Episode 15

Published on:

25th Apr 2023

Healing Breakthrough: The Synergy of Chinese Medicine, Coaching, and Open-Heart Surgery Recovery

#15 Boots interviews Erin Borbet, a acupuncturist and coach, to highlight the role Erin's acupuncture and coaching has played in Boots's recovery from heart surgery. There are so many important lessons in this episode. Boots shares about working through the emotional components of heart surgery with Erin. It's an important listen.

Erin is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Board Certified in Chinese Herbal Medicine, a DONA Trained Labor Doula, Certified Nosara Yoga Instructor, Intuitive Life Coach and eternal student of the healing arts.

Erin helps her clients unlock their vibrant health potential using acupuncture, custom botanicals, constitutional nutrition, stress management tools, distance energy healing and intuitive life coaching. She works in-person with clients at her clinical practice in Victor, Idaho and remotely with clients all over the world.

She uses her fifteen+ years of clinical experience to provide her clients with a comprehensive holistic health strategy specific to individual needs and goals, and always in alignment with other care providers. It is her belief that true and lasting healing must integrate emotional and spiritual aspects, which she addresses via consistent communication (by phone, in person and email).

Erin currently lives in a small town in the Teton Mountains outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming with her husband and three children. The best way to get in touch with her is via email, or book an appointment online via her website (https://acusimple.com/access/4098/#/appointments/).

1:00 About acupuncuture and herbal medicine

3:20 Nutrition and Chinese medicine

4:10 Erin's approach to a new acupuncture client

7:00 Tongue diagnosis

8:30 Pulse diagnosis

10:00 Heart specific acupuncture

13:40 Boots stress's the importance of acupuncture post open-heart surgery

15:00 Erin stresses the importance of practitioners meeting the client where they are on a given day

16:30 Points around the sternum scar (Window of the Sky kidney points) and the impact those points have had on Boots

20:00 How shifting your thinking can be a miracle

21:00 Boots reflects on her time working with Erin as a heart patient and Erin reflects as a practitioner

23:00 It's a journey for heart patients

24:50 When Erin asked Boots "What does healing look like to you?"

27:25 Erin describes watching Boots grieve her heart and come to radical acceptance of what is

28:30 Dealing with anger around heart surgery

30:00 The benefits of releasing energy and how it impacts real life

31:30 How to find an acupuncturist near you.

34:00 Acupuncture should not be painful!

36:00 Erin's coaching practice

Website: The Heart Chamber (theheartchamberpodcast.com)

Transcript: Joyful Beat | The Heart Chamber (theheartchamberpodcast.com)

The Heart Chamber (@theheartchamberpodcast)

Thanks to Michael Moeri for being my right hand man. Michael Moeri - Audio Editor, Podcast Producer and Marketing Director


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Boots Knighton: [:

boots Knighton.

Today on the program I interview Aaron Bbe. Aaron is a licensed acupuncturist board certified in Chinese herbal medicine, as well as a trained labor doula, certified yoga instructor and intuitive life coach. Erin helps her clients unlock their vibrant health potential using acupuncture, custom botanicals, constitutional nutrition, stress management tools.

his episode, and I encourage [:

To think about using acupuncture in your life no matter what you have going on, it is an amazing tool. If you like this episode, I'd appreciate it if you would share it with others. I'd also really appreciate it if you'd leave a review that truly matters. You can find me on Instagram at the Heart Chamber Podcast or at www the heart chamber podcast.com.

I'd love to hear from you. Do you have a story you wanna share? You can contact me there on the website or leave me a voicemail as. . So let's get to Erin and i's interview. Thanks again for listening today.

Shall we, blast off up to 50,000 feet and start at the top?

d, an entire system medicine [:

Or the. Disease or illness can occur. and then it's various forms of treatment. healing jour which uses, energy center points that are along energy pathways called meridians on the body to affect change in the system, ideally balancing the energy in these meridians and therefore throughout the body and affecting symptom resolution.

healing journey, or a whole. [:

So sometimes we'll pull on those and sometimes we'll create something, you know, totally unique and new. nutrition is another important arm of Chinese medicine treatment principles and using the energetics of food, which is very different than like how we often in Western. of food as like energy or in calories.

Or in nutrients. This is more of an energetic, view of food. So what adds warmth to the body? What adds cold to the body? What amplifies digestion, which sedates digestion. And those are different than like we might think of, in the way, you we, we've learned about food and then there's Qigong practices movement practice.

se medicine, umbrella. Those [:

Boots Knighton: Wow. Okay. That's, that's a lot. And. when you are treating a, a client, like what is your, approach? Like what is would be the acupuncturist standard approach or your specifically approach to a new client? Like how do you know where to begin with all of that? Because I have done all of that and I know all of it is important, but you can.

Like, it's overwhelming. You are right. And if you're on a healing journey such as heart surgery, it, you know, it's like how do you know where to begin? Like what is the most important is there like a order of operations with Chinese medicine?

aybe herbs as like our first [:

if I'm seeing a client in person in my clinical practice, acupunc. Almost always the first, you know, tool that I'll turn to and see their response. so like when I'm working with somebody that I've never met before, I don't know anything about their pattern or their, what's going on with them. chat.

That's our first, our first like, Interaction is really getting the lay of the land. What are they experiencing? What are they feeling? What's coming up for them? Emotionally, physically, spiritually, we kind of try to touch on all the areas. then from a Chinese medicine perspective, I'll also use pulse diagnosis.

y, what their constitutional [:

So two people might come to me, you know, with heart palpitations, let's say, and have very. pulse, you know, affect different things that we look for in their system, and I would treat them very differently.

based on the findings. We're not, we're not just treating heart palpitations with the heart palpitation formula and the heart palpitation, acupuncture points.

really trying to find, okay, this person is presenting with this. How do we work with that? But what's the first domino that'll really support them in alleviating. , you know, the discomfort that brings them in if we can, or supporting the healing and resolution of that. and we have to address that root cause.

ways feels my, my pulses and [:

Like what? what do you normally see in a tongue? Like what are some of the telltale signs of heart stuff? Verse and the pulses.

Erin Borbet: So with the tongue, tongue is less likely to change quickly. It's more, it can

I've definitely seen tongues, you know, change as people, you know, resolve, certain things that may be going on in their systems. But it's not gonna like, you know, change week to week. But I'll often look at it just to refresh my, my.

ndicate an imbalance in that [:

then we kind of put it together as to like what's going on in the different areas.

And the very tip of

Boots Knighton: Hmm

Erin Borbet: like [:

Boots Knighton: Mm-hmm.

Wow. That is amazing. And of course the silly side of me is like, wow, this woman has chosen to look at people's tongues. for a living. Like I find that kind of gross, but it's really helpful and it does tell you a lot. no telling how much stuck food you see in teeth, uh, throughout the day. , but good for you,

ur teeth just for, you know, [:

Something I have really been intrigued by, uh, one =point in particular, and help me with the wording of this, let's, let's now zoom in to like heart specific acupuncture, right? So using me as the example, oftentimes since my heart surgery, I've been coming in and I, and again, please help me with the wording, have been breach as we say, or flipped.

And I wanna start there with how you've been helping me, because I feel like that has been the. , important acupuncture point you've been working on, unless maybe I'm missing something and then let's go from there. So breach

Erin Borbet: Which

I will say term that you have


I've, I've never. I quite heard that the balance that I come up with,

Boots Knighton: well

Erin Borbet: Preach until You, I love it. And now I use it in


ctually like the, the pulses [:

That then all have their own kind of unique, know, medicine so to say. So my training is in traditional Chinese medicine, tcm. And then, you know, I've had like little, exposure courses to Japanese and Korean and five elements. Those are the main ones. There's a few others.

so this is one that comes from five element lineage of acupuncture.

e robust and strong than the [:

They don't feel like themselves, like things aren't clicking that well. it's rare that I've ever had this come up with somebody and they're not like, feeling like themselves. There's usually something kind of that's going along with it. so we'll do series of points to help. Flip this back around so that then we can work with the systems in their natural flowing state or their ideal natural flowing state.

ittle toe, which we also use [:

So I think that's where you and

up with The breach term, it hasn't overlapped there. it's not the most fun point to receive, but it does affect. Pretty significant transformation. try to do it, Jim.

Boots Knighton: What? Yeah. And it's amazing when I have been flipped upside down out of outta whack and balanced , I, I do walk outta your office feeling like a whole new person. And I think that's one of the many reasons why I feel so strongly about bringing you to my listeners, cuz. , I can't imagine not having you in my life.

rapy. We need cardiac rehab. [:

I just don't think it's common practice for heart, pa heart patients to hear, hey, acupuncture is actually a really incredibly important part component of, of healing well from sur, from open heart surgery or any heart procedure or any heart issue. Right? And I just think like, oh my gosh, if I were walking around with.

Imbalance being breached. Like what a bummer that would be. Right. And so you start there with me and let's talk a little bit more about all the other points. Like, I think of like the points you put on my chest, around my, my scar. Those have been really important. and then on my shins, like there's been so many and then obviously my ups and downs emotionally through this whole process.

through some of those other [:

Erin Borbet: Yeah. Um, definitely. And I also just wanna say,

Boots Knighton: Mm-hmm

Erin Borbet: quick. Um, as a practitioner, you know, it's really important to like, meet people, for me, to meet people where they're at and how they're coming in. So, you know, when you come in and you're not feeling like yourself and your pulses are flipped, like it's so important that that's where we start, you know, and, and work with you there.

and, and may affect those more long-term changes, but based on how you're presenting and coming in, even though that might not be the treatment per se for like, you know, whatever overarching heart condition that you're walking in with. That might not be the first thing at the top of the list we're gonna do, but we're gonna do what your system is craving and what your system needs so that it can then organize, itself to meet your own

Boots Knighton: Mm-hmm

Erin Borbet: own body.

Boots Knighton: Well Mm-hmm.

of my favorite things about [:

you know, like when we do the points specifically around your scar, they're kind of going, lateral to the sternum and in between the rib points and those are all kidney points. And so yes, by gently doing some acupuncture there, we're invigorating. We're hopefully gonna help tissue healing and scar tissue healing and all of that.

own inspiration and our own [:

I just think that's so cool that we get those, like double benefits from points like that. do you have any, is

Yes. It's hard and it can be [:

You can look at it from like a victim mindset, which I think is appropriate at one point or another. Like you have to go through like the grieving that is appropriate, like. It sucks, it hurts , but then you have a choice to like pick yourself up and turn it into something really, you know, amazing and rad and I have found that the acupuncture piece has to use that, that term window of the sky.

therapist and the two of you [:

the fact that I didn't have the heart I thought I had, but hey, let's let's look at this from a different way. And so I think that's a good, like, segue into your amazing coaching that I receive every session I come to with you of looking through this window with more expansive thinking instead of retractive thinking.

Erin Borbet: Yeah. you said it perfectly, but yes. And again, I would reiterate also meeting that comes down to meeting people where they're at too. Cuz sometimes, In my case as a coach, it is about holding space for the grief, right? And being with

it's not always about shifting perspective in that moment.

ndering into it a little bit [:


Boots Knighton: And you are really good at that. Like you've never said, Hey, try thinking this way. You have a gentle approach asking questions and. and then it just, I don't know, it's just always magic with you and I, it's, I don't know how else to describe it. I, I have called you a witch before, a magician, all that of course with like so much love and respect.

it really is, [:

Because I, I kind of don't like I, it seems so long ago. versus now,

Erin Borbet: Hmm. Yeah, that's a good question. I might, I mean, yeah, it's been, how long have together? Pretty two

Boots Knighton: almost. Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Erin Borbet: like that. Yeah. yeah. And so, again, like I. I really my darnedest not to have an agenda from my clients. Right? Like a oh, if you are not here you know, by this time then we're not having any effect.

s important to if the client [:

You know, getting, you know, closer to that, you know, crystal on the inside. So, I don't quite know how to answer it,

I guess

Boots Knighton: Hmm. so you more see your practice than a, as a journey instead of a destination like it's.


Erin Borbet: yes. A hundred percent journey rather than, because I, I also believe like, you know, maybe certain individuals who can achieve very high levels of enlightenment, but we're never gonna really

Boots Knighton: Mm-hmm

Erin Borbet: [:

And so as long as we're continuing, especially for, I guess like for you as a heart patient, is very different than maybe. Somebody who comes in with like migraines, right? And they have no, structural or anatomical reason for the migraines yet they still have migraines. And then our goal is going to be to try to resolve the migraines, right? And get them to go away and then have them move on and come back for acupuncture and herbs.

You know, if their migraines come back one day or they start to, they start to do that, but like, as a heart patient, especially an open heart surgery patient, like the destination isn't so clear. Like, like, where's the end? Like, are we just trying to like move past shortness of breath or move past, you know, heart pain or move past incision pain or, know, what's, it's almost like moving targets that we're

doing Does [:

Boots Knighton: 100%.

Erin Borbet: so there's still that overarching holding of like a life without, discomfort related to heart condition, but it's so much more nuanced than just like a, a simple, I should say, headache or whatever,

know, but like the. Change. And even the certain like testing changes the information that we think we know changes other treatment approaches with the other practitioners, you're doing change.

And so we're kind of, least speaking my, in my experience with you since you encouraged me to do that,

that's I guess where I where I see it, if that makes sense.

ss for words with you. And I [:

Initially after heart surgery, I just wanted to get back to my old self, which was teaching. I was a ski instructor. You know, mountain biked and like to be out in the mountains all day. I did not sit still, but heart surgery changed me in every way you can think of physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and.

when you asked me the question, I just knew in my heart of hearts, pun totally intended that I had not really given it full wholehearted self consideration. And no one had asked me that, and no one had even approached me about that in the hospital. And You're right like there, there just can't be a destination with this.

or one, like wanna go all in [:

really explore all the cr, you know, the darkest corners of my life and shine light and try to make my life as amazing as possible. that works for me. Other people just might wanna be able to go back to work, and that's fine too. Like, we need all kinds of people doing all kinds of things.

and for me, like I think that, , I'm just not done yet. I know I'm not done yet with this. And I, for one, one small ask I have of this whole journey is I just wanna get through a day where I don't have to think about my heart.

Erin Borbet: Mm-hmm.

consider it all day and I'm [:

But I do wanna get to the point where the two of us can be on autopilot and just be in rhythm again with each other I am with my spleen and everything else.

Erin Borbet: Hmm. I love that. Yeah. I think that's a beautiful engine. That's beautiful. And I will say one thing that kind of came to mind as you were chatting is like, Witnessing you over the past however long, 18 months, two years, like really to to. what is versus attachment to what you think it should be.

kay, how am I gonna dance? . [:

And wanna honor what is so, where is the balance point between those two in this moment? And finding a little bit of peace is really

Boots Knighton: Thank you and.

Erin Borbet: And I know that's effort on

Boots Knighton: Oh, well, I was gonna say, I did it kicking and screaming. I mean, I'm not proud of that part. I might have sworn some in your office.

Erin Borbet: it is all welcome, always.

Boots Knighton: mean, talk about grieving and my, my version of grieving is I get really angry , so, you know, that's, that's my version of crying. . Yeah. But yeah, you're right. ult, it's the ultimate surrender is surrendering to the ego.

Erin Borbet: for sure.

Boots Knighton: points did you use for that , because I know you had to pin me to the table for that one.

Erin Borbet: It probably depends a little bit on exactly the, flavor of anger of that moment because there's


Boots Knighton: Oh yeah, especially

with me

really taught me to embrace [:

Or how do we not have them feel this way because it's. , a beneficial way to feel, but more like, oh, how do we move through this and work with this? How do we meet it where it is? That's been really huge for me. you know, just as somebody who grew up in a house where big emotions weren't always welcome,

it's like, oh, we actually need big emotions to, to get to more balance sometimes. but my guess is we use some liver and gallbladder points to move that energy, and that's. So beautiful to me about acupuncture that we can, the emotional and energy bodies, just freeing them a little bit a moment of heightened emotion so that hopefully it's a little bit easier and more efficient to work with in your system.

it kind of turns the volume [:

Boots Knighton: and you know, I'm thinking of like real life consequences of that. Like, because you free the energy bodies, then I can go back home and be, you know, a more peaceful wife and feel more comfortable in my skin. I don. Overeat sugar. Like I can think of all the different coping mechanisms people go, or coping strategies people use when they do feel overwhelmed.

That doesn't help the, the heart heal. And so I'm just thinking about this from the heart perspective. And I am really good at like, this happened just a few days ago. I had a really hard day and to treat myself, I marched right to Whole Foods and bought a big Tierra Masu and ha ate half of it because, you know, I just had a mammogram and I was like, I had just had my boob squished.

right? . And it's like, but [:

And that's a slightly silly example, but if you do that enough, , build up the weight, then you're not helping your heart. But anyway, that's just a side example. I have two more burning questions for you. Number one is for my listeners, how do they find an effective and helpful acupuncturist, if that's how you would wear it, all that.

Aaron Bbe, but it's Aaron Bbe[:

and so, yeah, how, tell us coach, the listeners on how to find an acupuncturist. Acupuncturist, right. For them.

Erin Borbet: Right. So, depending on where you live, acupuncturists can either be acupuncturists and herbalist. That's what I am, which we call like a full Chinese medicine practitioner certification. And there's a national certifying body, the N C C A O M. , I'd have to double check what all those acronyms stand for.

But it's nccaom.org. And if, the Chinese medicine practitioner keeps their certification with them active, they will be listed on their Find a provider. So that's a good place to look. do not necessarily have to keep your certification active in order to have your license, which. given by the individual states.

ike a good overarching place [:

always, I think, nice to get like a personal of like, oh, I see them, or So and so sees them and really likes them. You know, in addition to just the right credentials, uh, you will, if you've never had acupuncture before, you may need to a few to find the perfect fit, because it is more, because it's not cookie cutter, just like, go get this point prescription and leave.

rying. the common one I hear [:

Anything like torture, be very painful at all. And if it is, you know, and you are very sensitive, that may not be a good fit. You know, everybody has a different needling style. Um, there's very engages of needles. So, you know, if you try it and let's say your experience is painful, would encourage you to continue looking and see if you can find, you know, potentially a gentler for you.

It's, there's a wide expanse. the, and the reverse is true too. I've had, you know, clients look for heavier handed needles, right? Cause they're looking for more of that physical stimulation.

everybody's different, in what works for them. And just one other like kind of. Added for the acupuncture pieces.

ans that we're, that's where [:

Like we don't have to touch, you know, the organs or the heart or deep into even where an incision is. We can do points all down the arm just to activate all the channels in the chest or, you know, all down, you know, the low back and legs to activate all the channels in the back of the chest if we can't do something locally.

So it's such a beautiful way to, know, access the electrical, energetic impulses of the body safely before and after surgery. and it's so gentle and mild that, you know, you can do acupuncture alongside, you know, taking medications or very intense treatment strategies from Western medicine, whatever they might be.

so it [:

Boots Knighton: Oh, that's great to hear. and then lastly, tell me about your coaching. And you've been receiving some amazing training.

Erin Borbet: Mm-hmm. Yes. yeah, I kind of started when I, so when I first left New York City, that's where I had my first private practice for eight years. I out to Idaho, which is where we live now. and move my practice virtually to do herbal consults and kind of wellness And that's kind of where I built my experience working with people remotely.

I personally have had several coaches in my life that have completely changed so many things for me, so I felt really motivated to. Do that work in the world as well. I do have a life coaching certification, so I did do a formal training in that. so I have that piece. I've studied with, several healers.

ens in the acupuncture room. [:

and life coaching to really help people activate their own self-healing and their own self-inquiry and curiosity, into. living a life on their own terms that's activated from their own internal resources. At least that's my goal.

Boots Knighton: which is beautiful, and I have worked with practitioners in the past where it wasn't always on my own terms there is a difference. And when we, we are all meant to be here expressing our best and truest selves for the betterment of all. And I know for me personally, you're helping me get there.

one needle and conversation at a time. Well, thank


Erin Borbet: so

ou, Erin, for letting me, uh,[:

Erin Borbet: Thank you Boots. It's great to be here.

Boots Knighton: And that's our episode for today. Thank you so much for spending a little bit of your day with me. If you enjoyed this podcast, I sure would appreciate if you would go to my website, the heart chamber podcast.com, and make a donation. Also, if you are a fellow heart warrior, I'd love to hear from you.

to leave via voicemail on my [:

Please be sure to come back next Tuesday to the Heart Chamber Podcast for another inspiring episode.


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About the Podcast

Open Heart Surgery with Boots
A podcast for heart patients by a heart patient
Formerly called The Heart Chamber Podcast, Open Heart Surgery with Boots airs every Tuesday for conversations on open-heart surgery from the patient perspective. Boots Knighton explores the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual experiences of surgery with fellow heart patients and health care providers. This podcast aims to help patients feel less overwhelmed so you can get on with living your best life after surgery. You not only deserve to survive open-heart surgery, you deserve to THRIVE!
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