Support Asheville’s medically underserved with alternative medicine. Join in the fun and roast acupuncture pioneer Cissy Majebe at Highland Brewing Company, 12 Old Charlotte Highway, on Tuesday, April 17th, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Suggested donation is $20/person and includes Latin dancing with Picante & Reuben Orengo, live rock and roll with Jimmy Baker & the Profits, light appetizers, beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages and a wonderful silent auction.
All proceeds will benefit the Traditions Acupuncture Foundation which funds Chinese medical care for underserved populations in our area. Visit traditionsacupuncturefoundation.org for more information. Silent Auction items and food donations still being sought for the event. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Cissy was an early pioneer in alternative medicine in the Asheville. She fell into the study of acupuncture after being deeply moved by a lecture by famed author Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, MD. “After hearing Dr. Kubler- Ross, I knew I wanted to do something with alternative medicine, something very holistic, but I did not know what.” Halfway through a Ph.D. in sports psychology at University of Virginia, she biked around Europe where she met a French family who had successfully used acupuncture for their daughter’s depression. She was smitten. “ I came back to the U.S. and moved to New Mexico to enroll in a college of Oriental medicine where the director was Chinese, but also a western trained surgeon. It was important to me that he have both Western and Oriental knowledge.”
In 1985, Cissy opened the Chinese Acupuncture and Herbology Clinic in Asheville. After passing a rigorous exam, she was licensed as a Doctor of Oriental medicine in New Mexico. Though she was licensed by the State of New Mexico North Carolina did not yet regulate acupuncture, but thanks to now Dr. Majebe, aka Cissy, that was going to change.
CIssy’s new practice in Asheville thrived, becoming the largest in the State. In 1990, she began an extensive renovation and a planned move to her current clinic location on Montford Avenue. But in June, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation entered her clinic and seized all 677 of her patient records and all her financial data making it virtually impossible for her work to continue. The North Carolina Medical Board, based on a complaint by a local health care provider, decided to investigate Dr. Majebe for the practice of medicine without a license. Cissy immediately filed suit against the North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners and the State of North Carolina to seek the return of all the seized items and for damages for harassment and invasion of privacy. In Asheville style, her patients organized protests. Acupuncturists across the state and the nation drew together to educate the public and North Carolina Legislators about acupuncture. Many physicians published letters to the editor in support of the healing benefits of acupuncture. It became clear that the political climate around freedom of choice for health care had changed. Several weeks later, Cissy’s records were returned. Charges were never filed against her and her lawsuit was dismissed.
That attempt to shut down Cissy’s practice had unintended consequences. It focused the entire North Carolina acupuncture community on the need to license acupuncture so that no one would ever have to endure Cissy’s experience again. It also helped galvanize public support for legislation that ensured that acupuncture would remain available in North Carolina. After the lawsuit dismissal, Cissy lobbied tirelessly for the State to license acupuncture. Local retired legislator Marie Colton was instrumental in helping to guide an acupuncture licensing bill through the Legislature. In 1992, that legislation was finally passed and Cissy was appointed to the State’s first ever Acupuncture Licensing Board along with local acupuncturist, Phil Ricker. Her practice continued to grow and added many new acupuncturists over the years: Junie Norfleet , Rachel Nowakowski , Joshua Herr, Ann Wolman, Karen Litton, Dennis Harrison, Cat Finks, and Andrew Cahn among them.
Since then, Cissy, along with three other women, Junie Norfleet, Rachel Nowakowski and Patrician Bernarding, has directed her enormous energy beyond her practice to establishing, Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts. Daoist Traditions is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of teachers and leaders within the field of Oriental Medicine. The College is known for its academically rigorous and transformative curriculum, its service to the Asheville community, and its exemplary leadership in Oriental Medicine education. In 2005 the College, established a Clinic, currently located on South French Broad Avenue, which provides discounted acupuncture for the community as well as training a new generation of excellent acupuncturists. Most recently, Daoist Traditions reached another landmark as the school was recently licensed by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to offer the first Master’s degree in acupuncture in the State College system.
In 2010, Cissy and a group of Ashevillians formed the Traditions Acupuncture Foundation in order to raise funds for free Chinese medical care for underserved populations in this area. The Board of TAF is composed of people whose lives have been transformed by acupuncture. Cliff Rubin, TAF Board President, recalls how acupuncture treatments dissolved painful scar tissue that his physician said would never go away. Sarah Oram, TAF Board member, credits acupuncture with the birth of her two wonderful children after years of infertility and miscarriages. TAF has donated funds for clients of Helpmate , OUR VOICE and currently, the YWCA to receive treatments for a variety of conditions including depression, hypertension, PTSD and diabetes. Funds from the Acu-Roast on April 17th will be donated to TAF and be used to expand similar programs.
Through enormous energy and dedication, Cissy has spent her life helping residents of Asheville, surrounding counties and the state of North Carolina get the point of acupuncture so now it is time for us to point our needles at her and have some fun! For more information, visit traditionsacupuncturefoundation.org or call (828) 231-6222.