It is impossible to successfully treat someone else if you have not first successfully treated yourself. After acupuncture graduate studies and California Medical Board exams, I was depleted in so many ways that I needed to restore and rebuild myself — so I detoxed for a few months using a number of gentle and effective approaches. Most importantly, as part of that personal recharge, I made up for sleep deficiency by making sure that I slept 8–10 hours a day. This experience played an important role in making the initial focus of my new Hand Energetics™ Wellness Program issues related to poor sleep.
As part of my series about health and wellness leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan Shane. Susan has been a licensed acupuncturist for more than 25 years. She is the author of Vitality Fusion, Second Edition: A Comparative, Interactive Survey of Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic Medicine. She has been a wellness lecturer at the University of California San Diego, Intuit, Chuao Chocolatier, Rohr, and Qualcomm, and has been interviewed by New Body, Men’s Guide to Fashion, Mature Health, and Mantra magazines. Susan has also served as a member of the Community Advisory Board at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I’ve always been a great “follower”: I initially followed my heart and pursued a professional dance career, then I followed my passion and became a personal fitness trainer and — finally — I followed my true path and became an acupuncturist. All of these careers have given me great joy.
Can you share the interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
In 1991, during that second career as a personal fitness trainer, the Northridge earthquake rocked Los Angeles. I assumed my fitness clients would not want to meet and exercise, but the opposite turned out to be true, for both my clients and employees. I remember that one of those clients, Sheila, insisted on seeing me early in the morning. She had water and food ready for me to make sure I was okay, and had music playing from a battery-operated stereo to drown out the sirens. We had a blast exercising.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was finishing a water exercise lesson with Bob. I went to get my beach towel to dry off. As I sat on the towel, I received a bee sting on my bottom. I could not hide the uncomfortable stinging effect. Bob laughed and proceeded to get tweezers to remove the stinger. Afterwards, he gave me ice and a Benadryl so I could drive to my next appointment. One lesson I learned was to shake my towel before sitting or drying off. I also learned, as with Sheila, my clients were dear and wonderful people. I was so blessed to be their trainer, and that sense of shared personal relationship is probably the most important lesson that I still try to bring every day into my acupuncture practice.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
A very exciting project called Hand Energetics™. Hand Energetics™ is a revolutionary wellness self-care system. Using ancient insight from acupuncture and modern technology with small bio-marked magnets, you provide positive self-care using only your hands. This combination of ancient wisdom and modern materials is an effective and simple way to balance your body and create a homeostasis.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
With the new movie version of CATS scheduled for release this Christmas, I have a pretty topical story to share:
During that first career as a professional dancer, I was given the opportunity to have George de la Pena coach me for a CATS national touring audition. He taught me how to move with grace and how to visualize multiple turns. (He was also very funny during my coaching sessions.) When the audition occurred, I pictured George at the judging table as I did multiple turns. This visualization worked wonders because I felt centered. After the CATS audition, Michael T. Reed, CATS associate choreographer, walked over to me and said I was the best dancer that day. That compliment has always been a highlight in my dance career.
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help people feel great?
Tweak one is to remember to breathe; tweak two is a lesson from Sheila — to play inspiring, elevating music; tweak three is to think positive thoughts every day.
Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?
I just read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, in preparation for seeing the play (career one included SAG and Equity membership, and I’ve always loved the theater). The book itself is a Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, one that reminds us “to put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a few minutes to better understand that person.” It emphasizes the importance of empathy and civility in the way we treat each other, regardless of our differences.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Hand Energetics™ is a neodymium magnet-based wellness system that can provide a lot of vitality support for a population that increasingly needs such support. This system uses a “needleless acupuncture” approach, is easy to use, and empowers the individual to provide their own guided self-care. The Hand Energetics™ body balancing program combines the ancient knowledge of acupuncture with modern technology originally developed in the 1970s to create a customized, personal homeostasis. Many clients feel energized and content when using this wellness system, and its widespread adoption certainly holds the promise of bringing “the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people.”
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
The goodness comes when clients feel better because their pain/issues have decreased and their vitality has increased. Clients feel a vibrational uplift.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Here are five things I wish someone told and a story for each:
1. The first two things that I wish someone had told me before I became a health and fitness practitioner relate, paradoxically, not to patient care but to self-care.
a. It is impossible to successfully treat someone else if you have not first successfully treated yourself. After acupuncture graduate studies and California Medical Board exams, I was depleted in so many ways that I needed to restore and rebuild myself — so I detoxed for a few months using a number of gentle and effective approaches. Most importantly, as part of that personal recharge, I made up for sleep deficiency by making sure that I slept 8–10 hours a day. This experience played an important role in making the initial focus of my new Hand Energetics™ Wellness Program issues related to poor sleep.
b. It is important in this context of “self-care first” to take a “Bucket-List” break every year to recharge. Last year, I had the opportunity to visit and hike in Patagonia, Chile. The nature was astounding; I even saw and heard a glacier avalanche while eating lunch on a mountain top.
2. The next two things involve patient care:
a. Patience with Patients — it is important to learn to listen with compassion not only to the symptoms that clients share, but to the backstory involved with their particular imbalances. Truly caring about your client’s overall wellness, not just working to resolve a specific symptom that has surfaced, is an essential part of the healing process.
b. In that same vein, each patient interaction is itself a new opportunity to begin a shared personal relationship (see the answers to numbers 4 and 5 below for two related stories).
3. Finally, the last lesson and story regard my actual acupuncture practice.
a. Before you see a single patient, have your practice fully organized — this will save an inordinate amount of time (and potential oversights) in the years that follow. There are HIPAA compliance, tax, and banking details that need to be in order inside your office before “opening your door.”
Designing and creating a customized office system, even if using off-the-shelf software, takes research and hard work. It may not seem like it at the time, but it is time well spent.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Lin-Manuel Miranda, without a doubt. He is such a gifted artist transforming the world for the better — that rare combination of a creative genius with a beautiful heart.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for all of these great insights!