Jennifer Blatnik, L. Ac. in Asheville, NC (2014 graduate)
You’ve lived in a lot of different places, but built your practice in Asheville, how did you come to that decision?
I met my partner midway through school. They had just begun a graduate program too, so I knew I needed to settle in Asheville for a little while. Synchronistically, a classmate also invited me to help open a practice when we graduated (Marshall Acupuncture Clinic). It was a great opportunity, and I learned a lot about working in rural communities that haven’t been exposed to Chinese medicine.
I’ve since transitioned my practice to Asheville full-time and love it. I’m rooted here because of strong ties with family and friends, as well as a vibrant, open community that cares about people, land and food. I’ve fallen in love with these ancient, magical mountains!
Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can offer our soon to be graduates about transitioning from student to practitioner?
Other practitioners are your allies! It doesn’t matter how many practitioners practice in your city, there is enough for everyone. Be open to giving and receiving help, support, and information from fellow practitioners. Get regular acupuncture treatments from a practitioner and pay FULL price, even if you think you can’t afford it. Keep focused on the infinite possibilities and all the amazing gifts you can share, including an incredible four-year graduate education you worked hard for. It’s a daily practice, so find what helps keep you in that vibration, that will attract the kind of practice that lift you up both emotionally and financially. And hire a business/life coach you jive with for help, if it all feels too hard.
Your strong connection to herbal medicine led you to become part owner of Daoist Drops, a local essential oils company. Tell us about your connection to that medium of delivering herbal medicine.
Essential oils are powerful medicine and can be applied to acupressure points to influence emotions within minutes. People are often more open to them than taking herbal supplements, so it’s another avenue to support self-care with herbs. And they smell amazing, of course.
Mary Burke Pitts (another DT grad) and I just sold Daoist Drops to Red Moon Herbs, a Southeast herbal company based in Asheville, who will continue the good work of Daoist Drops.
Were there particular instructors at DT who informed your practice of CM?
Really all of them influenced my practice and my understanding in their own way, and I am truly grateful for the heart and knowledge each teacher gave. The teachers at Daoist Traditions deeply care about the spirit of Chinese medicine and supporting students with their learning. Of course, Dr. Jeffrey Yuen was an incredible influence and altered my understanding of life.
Are there particular teachers you met or healing modalities you studied after DT that informed your practice?
Yes, I’ve studied with one of Dr. Tan’s main students, Dr. Eileen Han, and that has been very helpful and magical for results in practice. I took Sharon Weizenbaum’s two-year graduate mentorship program to deepen my herbal studies, which was very rich. I’ve informally studied Feng Shui and have incorporated that into my practice, as our environments have great effect on our mind-body-spirit health. And lastly, I’ve studied reiki energy healing and Peruvian shamanism with the late Cynthia Greer to greater understand how to work with energy, healing, ritual and the earth. I use all these modalities in my practice, as well as the solid and unique foundation of information I gained at Daoist Traditions.
What is something that has made you laugh or made your heart feel lighter lately?
There is a ridiculous tv show that we’ve been watching lately on Netflix called The Circle. It makes me laugh just thinking about it. It’s a reality tv show, and I very rarely watch those, but things like that in small doses help keep me grounded in the modern world and not take life so seriously.