We had the good fortune of connecting with Starr Luu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Starr, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
One of the most important lessons that my business/career has taught me is PATIENCE. I know this is contradicting to the common Entrepreneur-Go-getter mentality. I became so eager to finish school and start practicing Chinese medicine, that I forgot to sit down and visualize where this medicine was heading for me. When I was in school, I had pictured opening up my little lemonade stand-clinic and I would have clients booking their appointments left and right. Yes, COVID-19 was lingering in the news; however, I was hoping that by May, it would be a simple meme that we’d laugh about. Then Jared Polis was my reminder of “patience.” He ordered a mandatory shut-down, after I had been opened for two weeks (in March 2020). Talk about great planning on my part huh? While on my work intermission, I was able to sit down and plan my next steps. In the beginning, I was trying to rush everything to get ready to open up in possibly “two weeks.” Then a month flew by, still no word of allowing Acupuncturists to reopen their businesses. My vision of a busy clinic started to diminish. Then the soft opening came in May. There were lots of new rules and regulations that we had to follow. Diligently crossing off my checklists, I was able to reopen. Once I reopened, as expected, it was a slow start. I had to remind myself that I created my business with compassion in mind, and to be patient for myself and others. I know it sounds cliché, but I was constantly reminding myself of that Field of Dreams quote, “If you build it, they will come.” I’ve always trust with good intentions; good things will come. My friends and family would question my career goals, some had suggested that I should just throw in the towel and start a different career. I’d thank them for their concerns, but I told them to just sit back and watch. I treated all my patients with the best intentions as I could, and the results started to show. A lot of my patients were seeing results, and the ones that didn’t, were my teachers for how I would address the cases in the future. Through these tough times, I am fortunate to see growth in my business. Like all my acupuncture treatments, nothing can be rushed, it’s just having trust and being patient. This has resonated through my career and business. Lastly, I have begun to teach my clients to have patience with their health disharmonies and to always have compassion for themselves as well. I have learned that great outcomes require great patience, and that will always be bigger than what the mind will envision.
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?
The name Bodhi Treatment Center is based off of the Bodhisattva, Kuan Yin. Kuan Yin is known to be the Goddess of Compassion in the Buddhist culture. I wanted to honor Kuan Yin and have a constant reminder to always have compassion towards others and to have compassion towards myself. Every patient has their own story, I wanted to be the one to help guide the patients to a happy story with their health. In the beginning, prior to starting my practice I was in school, and after graduation, I was briefly employed with another facility. Due to my lack of confidence, I was starting to become looped in to what started to feel like another “job.” I lost my love for this medicine that I have set my life journey towards. After getting a severe cold at home for a week, I was able to reset, and find myself. From then, I resigned with the practice and set out to start my own clinic. I found my passion back with Bodhi Treatment Center. Bodhi Treatment Center offers different modalities of treatments for patients to choose from. With all the Traditional Chinese Medical treatments such as; cupping, guasha, herbs, Tui Na, acupuncture, to the non-traditional ones like dry-needling, meditation guidance, and tuning fork treatments. I wanted to provide a diverse amount of modalities for patients to choose from. I didn’t want to just have “Acupuncture” in the name of the practice because that can actually sometimes deter patients from visiting. Like my mother, not everyone is comfortable with needles. I wanted the public to understand that there are many modalities of healing that they can try, whatever it takes to help them find solace in their body. I am fortunate to have been raised in a multi-cultural family, which has allowed me to be fluent in six languages (Cantonese, Fujian, Mandarin, Thai, English, and Spanish). I believe that being multi-lingual, I am able to help a greater amount of people, and feel that it has helped my patient-practitioner relationship with their trust. I have been so honored and excited by the number of patients that have trusted me with their health issues, allowing me to work with them in finding a solution, and voicing their results to th the patients’ friends and families. Sure this journey sounds similar to everyone else’s; Grow up. Go to school. Find your career. However, it has not been the easiest adventure nor traditional, for me. As a child, I’ve always wanted to work as a healthcare practitioner. Initially, I was bound for Western Medical School, where I wanted to specialize in orthopedic surgery and work with athletes because I loved sports. Along that road, I lost my interest in the medicine through my volunteer experiences. I discovered that I wanted to help patients more than the limited prescription note pad. No matter how many muscle relaxers I watched being prescribed, it still didn’t fix the patients’ problems. Sometimes, after surgeries, I saw the depletion of the patient’s energy, than they first came in, and the patients were slower to recover. For a period of time in my life, I escaped to join the airlines. Because why wouldn’t I want a career that pays me and allows me to travel the world for free? That came to a halt when I was handling baggage out in -17 degrees Denver, Colorado wind chills, where I could barely open my eyes to see because they were getting hit with what felt like ice-BB-pellets. I enjoyed my journey with the aviation family; but I still wanted purpose in my life, to make a difference for others. Then came my friend Andye Murphy. Within one session with her, she told me to go back to school for Chinese Medicine. From there on, I have seen the most amazing results by my teachers (aka, my patients). From Bell’s Palsy recoveries, to patients no longer having chronic pain from a few treatments. I am fortunate to receive lessons everyday by my patients. Most of the time, these treatments were not taught in my textbook; more so, it was my patients that taught me the skills. There are always challenges with difficult cases, but that’s the great part of this medicine, there will always be multiple tools that can be used to help each case, and I will constantly be learning to improve every day. The thing I want the world to know, is to not limit yourself to what you’re told. Discover and research what other options you have for your health, always feel comfortable to ask your practitioners question, and try to find that trust. At Bodhi Treatment Center, patient comfort and understanding is the key to the first part of healing. I stride to treat all my patients with the utmost care and to help prevent any future issues, by working with harmonizing mind and body.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being that I am a big foodie, this is my favorite hobby. Day 1: I’d wake my friend up early in the morning to grab a bowl of congee from Onefold, this will require some caffeine to help muscle our way through the crowd there (in a non-hostile manner, of course). Once we’re finished eating, we would drive over to Tokyo Premium Bakery to grab small pastries as we head towards Boulder to visit Boulder Falls for a quick sightseeing. Boulder Falls is a simple hike, that won’t get my friend and I too worn out for lunch. As for lunch, one can’t deny the Tsukemen (dipping Ramen) from Domo’s, my little Akido-school-restaurant. Definitely, I will make sure my friend doesn’t over-eat their lunch, we would all our food to digest while we explore downtown to Lodo and enjoy our city views. My favorite meal of the day is Happy Hour….but happy hour and dinner Work & Class is a must! Work & Class has a seasonal rotating menu, but never disappoints. Day 2: Second day, I’d wake my friend up early to enjoy a nice breakfast at Denver Biscuit Company. Later in the day, we’re headed to Jalan Spa in Uptown, where it’s a beautiful place for our self-care routines, I’m on a budget this week, so I’ll stick to the 30-minute facial for $35. As for lunch, I’d take my friend over to Pho Duy to enjoy a nice bowl of pho. As we rest our bellies, I’d have my friend stop to visit Victoria and Patrick for a cup of Boba at TeaStreet. Then we’d head over to Cherry Creek State Park to walk and enjoy the area. For dinner, we’d head over to my favorite family restaurant, Golden Saigon, where Van and her family would dish out some pretty great dishes, like Vietnamese Hot Pot. Day 3: We’re heading to Colorado Springs to enjoy the Garden of the Gods. However, along the way, we’re going to grab a light breakfast burrito from Santiago’s. After our day hike in Colorado Springs, we’d head over to Edelweiss German Restaurant and enjoy a schnitzel or two. Once we’re finished with our late lunch, I would have my friend take a break at home. Too much altitude can wear someone out. For our late dinner, we would head over to Crawling Crab for hands-on seafood boil. Day 4: Today will be our rest day, I would schedule my friend in for an acupuncture treatment at Bodhi Treatment Center, after that they would be very rested for the drive to Glenwood Springs tomorrow. For dinner, we would just get Mexican food from Casa Gutierrez where we could indulge on a Mocaljete. Day 5: I am driving my friend down to Glenwood Springs, along the way, we’ll visit the neighboring towns. Of course, stopping at The Argentos Empanadas and More in Silverthorne, Colorado. While in Glenwood Springs, I am definitely having my friend walk through Hotel Colorado to experience the historical background that this hotel has to offer. At night, I am taking my friend to one of my favorite steakhouses in Colorado. Juicy Lucy’s steakhouse. When we’re done, I will have them look into the sky and see one of the starry nights that is hard to experience in the city. Day 6: What’s a visit to Glenwood Springs without a visit to hike Hanging Lake, after Hanging Lake, we’d grab a quick lunch at Glenwood Canyon Brewpub. Then we’d drive up to Aspen, Colorado to visit the scenic Maroon Bells. After Maroon Bells, I would take my friend into Aspen to find Kai Guetta’s artwork on the Elk building. Once we had a long day from that, I would pay a visit to Mogli Cooper and Company’s Iron Mountain Hot Springs to relax our muscles and soak up the view. For dinner, I would pay a visit to Slope & Hash for some delicious tacos. Day 7: This is the manic drive to the airport where we safely avoid crazy drivers on I-70. Of course, we would stop in Idaho Springs to get my friend a quick Beau Jo’s mountain pie for the road. Hopefully I gave my friend enough time to enjoy Root Down at the Denver International Airport.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout for where my success and constant support comes from is my mischievous Mom and my second-mom Mary H. My mom, who immigrated to the United States with $120 in her pocket, and only a 7th grade level education, was able to find her American dream. Starting with working in a true sweatshop in Los Angeles in 1980, making $1.20 per hour to owning her own restaurant. A restaurant where she served food from her heart, everything was made from scratch, and she never believed in buying pre-made sauces. She wanted her customers to have a great experience without cutting corners to make profit. My mom never once gave up when times were hard. She worked very hard to give her children the education she never had, and always pushed us to be better than her. My mother has always been my business manager throughout life, she calculates all the risks and opportunities for me. But more so, she constantly reminds me to never forget my roots and my culture. Although business and succeeding is important; however, family and friends are the utmost priority in finding happiness. She prioritizes celebrating Chinese, Thai, and Western holidays as a form of self-care. That’s why I mentioned mischievous. My mom’s belief is that laughter and happiness can be better than any medicine invented. Reminding myself to carry on my mother’s sense of humor and humbleness, I try to use that in my practice for my patients. My mom is like my Asian Betty White. The second shoutout goes to my second mom, Mary H. I worked with Mary at a renowned airline, where she was my supervisor. At first, I thought Mary disliked me, but that didn’t stop me, so I did my best to prove her wrong. When all along, we were actually great friends. The serious side of Mary had taught me to have strong work ethics, and she made me believe that I was able to work whatever position I had my mind set to. Mary saw the potential in me that I didn’t see in myself. I was just becoming another corporate soldier, doing the most mundane activities and just “working.” Mary kept insisting there were better options for me outside of our fish bowl. I ignored those encouraging words because I didn’t believe in myself. Until 2015, I had my own epiphany with why I felt stuck in my life. I decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in Chinese Medicine. Even though the deadline was five days away, I needed a recommendation letter. When I called Mary up, she didn’t even hesitate to say yes. She had a letter submitted to the school within two days. Overall, my greatest happiness was to be able to walk across the stage at my graduation and to tell these women who believed in me, that “I did it.” These two ladies believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and to this day, they are still supportive and challenging me to do greater….lovingly of course.
Please credit this up and coming bada$$ photographer who quit Dental Assisting to try her art out, during COVID: Alexis Genevieve Maestas