Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Stone.
Nicole, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was introduced to acupuncture and herbal medicine at age 19. At the time I was working on getting my associates degree at Palomar College and was having issues with chronic neck pain and tension headaches. A friend referred me to a gentleman who was a massage therapist, practiced acupressure and Western herbology. After 2 treatments my pain and headaches were dramatically reduced and I continued to go for follow up maintenance appointments 2 times per month over the next few months. He also helped me get on a better path with my nutrition and develop a routine of stretching and regular self-care. At 19 I didn’t really understand self-care. I just went to school, studied and went to work. I ate what sounded good and exercised when I had time in my busy work/school schedule.
After a few months of treatment I was invited by my new healer, John Davidson to start taking his martial arts class on the weekends. A few months later I was again invited to join a private class he taught once a week on the topics of Chinese medicine, nutrition and meditation. I studied martial arts and Chinese medicine with John for a year and half until I finished my associates and was ready to transfer into a State college and start working towards my bachelors.
I was still indecisive as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I knew I loved working with kids, enjoyed teaching, art and thought about nursing. But none of those seemed to excite me enough to go be a teacher or become a nurse. Finally, one day as I sat with John, talking about my future and my despair of “what do I do next?!” he just looked at me and said, “You’re going to be an acupuncturist”. I remember just looking at him, confused. I loved holistic medicine, I love learning about it and practicing what I learned with friends and family, but I never once thought about it as a career. At 19 and 20 it just seemed like an extracurricular hobby that I really enjoyed. I had learned Chinese medicine theory, five elements and about acupuncture meridians and Qi (chee) from studying with John, but I had not ever used acupuncture needles and had only had one treatment with acupuncture before. I had no idea what was involved in the training. I just remember in that moment thinking, “Well, I guess I could move to China for a few years.” John laughed and said, “No, you only have to go as far as Mission Valley. Go take a tour of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM).”
The next day, I had an interview at PCOM. I got the opportunity to chat with the admissions person and learn about the 3 1/2 year program which would include classes that complete a Bachelor’s and I would finish the program with a Master’s of Science of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Then we toured the school and the moment I walked into the clinic and met the supervising instructors and saw the herbology room where they make up all the herbal supplements for teas I was sold. A little voice in my head said, “THIS IS IT! This is where you are supposed to be.”
For the next 4 years I learned & studied Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, massage, Chinese herbology, and nutrition and I had John as a great mentor outside of school.
Once I finished school I decided to take a year off to heal my body and to travel. I knew that once I opened a practice it was going to be a full-time job and there wouldn’t be much time for travel. So I took off for Australia with a 4 month work visa, was able to extend that visa and came home with an Irish husband 1 year later.
My body and mind had a chance to relax over that year and I was now ready and excited to start practicing. For the first 5 years I rented space out of other wellness centers. I used that time to build my practice and learn from other business owners how to effectively and efficiently run a successful business. During that time I also had a beautiful daughter.
In 2006 the opportunity came up for me to rent my own space in Point Loma. That is when I opened Remember to Breathe Health Center. We had 2 treatment rooms, it was myself and massage therapist, Vanessa Raming who rented space for her business within Remember to Breathe. I hired an amazing business coach, Aaron Keith, who I worked with for the first 5 years and with his help and my excitement for sharing Acupuncture and Chinese medicine with everyone I quickly built a successful practice through the years.
I have been lucky to have such a great support system (family, friends, and coaches) around me the past 17 years. It is a lot of work being self-employed and raising child by yourself (my husband and I divorced shortly after I opened Remember to Breathe). It takes an amazing support team and determination I guess. Once we hit our 10 year mark I remember people saying, “Wow, you did it! Your business made it 10 years, that’s great!” My thought is always, “Was that ever not an option?” I never saw this not working. Even when life got emotionally and financially difficult while going through divorce. I never thought, “This is too hard, I can’t do this”, I remember thinking at times, “This moment really sucks! But it will get better, I know it!” Thankfully I am in a career doing something I REALLY LOVE, because it has gotten better and I work with amazing people in the community every day.
This May, 2017 I had the opportunity to expand my practice to a larger location in Pacific Beach. I now have 2 acupuncture treatment rooms and a new Massage therapist (Jill Reimer) in the third treatment room. I will also be starting up Community Acupuncture Days again in October. At the moment these will run twice a month and are acupuncture treatment sessions set up in a group-style setting as opposed to having your own private room. I
I continue to work with families, treating adults and children. The majority of my patients are female, I work with a lot of women on gynecological issues and fertility. I also treat a large amount of musculo-skeletal issues such as chronic neck and back pain, healing of injuries, pre and post-surgery.
What I have learned through my 17 years of being in practice on my own now is that in the end I do have the exact career I have always wanted that encompasses all my interests. I still work with kids providing pediatric acupressure & acupuncture treatments, I teach classes and workshops throughout the year, I get to help make a difference in people’s health every day and being self-employed you can see my creativity everywhere throughout the office.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My biggest struggle came shortly after I opened my own business Remember to Breathe. 6 months after opening I went through a divorce, our daughter was 2 1/2 and we found out we were pregnant with a new baby. It was scary to lose that financial support from my husband as I was building a new business and at the same time still learning how to run a new business all on my own. Along with raising a 2 year old and being pregnant with a new baby who we found out 2 months into pregnancy had a lot of health issues.
This is when I decided I needed to start creating a support team around me to help me get through all of this. I had a wonderful therapist to help me talk through the divorce issues and my struggles of raising our daughter (who was in my care a majority of the time the first 2 years) along with trying to work full-time and manage a divorce that took 1.5 years.
This is also when I chose to hire a business coach for the support I needed around building and maintaining the business during this time.
Sadly our second baby passed shortly after he was born. Again, I was lucky to have a large support team of friends & family who all offered help in any way they could and with our now 3 year old daughter Neela.
Please tell us about Remember to Breathe Health Center.
I would say I specialize in women’s health. About 80% of my patients are women and I work with them on all issues of gynecology from regulating menstrual cycles, alleviating PMS, helping with fertility, healthy pregnancy and menopause issues. I also treat kids in my practice from new born to teen. I use mostly acupressure (massage of pressure points), herbs and nutritional counseling. When kids are ready (between ages 6-10 usually) I will start introducing them to acupuncture needles for their treatment. It is a very gentle treatment and they usually don’t feel any of the needles.
I feel I am most known for the work I have done in women’s health. I get a lot of referrals from my regular female patients who send in their friends who are suffering from horrible PMS, hormonal headaches/migraines, insomnia and infertility. I have also had great success in helping my pregnant patients get labor activated with acupuncture once they are past their due date and are looking to naturally induce labor as opposed to starting on Pitocin in the hospital. These families then bring their children in for treatment when they have issues of indigestion/colic as babies, allergies, colds, coughs, etc.
Having the option of private acupuncture appointments and community acupuncture makes a difference for many people. Not everyone can afford private sessions, but really need and benefit from acupuncture. This is why I am excited to be able to provide community acupuncture treatments at least twice a month, it helps people maintain their health within their budget.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I probably would hire a business coach day 1. I learned so much from him. We didn’t get much education in school on how to run a business. I knew I was a great acupuncturist and I was organized and motivated to run a business, but he gave me some great tools that saved me tons of money and really made business so much easier.
- Private Practice Acupuncture Treatments: $120 for 1 hour, $60 for 1/2 hour follow up treatment
- Community Acupuncture Treatments: $20 for 1/2 hour in a Group-Style setting
- Since I do not bill insurance I do provide a sliding scale for my Private Acupuncture Appointment. I go over this with patients at their first appointment.
- Pediatric Acupressure appointment $45 for 20-30 minute treatment
- Cupping $60 for 1/2 hour treatment
- Address: 2204 Garnet Ave.
San Diego, CA 92109
- Website: www.RememberToBreatheCenter.com
- Phone: 858-291-8581
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: RemembertoBreatheHealthCenter
- Facebook: RemembertoBreatheHealthCenter
- Yelp: Remember to Breathe Health Center