LAURA MATHEWS, L.Ac, MAOM

Laura is a licensed acupuncturist and herbal therapist with over 17 yrs experience in healthcare. She is a graduate from Smith College in Northampton, MA and received her Masters in Oriental Medicine from AOMA in Austin, TX.

Laura worked for the American Cancer Society for 7 yrs. Through her work, Laura became painfully aware of the numerous patients who fall through the cracks either because of lack of coverage, lack of commitment from the health care team or lack of resources in the patient’s community.

In 2002, Laura enrolled in school for Traditional Chinese Medicine to become a practitioner, so that she could be part of changing the landscape of healthcare in the U.S. She is dedicated to not only helping cancer patients but anyone dealing with chronic conditions and embraces the Community Acupuncture Model as a means to provide the care many chronic conditions need. After graduation in 2006, she joined forces with Tony Ward & Paul Schwartz out of a dream to make this form of healing accessible to populations that are either under served or those who do not have exposure to Chinese Medicine. By adopting the Community Acupuncture Model, Laura is now able to realize some of her dreams.

Laura has also volunteered as an in-house acupuncturist at the Wright House Wellness Ctr serving patients with HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and Cancer. During her time there she was honored with the Practitioner of the Year Award.

While in school Laura studied Shiatsu, WuShu, Tai Chi & Golden Shield Qi Gong. She continues to further educate herself by studying Japanese Meridian Therapy, Primordial Qi Gong & Calligraphy. In her free time she enjoys painting, dancing flamenco, playing music and playing with her chickens.

TONY WARD, L.Ac, MAOM

Tony is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalists with over 20 years experience helping patients live happier healthier lives. Tony began his career in healthcare as a restorative nursing assistant where he was responsible for carrying out physical and occupational therapy care plans, training healthcare workers in proper body mechanics, as well as repairing, building and sometimes designing assistive devices for elderly and disabled patients. During his 10 years working with the elderly Tony had the opportunity to learn and practice many therapeutic techniques including active muscle release, E-stim and Watsu (water shiatsu) as well as helping start the first in house Nautilus weight lifting program for the elderly in the country. Tony has extensive experience working with mobility and activities of daily life issues as well as many chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, stroke recovery, and hip replacement rehabilitation. Because of his excellence and dedication to the elderly Tony was awarded the Good Samaritan Residents Rights Champion Award and was a National Certified Nursing Assistant Employee of the Year nominee.

After his experience working in the Bio-Medically centered arena of healthcare with its disease based focus and reliance on pharmaceuticals, Tony was inspired to become more involved in the primary care of patients. “It was frustrating watching my patients, our elders, taking dozens of prescription medications everyday. They had poor appetites, no energy and a host of unwanted side effects which usually inspired more prescriptions from doctors they almost never saw. I knew there was a better way”. Tony’s years of Zen meditation and martial arts practice found their natural extension in the holistic art of Oriental medicine with its focus on treating the whole person and its emphasis on preventative healthcare. Now as a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist it has become Tony’s mission to make Oriental medicine less the “alternative” and more the “primary” form of healthcare and health maintenance for everyone. “As an uninsured student I knew that I couldn’t afford doctors visits, prescription meds or even the standard acupuncture prices”. This is what inspired Tony to join with his partners to create the Neighborhood Acupuncture Project, where the people of Austin can receive the benefits of Oriental medicine at an affordable price.

Tony continues to develop his skills through the study of Japanese meridian therapy and his ongoing Tai Chi practice. As a lifelong musician Tony compares the art of acupuncture to that of music. “We learn the scales and the styles of the great musicians that came before us, we practice, practice ,practice then we bring our whole unique selves into every moment and we play”.

Cindy Freeman, L.Ac, MAOM

Cindy is a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbal therapist, and an NCCAOM diplomate, with almost 20 years of healing experience. She received her Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine from AOMA in Austin, Texas in 2006, and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology.

She began helping (furry) patients in 1991 as a veterinary technician. Her decade of work in veterinary medicine has provided her with a firm understanding of Western medicine. When she later discovered Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2001, she knew she had found a healing system in which her passions: medicine, psychology, and nutrition, coalesced.

Cindy is currently in private practice, and has maintained her clinic since it's opening in 2006. Each year, she furthers her education by attending several Traditional Chinese Medicine seminars. In addition, Cindy has 2 years of experience working as an acupuncturist and herbalist in an integrated healthcare clinic where acupuncture and herbal therapy, chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage were used in combination to provide each patient with a customized treatment plan.

Cindy is delighted to be a part of Neighborhood Acupuncture Project because the affordability of community-style acupuncture makes it possible for her patients to get the treatments they need.

In her spare time, she enjoys making music, and playing with textiles.

JOANNE TAIT, L.Ac, MAOM

Joanne is a licensed acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is also a certified yoga instructor.

In 2011, she completed her degree of Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, where she conducted over 500 treatments for patients during her clinic internship.

Joanne had the privilege and opportunity to travel to China in 2009 where she attended the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She took part in academic seminars, mind-body classes and patient observation rounds at the teaching hospital, which combines both Eastern and Western Medicine. The experience enriched her education and further solidified her appreciation of mind-body wellness.

In 2005, Joanne completed a yoga-training program at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Nassau, Bahamas. In addition to Sivananda, her classes combine the principles of alignment from Iyengar and breath synchronized movement from Vinyasa. She enjoys teaching yoga and recognizes its compatibility with Eastern Medicine. She has been teaching since 2005.

Before coming to Austin, Joanne worked as an environmental advocate at the Sierra Club legislative headquarters in Washington, D.C. She received her Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior from the University of Maryland at College Park.

By providing time-proven holistic methods that prompt the natural ability of the body to heal, Joanne is committed to helping her patients achieve optimal wellness, balance and longevity.

She enjoys organic gardening, birding, photography and live music.Joanne Tait, L.Ac

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