Hello! I’m a classical Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist with a deep love for Classical Chinese language and philosophy.
I am a rare holistic medicine provider in that I have a head for technology and love the business side of things. I’m queer, neurodivergent, a Zen Buddhist, and committed to being a positive contributor to my communities. I am the dad of an adult daughter who is doing great things in the world & also an insufferable photo sharing cat dad to two goofballs, Dudley and Nimbus.
I grew up all over the Western United States, mostly in Idaho and Arizona. I moved to Oregon in 1995 with a vague idea to start a farm or maybe just camp out in the woods forever. Typical Oregon stuff. I never left Oregon for any significant period of time after that, so I consider it my home and don’t plan to ever leave.
In 2003, I graduated with a Philosophy degree from Oregon State University and set my sights on a PhD in Philosophy at Purdue University in Indiana. The moment I stepped foot on that campus, I felt that something was wrong. Part of it was that I missed Oregon terribly. But my discomfort was more about the program. The other PhD candidates were obviously miserable, and the way they looked at the world was absolutely alien to me. In my guts I knew it wasn’t the right path. Within a month, I had packed my bags and headed back to Oregon, not knowing what I’d be doing next, but knowing it wasn’t that.
At that point, my primary focus was on environmental philosophy. I’ve always had a deep love for the natural world, and a fierce desire to protect its animals, plants and ecosystems. I ended up entering a new degree program at OSU, this time in Applied Ethics, in the hopes that might trigger some understanding of my path. Ultimately, what it showed me was that the world of academic Philosophy wasn’t for me – that I needed to find a way to more directly impact the world and the people in it.
Through some serious serendipity I ended up seeing a flyer for the National College of Natural Medicine (now a University) and decided to check it out. I was ultimately admitted as a Naturopathic medicine student starting classes in 2004. But, in the summer before starting classes, I went to a “Student for a Day” experience at NCNM and met Heiner Fruehauf, who was lecturing as part of the program.
That moment will always be perfectly clear in my memory, though very hard to describe. I didn’t know it then, but what I was experiencing was transmission, and I had just met the person who would become my teacher for life. I immediately switched my program to Classical Chinese medicine, and I never looked back. During my time at NCNM, I fell ever more deeply in love with this medicine, taking seminars outside of the normal school program with Heiner and with my other primary teacher, Arnaud Versluys.
I graduated in 2009 and immediately began Watershed Wellness with my wife, Amanda Barp, who runs this site with me. Since then, our clinic has been through several location changes including a move to a completely different city – where we now live – Astoria on the coast of Oregon. We’ve built and managed a great group of practitioners & staff and have become an integral part of the healthcare in our community. Through this journey, we have learned so much about running a practice with integrity and heart. We’ve learned mostly through our lived experience (mistakes and successes), but also through great business coaching, lots of courses and hundreds of books.
I was also privileged to be invited to teach at NUNM from 2009 until 2019, teaching Chinese herbs lab, Clinical Medicine and the entire Business & Practice Management curriculum, which I developed from the ground up. I was a clinical supervisor for a time as well. I have also taught about Chinese Herbs and Chinese medicine businesses online through my websites Deepest Health, Chinese Medicine Central, and now here on Whole Life Practitioner.
And of course, I’ve continued to deepen my relationship with the medicine. I am a Diplomate of Canonical Chinese Medicine through ICEAM, and continue to study with both Arnaud and Heiner in whatever ways I can. I have recently started to study classical Chinese in earnest through Sabine Wilms’ excellent Triple Crown program. I study relentlessly, and never tire of reading the classical texts and attending talks and courses of teachers who share my passion for the ancient roots of acupuncture and Chinese herbalism.
If you want to know any more details, you can check out my CV.