Welcome back to 20 Questions! Today we have with us the amazing Aimee Raupp, author, acupuncturist and herbalist. Aimee's latest book, Yes, You Can Get Pregnant: Natural Ways to Improve Your Fertility Now and into Your 40s, just launched at the end of June to high acclaim from Deepak Chopra himself! Aimee's mission is to educate and inspire women, improve their health, celebrate their beauty and prevent disease as well as increase their fertility. Aimee helps her clients reconnect to the presence of their optimal health. Here are her answers to my 20 Questions.
20 Questions — Soul-Style
1. Who are you?
My name is Aimee Raupp.
2. What do you do?
I am a women's health expert, author, acupuncturist and advocate for health.
3. Why do you do it?
I love helping people achieve a more optimal state of health — mentally, physically and nutritionally. I am truly just passionate about helping people bridge a healthier life from their current life.
4. How did you find your way to it?
I had always wanted to be in the field of medicine, and through studying Western medicine I was introduced to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and it just spoke to me in a way that Western medicine didn't. I love how TCM is all about finding the root cause of any disharmony in the body.
5. How do you feel when you do it?
I feel amazingly grateful and grounded; like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. It's absolute fulfillment.
6. What is the joy that keeps you up at night?
My passion and gratitude for life and all that it is. My desires and the excitement in their unfolding. However, I do love my sleep (and preach to others how important sleep is), so I try my best to not let anything keep me up at night :)
7. What is one thing you still have to practice every day?
Meditation and appreciation.
8. What are you always searching for?
I feel like I search less these days and rather let life unfold. However, there are those moments when I could chill more and really be as present in the moment as possible.
9. What have you found after searching?
I do best when I am chill and let life unfold rather than 'working hard' or 'doing.' Meditation really affords me the ability to work smarter not harder, so for me it is the best thing I've ever found.
10. How do you stay connected to your inner core of peace?
Meditation, practicing self love and constant gratitude. Every day, I focus on doing what is most loving and kind to Aimee. I also feel extremely connected and grounded when I am in the clinic treating my patients.
11. What makes you feel led or guided?
Listening to my heart more than my head. Knowing that the universe always has my back and that I am always where I am supposed to be. Accepting rather than resisting life and feeling joy more than any other emotion.
12. What do you do when you can’t hear God (or the Universe, or Source, or your intuition) speaking to you?
I take what I call a "chill out and check in" break, where I take a few minutes to sit and clear my mind so that I can hear and feel my Source energy/inner guide.
13. What is the difference between resistance and fear?
I don't think there is much of a difference between them. Any resistance is a sort of doubt or fear or holding back. Releasing resistance and fear allows all you want to come to you. Resistance is just a manifestation of fear and the imaginary limits we place upon ourselves.
14. Where does the idea come from that we are broken, unworthy or undeserving?
I think it comes from our comparison of ourselves to others...from our social interactions and from our assumptions that 'the grass is always greener' or that others have it 'easier' than we do. When we can reach a place of acceptance and of true self love, we realize we are not broken and we are all so damn worthy of all we desire!
15. How do you move past that to connect with others on a soul level?
I really try to focus on this in both my work in the clinic and in my personal life. I believe you bring into your life what matches you, so if you are focused on appreciation and gratitude and all the love that is in your life, you bring that to the table and connect with others who match you on that 'soul level.' The best way to get to that connected place is to talk about joyful things in your life, to focus on all the good that surrounds you, to practice gratitude and to always be grounded in love.
16. How would you compare the acupuncture points of TCM to the chakras — perhaps as an adjunct to medical acupuncture?
Chakras, like acupuncture points, are centers of energy in the body. As we see in Chinese medicine, when there is disease or disharmony in the body there is a blockage of energy, and using certain acupuncture points will unblock that energy and resolve the disease or disharmony. Similarly, in Ayurvedic medicine energies can be blocked in one of the 7 chakras and cause disease or disharmony. Both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine see a strong correlation between one's emotional state and the manifestation of illness or disharmony in the body, and the goal in treatment from either medicine's perspective is to unblock 'stuck energy' and harmonize the body. When I'm doing acupuncture on a patient, I am aware that there is an overlap between acupuncture points and the 7 chakras, and if there is a blockage in either system I work to release that block. From a medical acupuncture standpoint, basic knowledge of both the chakra locations and the specific acupuncture points within each chakra is useful so that the practitioner can treat not only the 'medical condition' but also unblock any emotional stagnation in the areas. Releasing the emotional component to any disease is imperative to optimal healing.
17. What is one facet of Eastern medicine that you wish they'd teach in conventional medical school in the United States?
Food as medicine. Period. Most Western medical practitioners have very little understanding of how nutrition directly impacts health and well-being. Although the tides are changing, we still have quite a ways to go beyond Western medical practitioners preaching the typical outdated nutrition dogmas like 'don't eat saturated fat,' which is now being retracted. If we could all get on the same page — that food is medicine and what you eat directly affects your health — our patients and our population as a whole would heal exponentially faster and be in much better health.
18. How do you impress upon a patient who desperately needs a life change the importance of heeding your advice and the gravity of making those significant lifestyle changes for improved health and wellness?
Typically I use clinical case studies as examples. I'll tell them about a patient in a similar situation to theirs and the changes they made (or didn't make) and how it resulted. I will use Western scientific research (for example, when it comes to avoiding gluten, if you have an autoimmune thyroid disease or really any autoimmune condition), I will speak of my own lifestyle changes and how they helped me and, most importantly, my approach is gentle coaching. I coach them; I don't preach or force them to change; I encourage and empower them to make the changes in their life so that they can optimize their own health. Some patients want to make all the changes I recommend immediately, and others need to take baby steps — it's my job to identify how to best help my patient bridge from their current lifestyle to one that will optimize their health.
19. What is the first food or diet-related habit I should look at if I'm trying to identify the root cause of a chronic illness, like eczema, asthma or other typical allergies?
I can't pick just one as there are two big culprits in most all chronic illnesses: soy and gluten. Both are common foods to have intolerances or allergies to, and both are extremely pervasive in the typical American diet. I recommend to most everyone that both foods should be avoided as they are highly processed, genetically engineered and extremely difficult to digest, causing a host of medical issues.
20. How do you work herbal treatments into your patient handbook — is there a sequence you follow (eg, only if needed in addition to acupuncture), or do you have faith in certain herbs and anecdotal evidence and thus you use them straight out of the gate?
I typically don't prescribe herbs 'straight out of the gate,' as I like to see a patient a few times to get a clear picture on their case. And, my approach is a 'less is more' type. I typically meet a new patient, do a detailed health history, make dietary and lifestyle recommendations and follow an individualized acupuncture protocol to see how that works for their chief complaint. If on the second or third visit I'm not seeing the changes I want — and the patient is being compliant with my recommendations — then I'll incorporate herbs. However, it's also difficult to generalize as there are some cases where I have a gut instinct to go straight to herbs, and I will in that case. I do use herbs on most all of my patients, typically creating individualized formulas for specific cases. But it is also important to stress that with Chinese herbs — as with many Western herbs — a lot of them are foods, so I may recommend dietary modifications such as taking fresh ginger tea with meals to aid in digestion, which is an herbal recommendation.
Thanks for the awesome interview, Aimee! I'm especially intrigued by the idea that we bring into our lives what "matches" us — and the underlying guiding assumption of how important it is to focus not on any emotional or mental blocks you may have but rather what it would feel like to live and move and breathe without that block. That sounds like pure freedom to me!
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