Today we’d like to introduce you to Serena Moss.
Serena, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Born in Panama and raised in Miami, I never imagined practicing acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in Niwot, Colorado. After many defining years working with and raising primates, followed by bouts of bartending, waitressing and a brief stint in marine biology, my colorful path led me to Chinese Medicine. On a lifelong quest to find my dream job, I regularly referred to a list of must-haves. Would this path be joyful? Would it be intellectually stimulating? Would I be of service? Could it improve the current healthcare system? Is it science-y? Would I be able to balance work and family should I so choose? I took the plunge and promptly enrolled in acupuncture school when I realized that this field checked all of the boxes. Did it matter that I got lightheaded at the sight of a needle and had never yet received acupuncture? Luckily not, as I dug in my heels and paved a path from the bulleted list to my dream job, jumping one hurdle at a time.
In an effort to integrate the surrounding environment and lifestyle with my studies, after year one I drove cross-country from Miami to Boulder in my beloved Honda Element, Marley. I transferred to Southwest Acupuncture College and worked at Chautauqua Apothecary, fully immersing myself in this academic experience as I met amazing teachers and practitioners eager to support my growth. I fell in love with the smell of raw Chinese herbs at the apothecary and got a glimpse of what a thriving practice looked like as I observed the senior practitioners diligently care for their patients in what felt like a superhuman healing space.
Toward the end of our 4-year academic marathon, a few other students and I took advantage of a rare opportunity to visit traditional Chinese medicine hospitals for a month in Harbin, China, near the Russian border. Words cannot describe this enchanting city, the street fashion, people, practices, food or cultural warmth. Harbin is forever imprinted in our hearts. While visiting the hospitals daily to observe doctors perform rounds in the pediatric, dermatology, oncology, stroke and gynecology wards, our student brains glowed with fascination as we witnessed practices so different than ours at the student clinic in Boulder. With heavy hearts and expanded minds, we bid farewell to the Ice City and headed home to prepare for graduation.
Our return to Boulder in September 2013 was bittersweet as we witnessed a city newly devastated by floods. Like a domino effect, a month later I sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, unexpectedly detouring me from creating an acupuncture practice after graduation. The following years of recovery were long and lonely but equally transformative as they cultivated in me seeds of humility and a deeper understanding of the powers of Chinese medicine as I depended on it for daily healing. Ultimately braced for the next chapter, I tackled my four national board exams and received my certifications and acupuncture license. Time to get creative!
Most of the advice I was given during and after school was to either join an established acupuncture practice or move away, where I could find a less saturated market. Luckily my stubborn nature, or “strong will” as my friend Sandra Ma lovingly calls it, led me to revisit my original plan to create an acupuncture practice. Sure, I might fail, but why not at least give it my best shot? Looking for local office space, I discovered Lindsay Sworski, the magical, fantastic human who created the Boulder Healing Hub. She watered plants and gracefully gave me a tour of the building while encouraging me to follow my dream. I created Serena Moss Acupuncture PLLC and began seeing my first patients at the Hub a few weeks later.
While floating on this magical new cloud, I was simultaneously moving into a new home in Niwot with my boyfriend Ryan, his son Archie and our dog Rooster. As we wandered around or wee new town, we discovered the Niwot Inn and Spa, a hand- crafted gem owned and run by the dynamic duo, Cornelia and Carissa. Shortly after, I was offering acupuncture treatments to their guests and my local patients. I would travel daily for work between Boulder and Niwot, season after season, equipped with my tools and a grateful heart.
Then, Covid happened. We all stopped and waited behind closed doors, hoping for a shred of guidance. As time progressed and the shock diluted a bit, I realized that my nomadic acupuncture practice would need some reformation in order to adapt to this new world. That’s when my practice moved to my home! Surrounded by herbs, tools, cupping sets, e-stim machines, moxibustion, heat lamps, an Air Doctor purifier, my Tui Na stool, Chinese medicine books, Chinese scrolls, and a schedule that allows for a thorough sanitizing routine between appointments, I feel equipped and ready to practice.
My patients are my greatest inspiration, working with me to explore health from many angles. They are brave, dedicated, curious and consistent. I am grateful to be part of their journeys. The beauty of this medicine is how it uses your body’s intelligence to balance itself. Not one person walking the earth is perfectly balanced. Refreshing, isn’t it? We all carry layers of imbalance which can be accessed through channels, networks and systems throughout the body using herbal medicine and acupuncture. My love and respect for this ancient art form has grown exponentially.
As I reflect on the journey, I realize that I would not be here without my family, friends, teachers, and partner. Nor would I have predicted that my life hurdles and perceived weakest links would become the strongest tools in my practitioner toolbox. Allergies, thyroid conditions, chemical sensitivities, seizures, divorce, multiple moves, a traumatic brain injury and my highly sensitive nature would not in fact be limiting factors. Life is the journey. After all, are we not all kintsugi pots rebuilding our broken bits with gold dust?
We’d love to hear more about your practice.
Serena Moss Acupuncture is independently owned and operated. I take care of every aspect of the business, which keeps it simple. Most of my sessions include Tui Na manual therapy, a branch of Traditional Chinese medicine that has been used for over 5,000 years in China. This type of massage relaxes and energizes the mind and body with the clothing on and works along the acupuncture meridians to address a specific problem. Tui Na alleviates a range of imbalances, including, but not limited to, digestive disorders, insomnia, anxiety, pain, skeletal, muscular, and joint issues.
I spend the entire session with one patient, combining Tui Na, cupping, e-stim, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine as needed. I follow up with each patient after treatments and am readily available for any questions that may arise. My patients respond well to the level of personal care they receive.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment was the day I started Serena Moss Acupuncture PLLC. I was ready to begin the creative, meaningful part of the journey.
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Tiffany Hoffman (personal photo), unknown (photo in China/lab coats), Serena Moss (all others)