“I would like to thank all of my teachers at Bastyr for their patience, guidance and expertise. I’m especially thankful for the help from Yajuan Wang, Boonchai Apirachia, Andy McIntyre and Jim Dowling. To every person who has granted me their trust to treat them, thank you.”  Kerry Boyle June 23, 2003 


A lot of patients ask me “How did you get into acupuncture?”

I think a lot of my colleagues “got into acupuncture” through a healing experience. Many people find out acupuncture works, because it works for them! It’s often a “knotty” type condition, one that modern medicine hasn’t a clue what is going on, how multiple different systems may be presenting with symptoms but don’t seem connected to each other. But somehow, through the mystery of traditional East Asian medicines, it makes complete sense to an acupuncturist. And, healing occurs.

Ski Bum Goes ProfessionalNewport Natural Foods

For me, it was a path through a vegetarian lifestyle that brought me to acupuncture. I was working way up north on the Canadian border in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont at a health food store, Newport Natural Foods. I was living there as a ski bum and loved snowboarding daily at Jay Peak. To earn enough for rent, I cooked at the vegetarian cafe within Newport Naturals. It was here that I learned about a school, Bastyr University, that offered college degrees in whole food based nutrition. And they had a vegetarian cafeteria, so I was sold. I just had to relocate across the country to Seattle, Washington where I knew no one!

Thanks to a wonderful 5 years post high school fill with tons of travel, live music and snowboarding, I did not have an undergraduate college degree. I had squirreled away a few basic college classes like English and some Sciences at community colleges at CCV Burlington, Newport and Morrisville, but not enough to get admitted to the Nutrition program at Bastyr. Once I landed on Capitol Hill in Seattle, I signed up for more science classes at Seattle Community College to complete the prerequisite classes for Bastyr. My classes were tough there! Really challenging. So I decided to balance out the scholastic demands with a calm Tai Chi class on weekends at the local park. It was here my path took a turn.


Tai Chi Supreme Ultimate

I learned the basics of Tai Chi Chuan, Yang long and short forms, and was amazed at the energy I could feel in my hands! It was palpable. I was already practicing yoga and had been exposed to Barbara Brennan’s Hand of Light amazing book, but had never felt energy, or Qi, so clearly as when I was practicing Tai Chi. When I realized this Qi was the same energy that acupuncture was all about, I took a turn on my path and decided to apply for the acupuncture program at Bastyr instead of nutrition.


There was just one issue, and this was a big one, I was DEATHLY AFRAID OF NEEDLES. 


I completed my community college science classes, which felt a bit like initiation since they were so challenging for me, and applied for the acupuncture program and Bastyr. Imagine my surprise during the interview when I was asked to talk about my experience receiving acupuncture. I had never HAD acupuncture, nor did I ever want to! I was very into the concept, but actually having needles inserted in me sounded like torture. Being a regular fainter and passing out sometimes at just the thought of injections and blood draws, acupuncture made me nervous. My interviewers asked how could I know I wanted to pursue a career in acupuncture without ever having receive it? All I could think about were my amazing roommates, who were studying to be midwives, yet had not had children themselves. Sometimes you just know and lucky for me, that response seemed to pass the test and I was accepted to Acupuncture school!

As I prepared for the start of Acupuncture school, I realized I’d have to actually try acupuncture. After all, I was about to be pin cushion to my classmates for the next three years, I was going to have to get over this fear. I went to my first acupuncture session and was amazed. It didn’t hurt! In fact, it was amazingly relaxing and I felt confident I was making a great choice.

bastyr university

Hogwarts Meets Northwest Fairy land

The campus of Bastyr University is unbelievable. Think Hogwarts meets Northwest fairy land. It is within an old monastery, and the vibes for healing, studies and contemplation are high. The school is a top of a high hill, with acres and acres of old Northwest trees and trails leading down to Lake Washington. The hallways are filled with students eagerly absorbing every morsel then can during their time there. Weekends are filled with additional classes like craniosacral therapy, essential oil training, flower essence 101, all classes I was privileged to take to round out my acupuncture studies.

Over the three years I went to school at Bastyr I worked hard, sometimes taking as many as 24 credits in a quarter to complete my Bachelor’s degree simultaneous with my Master’s degree in Acupuncture. It was exhausting. One of my teachers, Naomi Rhodes, gave us great advice to complete a massage therapy program between our first and second year of Acupuncture school. This allowed me to start working with people, learning the intuitive skill of palpation, and make a little more than I was making working for the Tofu Palace doing demos at supermarkets on the weekend.


The years at school slipped by fast. The tragedy of 9/11/2001 occurred while were on a school break and I was traveling in Costa Rica. It brought a great amount of reflection and gratitude to all of us. I was feeling detached to my childhood home of the suburbs of NYC in New Jersey, where family and friends were very effected by the tragedy. I still was unsure where I would eventually settle down and practice after acupuncture school. 9/11 motivated me to return to the east coast eventually and be closer to family.

kerry boyle acupuncture

Clinical Practice Prepares Us

My fondest memories of my time at Bastyr, were within the school clinic in Wallingford, a town within Seattle. It was here I finally really shined. I had not been the most successful student when it came to the hard western sciences classes at Bastyr, I struggled with a lot of those classes. But when it came time for patient care, my confidence soared as my patients seemed to love their treatments and got better! My clinic schedule would fill up with patients and I was really starting to feel ready to practice.

I was also so fortunate to get to work at one of my teacher’s clinics. Dr. Yajuan Wang graciously offered me a job at her front desk, which I was rather terrible at, and I vowed to be busy enough to employ other people, more organized people that I, to handle my own desk someday. But it was here in downtown Seattle that I was able to watch Dr. Wang gracefully treat multiple patients, with all sorts of issues, and help them all.

kerry boyle acupuncturistReturning Thankful

When I recently returned to visit Bastyr in April 2023, for the first time since 2003, I was moved to tears. This place had taken me, molded me, gifted me my future. It had allowed me to see a path I had only dreamed of, one where I was a participant in the healing of my community. Years earlier, living in Plainfield, Vermont and working in Montpelier at J.Morgans as a server, I could never have imagined I would be the owner of a wellness center and an acupuncturist in that same town.

I am still, and always will be, grateful to the teachers at the school that gifted me with the magic of the knowledge of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. To the tens of thousands (!!) of patients I have treated over the first twenty years of my practice, I bow to you. Thank you for allowing me to work with you along your unique healing path. I am dedicated to continue my life’s work for another twenty years and beyond and look forward to continuing to work with many of you.

Kerry Boyle at Bastyr University

Here’s to 20 more years!