We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Jennifer Tom and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Jennifer, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
It might sound cheesy, but learning to be myself. When I first started my practice, it took time for me to develop my voice as an acupuncturist and business owner. It’s easy to compare yourself to other acupuncturists, doctors or female wellness entrepreneurs. You could think you have to post certain content, be “more professional” or “be more like western medicine doctors” to be successful. But I think it comes down to being clear about who you are – what is important to you, what do you want to say, how do you want to say it – and then going for it. Over the years, working with patients, writing blog posts, newsletters, Instagram posts, articles, and teaching workshops helped me hone my voice, and by extension, increase my confidence as an acupuncturist and business owner. I enjoy showing my personality, humor, and connecting with my patients. I’ve developed my own style of explaining Chinese medicine so it feels authentic, down to earth and practical, and when you lead with giving and service, it doesn’t feel “sales-y” or like I’m trying to convince them of anything. This has led to trust, genuine connection, more effective treatments, referrals, and the growth of my practice. The patients that connect with your genuine personality will find you, and the growth and success will follow. At the same time, it’s also important to define success on your own terms. My vision of a successful practice and business is unique to me, and with that clarity of what I’m aiming to create, that helps guide the decisions I make for my business.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My interest in health and medicine began with my family. From my grandfather’s homemade Chinese herbal remedies, to reading my family’s medical encyclopedia for fun, I was fascinated with learning how the body works, how symptoms could be connected to each other, and what factors can ensure a healthy thriving life. After injuring my back while working as an event planner, I was re-introduced to the world of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. The treatments I received not only healed the injury, but also introduced me to a whole different way of thinking about health and wellness – where a person is seen as a whole person, not just a collection of symptoms; when treating the root cause of disease is emphasized over managing symptoms only; and where prevention is a key factor in overall health. All of these things added up to the realization that becoming an acupuncturist was the perfect blend of my passions in medicine, science, art, creativity and serving others in a healing profession. Jennifer Tom Acupuncture is a neighborhood acupuncture practice built on practical, down to earth healthcare. We are proud to offer acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to help you reach your health and wellness goals at any age and stage of life. Acupuncture is a complete medical system that has been used for thousands of years, and I am passionate about explaining how acupuncture and Chinese medicine work. I believe that demystifying the medicine, explaining what is going on from a Chinese medicine perspective, getting to the root cause of a symptom or disease, and explaining why certain points are chosen goes a long way in building trust, understanding, and empowerment that this medicine can help you recover from illness or injury. Acupuncture is a respite for you from your busy day, where you can come as you are, relax and recharge, and feel better when you leave (the napping during the treatment is a great bonus too!) My passion is connecting with patients and their WHY for being in my office – yes to help decrease pain, increase mobility, bring their bodies into balance, but what will they be able to do in their lives that they are unable to do now? Helping others feel well and get back to doing what they love is what lights me up. I am happy to be part of your support system, where you feel heard and understood, and it is an honor to be a part of your healing process. Running my own practice has been fairly smooth so far, but there are definitely days that are harder than others, with a lot of learning moments along the way. I think it’s important to realize that when you’re the one running the show yourself, it’s all on you. For me, sometimes that can feel really empowering, and sometimes it can feel very scary, and a lot of times it’s both at the same time. You can create whatever you want, and there is no one telling you what to do, so make the most of this freedom to take a chance, try something new, fail, and try again. Now with the changes in the world with COVID-19, it’s given me the opportunity to extend my practice to online virtual telemedicine appointments, in addition to in person appointments in the clinic. I’ve also been working on a cookbook of Chinese medicine inspired recipes, which has been another exciting avenue for my passions for cooking and bringing Chinese medicine to others in a creative and accessible platform.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My version of the perfect day in North County San Diego involves being active and out in nature, good food and drinks, and enjoying the relaxed slower paced living. Some of my favorites include Carlsbad Village, San Diego Safari Park, and any beaches in North County. I love hiking at Torrey Pines state beach, or kayaking at Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad. For food and drinks, my favorites are Booze Brothers Brewing Co., Pizza Port, Mother Earth, Stone Brewing, and getting burritos from Pollos Maria, Lucha Libre or Juanitas.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am so grateful for the opportunities and resources that I’ve had to be able to open and run my own practice. There are so many people that have played roles in where I am today and the success of my business. My parents, family and friends, for all of their love and support over the years as I changed careers, went back to school, and opened my own practice. My acupuncture coaches Dr. East and Alyssa Dazet, for their work in the acupuncture field helping others fulfill their potential as acupuncturists and business owners. My professors and fellow students turned colleagues from my acupuncture school Pacific College of Health and Science. My office mate Jennifer Lyons, for being a great colleague and for the opportunity to share office space together for the past 5 years. And lastly, my patients, who trust me with their health and are the reason I continue to serve my community through this medicine.
Goodnickels Photography, Jennifer Tom, Navdeep Dhillon