We had the good fortune of connecting with Norah Charles, MSOM, L.Ac. and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Norah, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
When I started Boulder Acupuncture and Herbs, I was like most small business owners: I needed to reach new clients, right away. The success of a business like mine, where people come in to address a specific problem and, hopefully, resolve that problem, means that I need a constant flow of new clients to keep my schedule full. The tension between doing the real, one-on-one work of being an acupuncturist, plus the demand of marketing to new clients, greatly impacted my work-life balance. Even when I had clients, I was worried about reaching my next patient.

During the first years of my practice, I specialized in eldercare acupuncture. Early on I realized I had two marketing skills that were natural to me: writing and speaking. I began blogging early in my practice and have continued through today. I’ve also spoken to nearly 30 groups of people, many of them residents of assisted living facilities, retirement homes, and skilled nursing centers. At that time once I recognized my target audience–elders and the people who care for them–I was able to sort out what worked best for reaching those people. I was suddenly able to NOT spend all my free time marketing my practice. That was an incredible relief!

Now I rely heavily on referrals from current clients, colleagues who know and understand my work, and a really simple online presence. I am able to spend more time doing the things that make me a better acupuncturist, including spending time in nature, reading, exercising, exploring food, and keeping myself healthy. I am grateful to be past the point of needing to fill a totally empty schedule. But the growing pains of starting a practice like mine included years of outreach, education, experimentation, and staring down that blank calendar. I learned no amount of wishful thinking can substitute for hard work at the start of a business.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have personally been using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine since 1999. At that time I was severely asthmatic and had been prescribed a strong regimen of Western medication. Although they were effective at controlling my symptoms, the side-effects were alarming. I knew I needed to find a workable solution to my chronic health issues that didn’t include high doses of medication. When I found Chinese medicine, I learned a new way of seeing my body, understanding my mental health, and appreciating my physical environment.

Chinese medicine is a truly holistic way of viewing human wellbeing. It includes a deep respect for the laws of nature, including how a living being responds to its inner and outer environment. This ability to stand back and observe a client within the context of their life–their struggles, their joys, their unique physical constitution–is a special aspect of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. I love that about what I do, and I think people who really connect with Chinese medicine know that a good practitioner sees them in that light, as a whole person.

My early experience working extensively with older adults helped me understand how to treat people in mid-life to prevent chronic disease as we age. I am particularly interested in helping women through menopause. Western medicine does not offer a wide spectrum of options for women during the menopausal transition; they are usually prescribed hormones and/or anti-depressants, depending on their symptoms. This is not the best course of action for many women.

Chinese medicine, on the other hand, is very effective at treating the symptoms of menopause, including insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, and irritability, without introducing a long-term medication that can be difficult to get off of. My goal as a practitioner is to help women understand there are other ways of treating reproductive health issues. Having used Chinese medicine for over twenty years myself, I understand how versatile acupuncture and herbal medicine are. This system is really a hidden gem in modern healthcare.

photo was taken at Longhopes Donkey Shelter

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a true Boulderite, so I rarely leave the city unless I’m headed toward the mountains. However, I do love the Denver Botanic Garden, the amazing trails at Chautauqua, Red Rocks, and the long and winding road between Lyons and Estes Park. I recently took my mom on a drive toward Estes, and we ended up at the Colorado Cherry Company. We left with two pies, one chicken pot pie and one apple bourbon caramel pie. We ate the apple pie for breakfast and didn’t look back.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The About Page on my website says it all. My acupuncture practice is dedicated to my grandmother, Dorothy, whose long struggle with illness taught me the importance of laughter and letting go.

Website: www.boulderacupunctureandherbs.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/boulderacupuncture/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_kgBcG995EsXPT1J4OhF7Q/featured

Image Credits
Headshot: Heidi Wagner Pic with donkeys: no credit

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.