In August 2014, Ashley Wren Acupuncture was scheduled to open its doors in Pasadena, CA. I was a freshly-licensed acupuncturist eager to start my practice of a medicine that I’m deeply passionate about. However, fate had something else in store. While 2013 brought family celebrations and my graduation from the esteemed Yo San University, 2014 marked a very tumultuous year in which I lost my home of almost twenty years, got into a life-changing car accident and sustained a crush injury to the index finger of my dominant hand.
In essence, I’d lost my home as I knew it and my transportation, all while my finger had been snapped off and crushed into such small fragments that all the surgeons I’d met with (to that point) wanted to amputate it. I was depressed, injured, anxious and scared. It was during this time that I leaned into the profound healing that Traditional Chinese Medicine can provide because I was in desperate need of it for myself.
I drank funky-tasting herbal formulas for anxiety and pain. I burned moxa (Folium Artemesia argyi) under my finger to experience the immediate pain relief & improved blood circulation it promotes. Daily, I practiced the energy cultivation techniques that my lineage-based alma mater teaches. And I, of course, received regular acupuncture treatments where my crushed finger (that had been recently re-attached in two separate surgeries) was directly needled.
This humbling experience empowered me as a healer because it showed me what it’s like to be the patient. I know what it’s like to be in constant pain and have doctors try to throw pills and medical jargon at you. I know what it’s like to want to be there for your family and, for whatever reason, you can’t fully be there. I recognize that emotional wounds are just as real as physical trauma.
All of our stories are different and everyone is unique. Whatever brought you to the here and now of why you are reading these words, I have respect and compassion for wherever you’re at on your journey. My life work is committed to educating, empowering and supporting you in living your most fulfilled life. I needed to go through my own healing crisis and personal growth to forge me into the person and physician I am today, and this is what I have to share with you.
Ashley spent the majority of her twenties working a myriad of seemingly-odd jobs and backpacking around the world. In between her adventures, she pursued her education and earned degrees at Santa Monica College and Yo San University of TCM. She has served as a faculty member, educator and clinic supervisor for Yo San University in Los Angeles, CA since 2014 until currently. She provides care for senior citizens at the non-profit organization Wise & Healthy Aging in Santa Monica, as well as volunteers as an executive board member for Peer Action 4 Change, a grassroots organization committed to mental health advocacy and legislature reform.
“The twisted tree lives its life, while the straight tree ends up in boards.” (Chinese proverb)