Hi. I'm Sara Bowes. I stumbled into Chinese medicine by pursuing a burning question of mine about the correct way to feed our bodies. A decade ago, I enrolled in a small school in the mountains of Northern California for a summer intensive course on whole foods nutrition. It was here that I was introduced to the holistic way of thinking about the world and the body that defines Chinese medicine. I was struck with wonder and aliveness in myself as I began to explore this new paradigm that would begin to define my life's work.
I pursued a masters education through the school of Classical Chinese Medicine at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR, where a commitment to upholding the integrity of the classical roots of Chinese medicine pervades. Here, I set foot onto my own healing journey, connected with a handful of mentors who marked me with inspiration, and began to hone in on what I believe to constitute health.
When I am not seeing patients and maintaining my practice, I am likely attempting to satisfying a never-ending curiosity about the way the body and the mind really work. In addition to ongoing study of Chinese and holistic medicine, I am currently pursuing professional development through Mindful Experiential Therapy Approaches (M.E.T.A.) in Portland in somatic and experiential therapy, applied mindfulness, and interpersonal neurobiology. I thrive in vast open landscapes, rich human relationships, and opportunities to utilize my human body, preferably to music.
Adjunct Faculty at the School of Classical Chinese Medicine. National University of Natural Medicine (2015-2017).
Master of Science in Oriental Medicine. National College of Natural Medicine (2009-2012).
NCNM Classical Chinese Medicine Best Masters Thesis Award: Informed Herbalism: Justifications and Implications behind an Informational Approach to Herbal Action (2012).
Teachers’ Assistant for Mindful Experiential Somatic Therapy Comprehensive Training. Mindful Experiential Therapy Approaches (2017-present).
Mindful Experiential Somatic Therapy Comprehensive Training. Mindful Experiential Therapy Approaches (2015-2017).
Primary Attachment Psychotherapy. Mindful Experiential Therapy Approaches (2018).
Advanced Clinical Maps. Mindful Experiential Therapy Approaches (2017).
Re-Creation of the Self Model of Human Systems. Mindful Experiential Therapy Approaches (2015).
Asian Bodywork Apprenticeship and Martial Arts Training. Gold Mountain Martial and Medical Arts and North American Tang Shou Tao Association (2011-2014).
Dragon Rises Red Bird Flies Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis (2010-2012).
Healing with Whole Foods. Heartwood Institute (2007).
Bachelor of Arts. University of Washington (2000-2005).
m'illumino / d'immenso
is a seven-syllable poem by Giuseppe Ungaretti from the first world war.
Illuminarsi is verb which means to light oneself up, to turn on, to illuminate oneself, to grow lighter. It is reflexive, a category of verbs which we are largely lacking in English. These verbi riflessivi come with the superpower of doing things to oneself, for oneself. For instance, one doesn't become lit up, enlightened, illuminated without engaging in the activity of doing it. D'immenso is literally "of the immense," or "from the immense." We arrive at something like "I illuminate myself with the immense." In any case of translation and also poetry, we are asked to reorganize ourselves in such a way so that this makes sense.
The path of healing and health is about liberating ourselves into the bright expanse that we already are. M'illumino Natural Medicine, "I-illuminate-myself" Natural Medicine, offers a variety of services geared toward helping people to discover and experience this innate state. This journey involves a gentle dance of taking ourselves there and surrendering to the vastness of life's offerings. It is my life's work to walk with you here.
Chinese medicine is a system that aims to optimize flow in the body. Illness and pain are said to arise when flow of bodily substances and signals get stuck. The Chinese medicine practitioner is trained to locate precisely where flow is obstructed, determine why, and use his or her unique tools to help reestablish free movement. The Chinese medicine toolbox includes things like custom herbal medicine, acupuncture and bodywork, diet, and lifestyle coaching, all of which have great potential to shift a person back toward a state of health.
What sets Chinese medicine apart is its emphasis on pattern differentiation and diagnosis. This means that if a patient presents with headache, a true Chinese medicine practitioner is not just seeing headache. He or she is is looking for the underlying pattern that is resulting in the symptom of headache. This means that potentially ten patients could walk in the door with headaches, each with a unique underlying pattern, and thus they would each receive a different, unique treatments. This kind pattern differentiation medicine requires a thorough gathering of information so that the practitioner can begin to see the underlying disharmony that is resulting in the symptoms the patient came in with and treat accordingly. The benefit of this approach is longer lasting true healing, as opposed to temporarily relief or suppression of symptoms. A common side effect is an improvement systemically, such as greater sense of well being, increased energy, more restful sleep, and improvement in pains that were not what the patient initially sought treatment for.