Q&A With Julie Bear Don’t Walk

Find out what to expect during a visit with a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.

| Winter 2018

  • “Living in harmony with the energy of the seasons is the foundation of health.”
    Photo by Nicolette Sessin
  • Goji berries (Gou Qi Zi)
    Photo courtesy of Adobestock / Kitsananan Kuna
  • Editor Jean Denney sits down with acupuncturist Julie Bear Don’t Walk, L.Ac, to learn what a typical visit to an acupuncturist is like and why so many patients leave with a prescription or Chinese herbs.
    Photo by Christine Schneider
  • “When patients first come in, we will discuss their top three health goals and identify their landscape.”
    Photo by Nicolette Sessin
  • Julie Bear Don’t Walk talks about her work with acupuncture.
    Photo by Nicolette Sessin
  • Magnolia bark (Hou Po)
    Photo courtesy of Marilyn Barbone
  • Mung bean (Lu Dou)
    Photo courtesy of Adobestock / Dream79
  • “We’ll do acupuncture—typically on a weekly basis—but in between that, the herbs do the heavy lifting.”
    Photo by Nicolette Sessin
  • "The body is smart and it wants to be healthy; it wants to be balanced. Herbs and acupuncture just remind the body how to accomplish that."
    Photo by Nicolette Sessin

Since 1986, I’ve used acupuncture as my main source of health care. Despite the many practitioners I’ve seen, and conditions for which I sought treatment, I understand that each practice is unique. Still, I have found acupuncture helpful. When I moved to Kansas, I met Julie Bear Don’t Walk, an acupuncturist based in Lawrence, Kansas. Julie received her master’s degree from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Chicago. When Julie was younger, she sought Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for PMS, anxiety and depression, and had profound results with both acupuncture and herbal medicines.

Julie’s last name, Bear Don’t Walk, comes from her husband, Scott Bear Don’t Walk. Scott is a member of the Crow Tribe of Montana and is a descendent of the Salish and Chippewa Cree. His name represents sacred healing and lifelong well-being, which is believed to be embodied by bears. By taking this name, Julie has accepted the responsibility that comes with partnering with people to find a path toward health.

I sat and chatted with Julie about her practice, herbs, and what a typical patient might anticipate during a visit with a TCM practitioner. –Jean Denney


Q. As one of your patients, I know that a feature of your practice is herbs. What is the efficacy of herbs in conjunction with acupuncture, and why do you use both?



A. First, the term TCM is a comprehensive holder, and acupuncture is one piece of Chinese medicine. I am equally trained in Chinese herbs as I am (in) acupuncture. So, Chinese herbs play a huge role in the holistic health picture of Chinese medicine. The way I describe it to my patients: We’ll do acupuncture – typically on a weekly basis – but in between that, the herbs do the heavy lifting. I also see some patients who only (use) herbs. They don’t do acupuncture. Some people are afraid of needles. We can get a lot done with Chinese herbs, particularly with an emphasis on internal disorders...for pain and in terms of regulating the cycles of life, regulating hormonal cycles for men and women, regulating digestion, getting to the root of why certain muscles tighten, and giving the body the substance it needs via Chinese herbs to create a new pattern of health.

Q. How often do you prescribe Chinese herbs?



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