Joy’s story: the journey to acupuncture

The word coincidence is such a mysterious word, alluding to a collection of seemingly random events that lead us to drum up a dizzying amount of possible meanings. The term didn’t used to be so magical; it originated as a scientific math term to describe when two right angles fit together, or coincide.

Here I will unfold a few specific events in my life that that fit together perfectly and led me to become an acupuncturist and now co-creator of Third Space Wellness. And I apply a dizzying amount of meaning to these moments.

Rewind to 1999. I was in college, exercising up to 4 hours day, drinking 1-2 Venti Vanilla Lattes as meals, and bingeing at night on pans of brownies and gallons of water. My menstrual cycle stopped, yet I felt cramps that seemed life-threatening. My weight yo-yo’d. I dipped into a depression: getting out of bed was unbearable. Human interaction was excruciating. One day I started shivering, except the shivering escalated into convulsing, to the point where my boyfriend at the time (now husband), Airrion, tried to hold me steady and couldn’t. At the ER, they told me I “must have the flu”.

This was the first time I asked for help from anyone: I started seeing a chiropractor who taught me that my emotions were causing my body to have what I thought were random, strange symptoms. Dr. T. taught me that if I listened to my body instead of deny it, train it, overcome it or ignore it, it could calm down. He taught me about the way life fits together perfectly, and that there is absolutely no symptom, emotion, person or event in my life that hasn’t been a gift to me in some way, taught me something, molded me into who I was today – if I am willing to see the gift.

Fast forward to 2009. I had been working in high-stress advertising jobs since college, and after being at this particular one for over 3 years, I decided I could stick with it and accept the grind for good. That’s when HR called and said “it’s not you, it’s us; you’re being laid off”.

One of my colleagues gave me a workbook about how to land your next job. I began to fill out an exercise that said “list your accomplishments -ones that you felt a sense of pride and satisfaction about”. I stared blankly at the page. I could easily tout projects and presentations from work – insert sound of nails on a chalkboard. What I really had a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction about though was more along the lines of: “I’m alive! I found a way to transform the darkest most painful days into a life I love! I married my college sweetheart! I discovered courage as a young adult, and learned to ski without ripping off a leg!”

This was an enlightening moment: I couldn’t bring myself to have the same old conversation about excel charts or go back to my same old way of work. I couldn’t grow into retirement, filling out my seat at work wearing worn-out khakis.

I spent a few weeks doing some soul searching and finally decided – insert sound of pounding heartbeat – to pursue what gave me the original spark of life: being reintroduced to my body and my lived experience as a learning process, a guide for moving through the  beauty and tragedy of the day-to-day more fully. This is the type of conversation I could have all day with people. I began investigating going back to school for natural medicine. As I was researching whether or not to become a chiropractor, I discovered that my chiropractor from college was using [what I considered to be] a life-changing technique that was based on an ancient Japanese acupuncture method of addressing emotions and their impact on the body. And it just so happened that up the road from me was one of the oldest acupuncture programs in the U.S. And so the door was open to this crazy idea of a getting a master’s degree in acupuncture.

As I submitted my application to the school, I remember daydreaming about who I would meet and how I would be different after this….and the coinciding continued….

We’ll continue telling our stories of how this story of Third Space Wellness came to be!

2 Responses to “Joy’s story: the journey to acupuncture”

  1. When yoga comes for you… | Third Space Wellness

    […] sat in a nervous sweat in the empty yoga room until my first student arrived. And that student was Joy Andrews… I looked like a deer in headlights… The rest as they say is […]

  2. When yoga comes for you… | Third Space Wellness

    […] sat in a nervous sweat in the empty yoga room until my first student arrived. And that student was Joy Andrews… I looked like a deer in headlights… The rest as they say is […]


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