The Way

A DEDICATED SITE TO LIVING A TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE LIFESTYLE

From Opioid Addiction to Holistic Health Advocate

By Tracey Dwight /

From Opioid Addiction to Holistic Health Advocate

Becca Ur is a Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) student, DAO Labs Wellness Ambassador, model, and holistic health advocate.  Her journey to holistic health may sound familiar to a lot of Americans: feeling unsatisfied with western health options, and dis-serviced by treatment of symptoms as opposed to finding the root of the problem

Spiral to Addiction

At the age of 14, Becca was diagnosed with ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder.  ADD is a chronic condition that can be managed, but not cured. In Becca, ADD makes her feel hyper sensitive to the outside world.  To help manage her symptoms and to help her focus on schoolwork, her doctor prescribed Aderall. A common side effect of this drug is increased heart rate, and Becca experienced that saying it made her feel "like [she] was having a heart attack."  

She was then prescribed Vyvanse, which is a slow release drug. The gradual release of the drug made Becca feel so focused throughout the day she would forget to eat and use the bathroom. She'd be studying and realize she hadn't moved in hours, which was exactly the opposite of what she needed.

Because ADD medications are stimulants, Becca had a hard time sleeping at night and turning her brain off.  She was then prescribed Ambien to help her sleep.

Becca continued her medication regimen until she was involved in a car accident that left her in a lot of pain - for which she was prescribed opioids.  It was shortly after that she realized she had become addicted to the painkillers. She looked in the mirror and thought: "Who am I? This isn't the life I want to live."  In time, she was able to recover from her addiction.

A Leap of Faith into Eastern Medicine

Becca was working 14 hours a day to make rent when she developed tendonitis.  Her workers’ comp plan covered acupuncture, which was her first exposure to eastern medicine. The acupuncturist was, in Becca’s words, a "goddess" - healing with her hands, sitting down to really understand Becca's pain - it was a completely different experience than her previous 10 years as a patient in the American healthcare system.  

acupuncture pain

She asked her acupuncturist about training, and learned about the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, a leading acupuncture and oriental medicine school based San Diego (with satellite campuses in Chicago and New York City) where Becca is now a student.  The next few weeks were a whirlwind: Becca gave her two weeks notice at work, went to orientation at “PCOM”, registered for school on a Friday and went to school on Monday.

Living a Holistic Life

Becca now manages everything from ADD to pain and headaches with eastern medicine.  When she recently broke her tibia, as a recovering addict she was appalled at how often she was offered opioids during her stay at the hospital.  She instead used products like CBD oil and herbs and found relief in acupuncture.

acupuncture broken tibia

Gui Pi Tang, a popular Chinese herbal medicine formula, has been especially effective at helping her work through symptoms of ADD. In Chinese herbal medicine, Gui Pi Tang is a blood mover: it slows down internal processes, helping to make the person feel more in control of one’s surroundings.  

Being in school can be overwhelming, and Becca feels like she's always studying.  She takes Gui Pi Tang daily to help her focus in her studies. By moving the blood more efficiently, it helps get more blood flowing to the brain for optimal functioning and supports the spleen, which is responsible for creating new blood. Long called the “student formula,” Gui Pi Tang supports mental clarity making it the ideal study companion.

So many of us are prescribed one drug, and then another drug to alleviate the side effects due to the first drug, and so on.  Chinese medicine is all about finding the imbalance and treating that at the source. Typically any "side effects" of Chinese medicine tend to be positive, even when multiple symptoms seem unrelated.  Becca is passionate about sharing her story, and hopes it will help others with similar struggles.  You can follow her on Instagram at urdailybecca.

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