Phyllis Shapiro, L.Ac. | Acupuncture | Columbus Circle | 10019

My Journey

When I turned 40 I actually moved to Israel for about 18 months to live with my daughters who were in school there. I thought of this as a turning point in my life — and prior to leaving, I tried to contact all those long forgotten people who had created some of my strongest memories.

The most interesting find was the son of the couple who owned and ran the Bel Air (a place in the Catskills). We were able to chat about the waitress, who was the first person I would run to see each year as we arrived. The Bel Air was my first day camp experience. They ran the best camp around – and had patrols at night so the parents could enjoy the shows or card games. Camp also gave me my first acting experience – and I loved it.

Conversation over – off to Israel.

I felt that the decision to relocate for the 1 1/2 years was the first real decision I had made in my life. Tel Aviv, close to my daughters’ schools and the most urban city — good decision. I took the time to take Ulpan Hebrew lessons and travel around the country, hosting whichever friends chose to visit. The friendships I formed during that time remain some of the strongest bonds I have. A family of choice, which now includes the children and grandchildren of those friends.

I am a New Yorker, and NY called.

Returning to home and work provided structure to my life. A friend who was studying at a seminary encouraged me to join the classes. These studies finalized with “smicha,” the rabbinic degree I hold. But, more important to my life work, the need to learn more about the problems of the day, which were not addressed in depth — drugs and divorce — led me onto further study.

At the New School I earned certification as a drug and alcohol counselor (I figured this might be a problem one might consult one’s clergy about). And I spent a day in the Bronx at Lincoln Hospital’s acupuncture detox clinic.

WOW — I was blown away by the effectiveness of 5 needles placed in ear points on those coming for treatment. No methadone detox — no alternative drug detox — and these were outpatients (not fortunate enough to be in a 28 day facility). There were few complaints of restlessness and sleeplessness. On occasion, as I took the training, one of those being treated would approach me outside the building and ask what was on the needle. Nothing — I’d reply – just the needle.

It was not uncommon to hear “if I knew you could feel so good on this, who needed drugs!”

In December 1992, NADA (National Association of Detox Acupuncturists) held a full day symposium. The first announcement was that NYS would be licensing whole body acupuncturists and that a school in California would be opening a branch in Manhattan. My heart threw a party for my head! I do this! How do I do this now? At the break, I was on the phone to CA to get an application to the school. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine opened in March 1993. I was in the first class, graduating 36 months and 2700 hours of training later in 1996.

This has been a life changer.

For the first time in my life, I spend every day at my passion. Every patient who walks into my office presents a new puzzle to solve. I provide the best treatment I can to every patient.