Did you know that many people turn to acupuncture to help them along on their fertility journey? Acupuncture has many benefits, but when I first learned that acupuncture could help with fertility & pregnancy I was intrigued.
The first time I met Erin we sipped on some tea while bonding over our home state, Wisconsin (I absolutely love finding other Wisconsinites who’ve made the move out here to Oregon as well!) and learning more about each other’s businesses.
Erin’s passion is helping women along on their fertility journeys. She is a kind-hearted, down-to-earth soul, who has clearly found her calling in working with Chinese medicine.
Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Erin Brockmeyer, the newest Woman Warrior in our series. Erin owns and operates Solstice Acupuncture. Her practice focuses on:
- women’s health – including fertility, prenatal and postpartum care, and menopause
- pain – both acute pain from injury and chronic disorders such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
- anxiety and depression.
Get to Know Erin
Where are you from?
I grew up in Neenah, WI and moved to Portland from Madison after I graduated from college. I’ve been here since 2001 and can’t seem to leave (although I do still miss my family in Wisco)!
Tell me about your family?
My family is BUSY. Prior to COVID my family of 4 (husband and two boys) was constantly running around — skiing and snowboarding up at Timberline, camping and hiking all over Oregon, going to a million soccer practices and games every week, and hanging out with our incredible friends. My boys are 7 and 11 and we are currently navigating the beginning of the online school year (including the first year of middle school) while both my husband and I work outside the house (my husband manages the arboriculture department at a big tree care company). We’ve experienced intense family togetherness over the past 6 months which has been challenging, but mostly has allowed us to savor our time together.
What is your favorite thing to do in Portland?
That is so tough! We definitely LOVE skiing/snowboarding and camping. Smith Rock and Opal Creek are two of our favorite places to visit, so we have been grieving since the Beachie Creek fires. IN Portland our favorite thing, besides hanging out with friends and playing soccer, would be going to Powell’s on Hawthorne to buy a ridiculous amount of books.
Your Acupuncture Journey
When did you first know you wanted to become an Acupuncturist?
That’s a funny story, because for a long time I did NOT want to be an acupuncturist. It helped me so much with my anxiety and migraines, but I never wanted to be in healthcare. I have a writing and arts background, so this was a bit out of left field for me. I decided to become an acupuncturist because a friend told me she thought I should be one. I was really unhappy in my job, so I called the school to get some information. When I read through the course catalog I instantly knew that this was what I needed to be. I quit my job two months later and went back to school.
Where did you get your degree/do your training?
I went to the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine for my Masters degree. It is one of the best schools in the country for East Asian medicine, so I’m lucky I lived here! It is a 4 year graduate degree program, and includes a great deal of Western medicine training in addition to East Asian medicine training.
Solstice Natural Health
When did you first start Solstice Natural Health?
Can you explain the different services/packages you offer?
I don’t typically work with packages, although I’ve thought about it and may do that in the future. I practice the full scope of East Asian Medicine, which includes acupuncture, custom herbal medicine, and nutrition. I also frequently use cupping and gua sha (which is similar to Graston) to treat musculoskeletal issues. I haven’t created packages so far partly because I accept insurance and packages don’t work in conjunction with insurance. But primarily I’ve never created packages because every treatment plan I create for each patient is a custom treatment plan. So if you come in at the end of pregnancy for labor prep, you might only need 5 visits, but those 5 visits might happen in 2-3 weeks. If you come in for fertility support I might create a treatment plan that spans 3 months. So it is completely customized, based on what your health concern is and based on what your goals are.
If you could give me a quick synopsis of your business in 5 sentences or less, how would you describe it?
I offer whole person healthcare that primarily focuses on reproductive health, including fertility, prenatal, and postpartum care. I combine the best of Western medical research with natural supportive treatments that help people balance their hormones, get pregnant, and get out of pain. My passion is making sure that while they are under my care, people learn about how their bodies work and what they can do to feel their best.
Going into business for myself has taught me a tremendous amount about myself as a person. What have you learned about yourself since starting your business?
I don’t think I will ever stop learning about myself through my business. I have learned that I need to hire people who are good at doing the things I am not good at. I have learned that even though structure and routine are not natural to me, they are necessary to a successful business. I have learned that my business takes my lead: if I am focused on growth and excited about my mission, it grows and feels wonderful. If I am disorganized, unfocused, and pessimistic, it slows down. I’ve learned that I cannot care more about my patients’ outcomes than they do (this is hard, because I really really care!). I’ve learned that it will never ever get boring.
If self-employment was easy, everyone would do it. Can you tell me about the obstacles you have faced being in business for yourself?
So many obstacles! First of all, I went to medical school, not business school. So I knew literally nothing about owning a business when I started my practice. Then I had a baby right away, so I was learning how to be a mother and how to be a business owner at the same time. I also took a huge leap of faith and joined another practice 6 years into my business. I got pregnant with my second baby right after moving my practice across town and essentially starting over (it was 45 minutes from my original location). I didn’t get anything in writing, and 3 days before my second kiddo was born I ended up having to leave the space. So I started over again after an unexpected 6 month maternity leave. I have made some expensive mistakes over the years, mostly due to not getting things in writing. And then there is the daily obstacle of dealing with insurance companies!
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Honestly, my proudest accomplishments come from all of the people I’ve helped. As far as being a business owner, I am most proud of the fact that without any formal business training I have managed to run a business that makes money for 13 years while also raising two kids. I want them to have a strong female role model, and I hope that is what they see.
I enjoy reading and love sharing new book ideas with others. What book would you recommend to new or expecting parents? And please explain why in 1-2 sentences.
The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou, Amely Greeven, and Marisa Belger is one of my favorites. It puts the focus on supporting the person who gave birth at the same time they are supporting their new baby, and that is crucial for mental/emotional health.
Where to find Erin:
Want to read about more Women Warriors in our community? Check out these other amazing women:
Marnellie Bishop of hānau doula
Mirra Nerenberg of Portland Natural Birth