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Meet Trailblazer Diana Horowitz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana Horowitz, Acupuncturist.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Diana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Flashback to the mid-90s in New York City where I was a young yoga teacher, feeling the need to foster healing with my yoga clients on a deeper level. I was researching several therapeutic career paths when my 16-year-old cousin Adam took a 60-foot fall off a cliff. He underwent extensive brain surgery and was in a coma for a month before emerging and re-learning how to walk and talk. Although Western medicine had clearly saved Adam’s life, his immune system crashed once he was released from the hospital. His father took him to see an acupuncturist in their small town in Idaho. A few months of acupuncture and Chinese herbs completely restored his immune system. When I spoke with Adam, he gushed about how much acupuncture had helped him recover. His experience inspired my decision to choose acupuncture as my career path.

After graduating from Tri-State College of Acupuncture in 2003, I moved to Denver with my boyfriend and started my practice out of our tiny rented bungalow in the Highlands neighborhood. Coming from the guarded, driven culture of New York City, I was greatly impressed by the generous and non-competitive nature of other acupuncturists that I encountered. I found a mentor in “Doc” Ron Rosen, a genius acupuncturist who held one of the first acupuncture licenses in Colorado. And I connected into Denver’s community by volunteering at a hospice and serving on the board of the Acupuncture Association of Colorado.

As my practice grew and developed, I began to figure out which areas of expertise felt most satisfying to me. After Doc Rosen suddenly and tragically passed away in 2007, I found a second mentor in Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, an international leader in the field of facial acupuncture. Rosen had also been a practitioner of facial acupuncture, but his style required placing around 40-60 needles in the face, which was quite laborious for the practitioner and too painful and exhausting for patients. In contrast, Wakefield’s style uses far fewer needles, feels incredibly nurturing and relaxing for my patients, and is just as effective as Rosen’s style. I began to assist Wakefield’s seminars in a variety of locations around the US, taking a break to give birth to my amazing daughter in 2010.

For 12 of my 16 years in practice, I was a “one-woman show.” I worked out of my home, at a cooperative until it failed, and at a medispa before moving into A New Spirit Wellness Center four years ago. A New Spirit is a gorgeous, palatial spa featuring an assortment of wellness services including flotation, massage, skin care, ionic foot baths, a salt cave, and a far-infrared sauna. The services at A New Spirit combine beautifully with the acupuncture services that I offer, and I often collaborate with my talented coworkers to help clients de-stress, detoxify and slow down in this crazy world. It’s an amazing place to call my home.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

Acupuncture school was a huge commitment – three and a half years full-time, 2,000 hours of study and clinic, and way more science than I’d bargained for! It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Also, acupuncture schools back then typically did a very poor job of preparing graduates to start their own businesses. I learned about accounting and business development through trial and error. One of my first and most successful campaigns was simply walking around the local business district and offering acupuncture to the shopkeepers. Some of them are still my patients today!

My road to success has been smoothed by finding mentors to guide my journey. Acupuncture is, after all, a lineage-based practice. I highly value the wisdom and knowledge brought by experienced practitioners to the field.

I often struggle with being an actively engaged working mother. I remember coming home from a work trip and feeling sad that my daughter had learned how to ride a bike while I was away. I adore her and want to be the best mother that I can be for her. However, I am also the “parent” of a small business that I love tending to, and I want to nurture my patients just as much as my business. And then there’s another important person to attend to – myself! I try to model optimal self-care for my acupuncture patients, my daughter and myself, while not falling into the trap of perfectionism. For me, that means healthy nutrition, mind-body movements such as yoga and Zumba, maintaining healthy social-emotional connections and getting deep rest.

My advice for young women entering the complementary healthcare profession is to focus on building community in your neighborhood and with your colleagues. Join your local neighborhood business associations and your state and national associations. Donate your services, volunteer at events that best align with your interests. Be in service to your community and your community will support you!

Lastly, decide on your specialty within the first few years of practice. Dive deep and become an expert in that area. You don’t have to only perform that specialty, just uses it as a way to become truly confident and knowledgeable in one area. Complementary medicine is a huge and fascinating field, and there’s a niche for everyone!

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
The specialty that I’m most proud of is holistic skin care, including facial rejuvenation acupuncture and Integrated Acu-Microneedling™. Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is a safe, effective and natural approach for improving muscle tone, brightening your complexion and reducing facial and neck wrinkles while benefiting your general health. It’s a beautiful alternative to botox and fillers that can help you to age gracefully!

In 2012, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take Mary Elizabeth Wakefield’s first International Gold Standard Facial Acupuncture Certification, the most comprehensive certification of its kind in the world. In 2015, I became a teacher of Wakefield’s facial acupuncture system to other acupuncturists. Teaching has brought my understanding of the work to a whole new level because it’s impossible to teach to others what you don’t know yourself. Teaching has raised the bar for me.

Three years ago, I created a two-day integrated microneedling seminar with a colleague and continue to teach this incredible specialty to other acupuncturists. Microneedling is an aesthetic technique that creates channels in the skin with tiny acupuncture needles, increasing product absorption and strengthening, brightening and smoothing the skin. Although cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists believe that they have “invented” microneedling, it has its roots firmly planted in Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine practitioners know that healthy, radiant skin is a reflection of having a balanced internal energy system, so we support the energetics of the whole person — body, mind, and spirit — with acupuncture, tuning fork vibrational therapy and essential oils during the microneedling process.

Specializing in holistic skincare has not prevented me from helping my patients with other needs, such as pain management. I learned in acupuncture school how to release trigger points, or tight knots in the muscle, with acupuncture needles while supporting the entire energetic system. My patients appreciate how trigger point acupuncture helps their muscles lengthen and soften. Releasing trigger points with acupuncture needles is the same technique that is being practiced by Physical Therapists in Colorado under the term “dry needling.” But while PT’s require only about 30 hours of training to practice “dry needling,” I have completed hundreds of hours of training in that technique alone.

At the core of my work is managing stress levels through acupuncture, essential oils, and vibrational sound healing. One of the joys of my profession is that I get to develop long-standing relationships with my patients. I help them relieve physical and emotional pain, boost self-esteem, transform addictions and even conceive children. I choose to treat one person at a time, with customized care and attention.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
Because the majority of acupuncturists in the US are female, I think the challenge lies more in being taken seriously by the Western medical establishment as acupuncture moves into the mainstream. I personally haven’t chosen to work in a hospital or conduct acupuncture research but I can imagine that those areas contain barriers to female leadership.

Contact Info:

  • Address: A New Spirit Wellness Center and Spa
    4840 West 29th Avenue
    Denver, CO 80212
  • Website: www.anewspirit.com
  • Phone: 720-404-9926
  • Email: diana@opalacupuncture.com
  • Facebook: Opal Acupuncture, LLC


Image Credit: April Markley

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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