In the next few weeks, we will be interviewing the acupuncturists at M & R Acupuncture to learn more about them and what brought them to where they are now.
For our first interview, Danielle will interview Megan Crouse, one of the founders of M & R Acupuncture.
Your journey to acupuncture and what brought you there?
While I was an Anthropology major in college, I traveled to India with one of my professors. During that trip, we did a week-long meditation retreat where we learned Reiki energy healing - this was my first introduction to alternative health and the theory of energy pathways. I loved this experience and started to understand that energy could make you feel good, bad, sick or well. When I got back to school, I decided to switch my major to a more concentrated version of anthropology that focused on health and healing traditions in different cultures - so I became a medical anthropology major. Through my major I learned about acupuncture and found it fascinating! I started going to a community acupuncture clinic to get help with some of my own ailments (I had extremely painful periods) and it helped me a lot. I decided to volunteer at the clinic as their secretary, which gave me the opportunity to learn about acupuncture theory and treatments. All of the patient’s that visited the clinic were so happy and grateful for the services, and the acupuncturists really loved what they did! That’s when I decided to pursue acupuncture too.
You mentioned learning about Chinese medicine theory from the acupuncture clinic you worked at. What do you appreciate most about Chinese medicine theory?
I really like that it’s an art anda science. You have to understand human anatomy and recognize red flags in order to treat safely. But you are also able to treat every person uniquely and tailor treatments to fit their needs and individual constitution; it’s not a one size fits all approach that you sometimes find in western medicine. There’s so much flexibility and artistry to coming up with an acupuncture-point protocol and herbal formula. I also appreciate the concept of balance of yin (calm energy) and yang (active energy) in the body - to stay happy and healthy your body is constantly working to maintain a balance between these two forces.
Why did you choose to specialize in fertility? What was your training like?
I love working in the field of women’s health. Because acupuncture/Chinese herbs helped me so much with my own menstrual issues, I wanted to help other women too. Acupuncture is so effective in treating hormonal imbalances, while also being a gentle and side-effect-free approach to getting women’s bodies back on tract. But as for fertility - while I was in acupuncture school I had a few fertility patients come in to see me for help. They had been told that they would never be able to have a child according to their medical records and blood work. After a few months of treatment with acupuncture, herbs, and some lifestyle coaching, they all were able to have a baby! It was so exciting to have helped them conceive without any invasive or harsh medical interventions - after that I pursued additional fertility coursework and continuing education classes. I also spent some time as an acupuncturist in a labor and delivery unit - using acupressure and manual techniques to ease pain, promote healthy labor, and prevent the need for C-sections.
What makes your treatments more effective, what makes you stand out as a practitioner?
I have a very gentle approach. It typically takes about three months to balance hormones/the endocrine system and to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, so I create a long-term plan in which treatments build upon each other and change depending on where a woman is in her cycle. With my fertility patients, we don’t just do acupuncture, but also herbs and moxibustion, as well as a lot of discussion on emotional wellbeing, nutrition, vitamin therapy.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I know it sounds cliché, but I love helping people. I really enjoy working one on one with people and helping them improve their quality of life. I feel lucky that I get to form a relationship with my patients and hear about their lives, stories, backgrounds. I also love working in the peaceful environment of our clinic :)
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is fascinating and there is so much depth to it, but I’ll try to keep it short. There are a series of meridians (like rivers) that run throughout the body. Our Qi flows throughout these meridians, and keeps our blood and body fluids flowing and distributing to all the areas of our body. Disease, discomfort, and any sort of imbalance occurs when the Qi in our meridians gets blocked. An Acupuncturist’s job is to choose specific points along the particular meridians affected and restore free flow of Qi. From a western standpoint, acupuncture releases endorphins (which boosts mood and encourages your body to heal itself), reduces inflammation (inflammation is a huge contributor to a number of health issues), calms the nervous system, and improves blood circulation. Getting acupuncture provides a period of time when someone can fully relax; and when they fully relax, their body can start to focus on its wellbeing rather than being in survival mode.
How did you and Rory meet?
Rory and I met in my first acupuncture class. He had already been in acupuncture school for one year but was a transfer student to the school I just started attending, so we ended up being at the same orientation and in some of the same foundation classes.
We went to the same orientation and I picked her out in the room. We were in this big room full of people and I saw this bright light shooting from the top of her head, true story. So I said, oh whoever that is I need to go sit next to her. So I started telling people to get out of the way so that I could make my way through the isle to sit next to her.
Haha. That’s true. My entire row was full except for the seat next to me and he had everyone get up and move out of the way for him so he could sit next to me. I thought, who is this guy!?
Then we had two classes together.
At the beginning of medical terminology class, our teacher would have us stand up, look diagonally across the room and say “even though I am not prepared for class today, everything is going to be just fine.” We were all new and obviously nervous so he wanted to take the pressure off. Rory and I always ended up looking at each other during that.
It’s true, I asked her out to tea in between classes, and I would say cheesy things like “would you like Tuesday tea time.”
And I was thinking this guy is so cheesy. But soon we became inseparable.
I was tutoring her
But here’s the thing, I didn’t actually need tutoring. He was a year ahead of me so he said he could teach me some of the things he had already learned, but really this was just an excuse for us to hang out!
Yeah I don’t think she paid attention.
I didn’t. But that was it. A few months later we started dating. Then a year and a half later we were engaged and we moved to san Diego to finish our degree. That’s where we met Drew and became friends - we all talked about opening a nonprofit together one day, which maybe we will still do. We got married and moved to Long Island. We kept in touch with Drew and he decided to move out to join our business too!