Starr Luu is the owner and practice of Bodhi Treatment Center, which is committed to delivering the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in a safe, ethical, and welcoming space for patients. Growing up as the only Chinese-Thai-American in her class in Glenwood Spring, Starr has struggled fitting in and finding her own identities. She also explored different career paths but eventually found her passion in Chinese medicine and helping others.
What can someone expect that has never had acupuncture services?
First, I recommend all my patients to make sure they have a light snack or meal prior to attending the appointment. The treatment can be quite moving, both physically and emotionally, and can cause the patient to become light-headed if they’re on an empty-stomach or depleted. Secondly, I tell my patients to wear loose and comfortable clothing. I even encourage them to come in their pajamas if they desire. I want them to be as comfortable as possible!
Every treatment is a unique adventure. There is no set of rules that dictates exactly what an acupuncture treatment should be like. This is due to the fact that there are different variables involved for each case. Similar to differing personalities, each diagnosis presents a unique solution. For example, some days we experience joy, on others grief and anger. Every patient arrives with their own story to tell that particular day. Some have a chief complaint of physical pain, some of stressors, anxiety, depression, or other mental/emotional issues. Oftentimes, the core affliction involves the harmony between emotional and physical health, what we refer to as “Mind and Body.” The most important sensation I want every patient to experience is a sense of relaxation and calmness, which can be hard to find in our modern zeitgeist. I know it sounds a little counterintuitive to think that becoming a pin cushion could make one feel relaxed.
Believe it or not, acupuncture has been healing people for 3000 years. I provide a safe environment, where the patient is free to relieve stress, laugh, express anger or frustration, grieve, or just nap through their treatment.
I pride myself on building a trusting relationship with my patients because trust and communication is another part of the healing process. Overall, the patient’s comfort and acceptance of the treatment is of utmost importance.
What have you enjoyed most about being a Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist?
Growing up, I had always dreamt about being a healthcare practitioner. I loved the idea of helping people get healthy and living their lives. My great grandpa was one of my inspirations. He was a rural medicine man near Guangzhou, China, and had made his own herbs and mixtures for everyone in the area. One day, while volunteering in a doctor’s office, I had seen a patient for the third time, and the patient did not show improvement. I asked the physician why he kept prescribing medication instead of focusing on the root cause of the pain. The physician reminded me that pharmaceuticals were the only option in their scope of practice. After that day, I withdrew my pursuit of a career in medicine.
I ended up studying Traditional Chinese Medicine at Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder for 3.5 years. Today, I run my own practice, where I get to apply my experience and knowledge towards holistic healing, while simultaneously learning from each patient. I am grateful and privileged to work with people that allow me to assist them with their health journey. Some cases are very challenging, but extremely rewarding when the patients see improvement. It’s the greatest feeling in the world when your patients report to you that their 20-year-old health problem is no longer an issue, and that my treatments made the difference.
The trust that my patients have in me is a gift that I cherish and will never take for granted. Every day presents a new lesson, and every patient is my teacher. One of the most important lessons they teach me is that I truly love and am passionate about what I do.
What was your experience like growing up in Glenwood Springs?
Glenwood Springs will always have a special place in my heart. Being the only Chinese-Thai-American girl in your class, you’re bound to stand out. I didn’t understand what racism or discrimination was at a young age. Being that it was a small town, all our classmates knew one another from K-12. In high school, I started to understand my physical and cultural differences from my classmates. By then, I felt included and became more extroverted. After graduating high school, I moved to Denver for college, which was a culture shock for me! I went from being the only Asian student in my class to a big city with huge groups of mixed cultures. My dad was the first member of our family to settle in the Valley in 1978. He was a Vietnamese refugee escaping the oppression of the Vietnamese Communist Party. He met my mom while on vacation in Los Angeles. A year later, my dad proposed to my mom and brought her to the Valley. Both my parents worked full-time jobs, saving as much money as they could, and founded their dream business in Glenwood Springs.
Why do you believe in Chinese traditional medicine?
Throughout my journey thus far, I have seen Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) work effectively in treating a wide variety of afflictions including chronic/acute pain management, severe digestive disorders, common colds, and infertility. As a practitioner, we ask in-depth questions from our patients to understand the body as a whole.
TCM, focuses on balancing the yin, yang, qi, and blood of the body. For example, if someone has an abundant amount of yang in their system, this can manifest to extreme headaches, irritability, and even high blood pressure. If a person has a deficiency in blood, he/she may present with dizziness, fatigue, or even lack of focus. In the majority of cases, it is not as simple as treating just one of these components. Oftentimes, there is an imbalance of all four categories. It is the job of the practitioner to find the root cause and develop a treatment plan. Understanding the causes of imbalances leads to successful results. Ultimately, it is these results that prove the worth of the discipline.
See her services at: www.bodhidenver.com/services-1
Location: 1777 S. Harrison Street, Suite 800, Denver, CO 80210