Rhianna was in nursing school when an injury from an on-the-job accident led her to discover a completely different approach to healthcare than the one she was studying. It was acupuncture, and it would eventually become her passion as well as a career in which she is now able to help patients in ways she never knew were possible.
Originally from Loveland, Colorado, Rhianna had earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Colorado State in Fort Collins when she enrolled in the nursing program at Metropolitan State in Denver. She already had a strong interest in women’s health and was entering the OBGYN nursing track. But she was not happy. In fact, she was struggling with whether or not she really wanted to be a nurse at all.
The fact was, Rhianna didn’t like what she saw when she looked around at the type of medicine being taught and practiced in her program. The strictly Western approach to treatment seemed dysfunctional and broken. It relied heavily on medication. It didn’t address the root causes of disease, but instead simply managed the symptoms – often with more and more medication, and at times making patients even more sick.
It was a miserable feeling to constantly be wondering if she could see herself being part of this system for the rest of her life. And it was discouraging to have to sit back and watch all this unfold before her eyes. She felt an ethical pull to find a different area to work in, one in which she could feel like she was making more of a difference. But she had no idea what that other area might be.
A Life-Altering Injury
And then she hurt her back. One day while working as a nursing assistant, she was helping to lift a patient and felt a sharp nerve pain shooting down her legs. It turned out to be a pretty significant back injury. She could barely walk and couldn’t get in and out of bed by herself. The pain wasn’t resolving, so she sought help at her school’s student clinic. But all they could offer her was a prescription for pain medication and muscle relaxers, a road she wasn’t thrilled about going down.
Then one of her instructors recommended acupuncture. Rhianna was skeptical. She had no experience with acupuncture and knew literally nothing about it. But she was in so much pain, she was willing to try anything. She walked into that first appointment, sat down, completed an intake, laid down on the treatment table, and an acupuncturist stuck some needles in her. She didn’t know what to think of it all while it was happening, but when the treatment was finished, she got up off the table by herself and was able to walk upright for the first time in weeks.
She remembers walking out of the office, and everything seemed brighter. She could breathe. She felt completely changed. And not just physically. Over the following weeks and months, as she continued to get acupuncture treatments and continued to feel even better, she found herself falling in love with this beautiful holistic medicine that stood in such stark contrast to her Western nursing studies. She started researching acupuncture and liked what she found. She started to realize this might be a way she could help people truly change their lives. It seemed to open doors to view the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of health in ways she had never realized existed. Deep inside, she knew this was what she wanted to do. Finally, she announced to her husband, “Ryan, I’m going to acupuncture school.”
Rhianna enrolled in Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado in 2013. She already knew she had a passion for working with women, so it was an easy choice to go with the Fertility, Pregnancy, and Pediatric track. This included a year of OBGYN training, a pediatric externship, and the opportunity to train under two of the top reproductive health specialists in Colorado. Three years later, she completed the accelerated program and graduated with a Masters in Science of Oriental Medicine in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs.
Bozeman and Community Acupuncture
After operating her own private acupuncture business (Sunrise Lotus Acupuncture) in Littleton, Colorado for two years, she and her husband Ryan were wanting to leave the fast pace of Denver area city life behind and relocate to a place where they could live closer to nature and feel better about starting a family. Yellowstone was already their go-to getaway spot, and on one trip, they decided to check out Bozeman and instantly fell in love.
After moving to Bozeman in 2015, Rhianna worked for two years at People’s Republic of Health, where she is grateful to have had the opportunity to see such a high number of patients in a relatively short period of time. The community clinic approach to acupuncture provided an invaluable learning experience in her development as an acupuncturist, and she continues to draw on that knowledge and experience today.
Areas of Expertise
Rhianna is experienced in treating a wide array of conditions. She has treated a high volume of patients suffering from many types of pain, both chronic and acute, including muscle pain, joint pain, and myofascial pain. She has had great success treating conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, fibromyalgia, MS, headaches and migraines, addiction, and menopause. She also loves to work with kids, although she does not needle pediatric patients under the age of 7, opting instead to use gentler acupressure techniques.
Her great passion is using acupuncture to help women with fertility and pregnancy. Since graduating from acupuncture school, all of her Continuing Education credits have been focused in these areas. Her goals include acquiring the Acupuncture Board of Reproductive Medicine (ABORM) certification (which would make her the first acupuncturist in the state of Montana to receive this) and eventually earning her Ph.D. in Chinese Medicine.
When Rhianna is not practicing acupuncture or studying Chinese Medicine, she loves spending time in nature hiking, camping, and fishing, as well as hosting game nights, drinking coffee with friends, and hanging out with her husband and newborn daughter, Lillian.
To book an acupuncture appointment with Rhianna, give us a call at 406-219-3631
or click the button below to schedule an appointment online.