupuncture since 2014.
What inspired you to become an acupuncturist?
While training for Tuina in Beijing in 2007 as a massage therapist, I was fist introduced to Acupuncture and its amazing ability to heal the body.
In 2007 and 2012 you trained in China as an acupuncturist/oriental medicine practitioner. Tell us a little bit about your experience training in China. How is it different than training in the states?
Training with the masters of this medicine was phenomenal. The needles are much stronger gauge there, they are not afraid to do what is necessary to heal the body. It was practiced daily for ten days straight with the following seven days off. If problem persisted then another round of ten days. The government also pays for treatment and hospitals are designed for this modality. Herbs were just as important, if not more important than the acupuncture. Acupuncture is considered a way of life in China.
You are also a Reiki Master and Metaphysical Practitioner, which is very cool! Tell us a little bit about these disciplines.
Energy work is absolutely necessary in healing the human body. It’s all about energy!! We are energy! By using prayer and Reiki symbols I can move the energy blocks quicker. I currently have a BS of Metaphysical Science and am working on the Masters in this field. I am an ordained minister and have been a practitioner of Reiki since 2007.
How does your experience in these fields help you heal and achieve results for your patients?
By combining Native American Healing Rituals. Metaphysical practices, Reiki and Chinese Medicine the results my patients get are unbelievable. Most of the time in healing the root is almost always mental, spiritual, and emotional bodies and lastly reaching the physical body. Healing in this manner allows patients optimum results.
What is one thing about acupuncture & oriental medicine, that to this day, still amazes you?
The one thing about Oriental Medicine amazes me on a daily basis is the fact that bodies can heal so fast from numerous conditions without the side effects of drugs.
On your journey to become an acupuncturist, what obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The obstacles I faced were many. I left my home, family and tribe to move to Florida to a city I had never even visited. I didn’t have a job at the time, so I did the rigorous 5 year program in 3 1/2 years. I ended up losing my house in N. C to foreclosure around the same time as graduation so I had no where to go back home to. There were few to no jobs available in 2014 in my field so I was forced to open my own business without any loans and only 3,000 to my name. I had no outside support on any level, encouragement, family, money, etc.. Fast-forward to today, I recently celebrated my 5th year in business on June 2, 2019 and I don’t regret one moment of the challenges I was presented with.
Looking back, what advice would you have given to the younger version of yourself, who was just getting started in this profession?
The advice I would give to a younger me would be to keep pushing through, no matter what challenges you face. When you are persistent in working hard to obtain the dreams you have been given you will reach your goal!! Continue to love yourself and invest in yourself!!
Running a practice is not a simple or easy task – what do you feel was the biggest challenge in getting your practice up and running?
I think the financial aspects would probably present the biggest issue for a new practitioner. Renting space, utilities, supplies and licensing and insurance require a lot of up front money that some students may not be prepared for.
What has been the most rewarding moment so far in your career as an acupuncturist, Reiki Master, & Metaphysical Practitioner?
I think the most rewarding moment in my career other than the daily hugs and smiles I get from my amazing patients would be the moment I graduated with the Doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine last May. It was such a proud moment knowing I had overcome so much and became the first Doctor of Chinese Medicine of the Lumbee Tribe and my family.
We have all occasionally had a patient come into our practice who is upset, frustrated, and a little angry. Maybe it’s from work, being stuck in traffic, or life in general – we have all been there! What advice would you give to fellow acupuncture students and/or colleagues on how to deal with situations like these?
In these situations it is best to remain as calm and polite as you can. It is also important that you listen to their woes with a sympathetic heart, offer them some water or tea and help them get comfortable on the table.
What condition or illness have you had good success in treating with acupuncture, and why?
I have had great success with pain. Most patients have decreased or no pain upon getting off the table. Acupuncture is the best for relieving pain quickly. I also have a lot of success in emotional disorders by getting to the root of the problem.
What are your favorite acupuncture points, and why?
My favorite points to use are LI 4, Lv 3 and St 36, Sp 6. These points open up the channels and nourish at the same time.
Sometimes, the best resource for improving our skills is by learning from the other acupuncturists we meet along our professional journey. What is one thing you learned from a fellow acupuncturist or other holistic practitioner, that has helped you in your professional growth, or in your care for patients?
I learned from my teacher Dr. Zhu to listen to the patient and to confirm it with the tongue to get a proper and correct diagnosis.
Do you have any daily habits or rituals that keep you at your “best-self”, both as an acupuncture practitioner and person?
Yes. I pray and meditate daily.
The kindest thing a patient said to you recently:
The kindest thing I have heard lately is from a patient is how grateful they are to have me in their life. It is an amazing feeling to help patients get rid of pain and move towards their purpose and path.
If you had to choose a spirit animal, what would it be and why?
My spirit animal is the Thunderbird. My tribal name is ManyFeathers. Thunderbird represents power, strength and protection and is the most powerful of all spirit animals.
Where can licensed acupuncturists, students, and patients go to learn more about your work?