Beth Griffing – Approach to Care
Beth Griffing, LAc, MAOM
As a child of the Montana mountains and Texas plains, I have always had an interest in incorporating the principles of nature into city life. During childhood summers in the Montana wilderness I created detailed sketches of edible and medicinal plants, which I would then gather and process according to the textbook, testing out the effects on myself and my family (as a kid, the carminatives were especially interesting). I would bring these teas and spices back to my friends in Texas who mainly lived in cities, carefully distributing them over the course of a year to help with common colds, feeling proud of myself for this small illustration of knowledge becoming health. I was also the child who constantly prepared for disaster: as my brothers and I climbed cliffs and rockslides, forded rivers and had run-ins with grizzly bears, I mentally prepared myself to treat broken legs, maul wounds, and shock. I harbored a deep interest in medicine, especially medicine which is easily transportable and uses the tools found in nature. I never considered the profession of ‘doctor’ but when asked in fourth grade to draw myself in the job I’d like to be when I grew up, I drew myself in a white lab coat, standing in a conference room. I thought I wanted to be a scientist, but I inadvertently drew an accurate representation of myself as an intern at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine!
A love of detail and artistry, backed by practical skill and science, has carried me through many pursuits. I won honors at science fairs for studying phytoremediation and plant response to touch, and then focused on studio art, placing in state competitions for painting and drawing. At Reed College I continued to combine science with the arts, studying organic chemistry and music performance while diving into cultural anthropology as a major. My undergraduate anthropology thesis involved hundreds of hours researching and interviewing gardeners, as I investigated the relationship between nature, community, and health in Portland’s community gardens. This ignited my passion for creating health and healthy community relationships, and I learned that I needed to be “in the field,” speaking with and learning from people. I found my calling in helping people to gain health using the tools they already have, as many of the gardeners brought home the message that educated, preventive health care autonomy gives them satisfaction. Anthropology taught me the value of inductive reasoning and deep listening, yet I knew I wanted to have a stronger, more direct impact than that of an observer mediated by academia.
During my time at Reed College, I practiced Tai Chi to relieve stress and began to enjoy many surprising health benefits. This led me to pursue study of East Asian philosophy and systems of medicine. The more I learned, the more clear my pathway became. I wanted to be involved in creating healthy lives, in talking and listening to people closely, and I wanted to use an effective system of medicine that could allow the greatest amount of health care autonomy with as few bureaucratic hassles and negative side effects as possible. I found that Traditional Chinese Medicine and its associated modalities fit all of those parameters, and the depth of this medicine gives me the joy of scholarly pursuit. The advanced diagnostic systems of Acupuncture and Traditional East Asian medicine mirror the sophistication of nature, with the advantage of millenia of recorded clinical investigation.
I am happy to bring meticulous observation and a grounding in science to the art of Acupuncture and Traditional East Asian Medicine. I use every tool at my disposal to create an effective and thorough treatment plan for each patient, and I continue to advance my field by pursuing clinical research. I love challenging and contrasting the interaction between different approaches to healing, and I am wholeheartedly enthusiastic about the benefits of integrating Naturopathic medical practices with sophisticated East Asian therapeutic techniques.