Staff Acupuncture Practitioners
I am a Bay Area native, and grew up in the East Bay. After moving to San Francisco and living there for 15 years, I am so happy to be back! I love to explore California’s nature and culture. I also love dance, yoga, neighborhood strolls, cooking, a good read, gardening (newest hobby) and my family – which now includes a hilarious toddler son!
Sean Carson, LAc
I was born and raised in Californian suburbia. After escaping to UC Davis in the early 90s, I found myself unexpectedly studying tai chi, qi gong, and Chinese herbal medicine with a local master who indelibly influenced my life. This fortuitous meeting led to my becoming an herbal pharmacist and assistant to one of the few local acupuncturists. It wasn’t long before I knew that I found my calling. I remember looking at my first acupuncture school course catalog back in 1993, but it took more than 10 years before I actually made it to acupuncture school. Sometimes the river of life has other things in store for us, and the challenges I faced have made me a more mature and grounded practitioner today.
When I first encountered the community acupuncture model, something inside me felt electrified. I had sensed for a long time that something was missing from my education and the practice model we were indoctrinated into. The variety of publications and blog posts that I came across on the POCA Website gave voice to my dissatisfaction. Acupuncture is beautiful, and it should be available to everyone!
Tatyana Ryevzina, LAc, co-manager, chair
I grew up in the Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States as a teen, living in New York and Chicago before moving to the Bay Area in 1998. I have been involved with various healing and spiritual traditions for over 20 years and have been practicing acupuncture and Chinese herbal Medicine since 2003. I started out practicing acupuncture in public health settings, including Quan Yin Healing Arts Center in San Francisco and the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic in Oakland, and quickly realized that working with under-served populations was a passion of mine.
My discovery of Community Acupuncture practice model transformed and revived me. It makes sense to me from the point of view of sustainability, healthcare access, social justice, spirituality, and as an antidote to isolation. I have taught Community Acupuncture practice development at AIMC, an acupuncture college in Berkeley. I also served on the Board of Directors of Community Acupuncture Network and continue to volunteer for POCA co-op.
If you exercise at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA, you have probably run into me there. I am a step-mom, an empty nester, a fermenter, and a (sporadic) meditator.
Pamela O’Malley Chang, LAc, co-manager, treasurer, secretary
I grew up in Massachusetts, daughter of a Chinese immigrant biologist father and a Chinese-American librarian mother. After 20 years of practicing architecture/civil engineering, and a bout with early-stage ovarian cancer, I received a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences in Oakland, California and am licensed to practice acupuncture in California.
Having a deep-seated desire for a world with ample resources for people to create their own solutions to everyday problems, I am delighted to have worked at Sarana Community Acupuncture since 2008. I am a member of the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA) co-op.
Outside of work, I volunteer at the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic—a clinic that offers free alternative-therapy care for low-income women with cancer. I am a mostly-mediocre violinist, swimmer, and tai-chi practitioner. I have an aquaponic garden in my Berkeley backyard. I am also a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Micronesia).
Substitute Acupuncture Practitioners
Jen Cowing, LAc
Born in the Bay Area and raised in Plymouth, Massachusetts, I guess I’ve always appreciated dualities in life: East and West, tradition and innovation, and—later, studying Daoism and Anthropology at Boston University—yin and yang. I was struck by the notion that the laws of nature govern our bodies as well as the world, and moved by the simplicity with which this idea could assist such profound healing. At American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, I learned to find inner balance through natural medicine, and aspire to use these tools as a conduit for others in their own healing journeys. When I’m not doing that, I’m probably seeking out new music and delicious food, biking around Oakland, drinking wine and taking pictures of my cat, or running away from the geese at Lake Merritt.
Prior to my Chinese Medicine education, I studied industrial engineering. Although I enjoyed working to optimize complex systems and processes, my career path was missing something unidentifiable. Upon arrival to the United States, I was introduced to Asian philosophies and became an ardent student of Tai Chi Chuan, Aikido, and Traditional Chinese tea ceremony. I received certification to practice therapeutic Tui Na massage, and subsequently completed my Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine. My approach to acupuncture is strongly influenced by the non-competitive nature of Aikido practice (in which I hold a rank of first-degree black belt) and by the approach of palpation-based acupuncture. I prefer a gentle needling method that helps the body find balance and restore homeostasis.
Amanda Quvus Kawanami, LAc
I grew up with the idea that mainstream medicine was what you did when there was no other resort. The first thing was always food, tea, and some ritual. I was raised in a Puerto Rican home where “Santeria” was a part of life. I did not realize how much this influenced me until I was older and seeking my own relief from aliments. I immediately sought out herbal remedies, which lead to the study of Ayurveda.
From there with a few twists and turns I began to study Chinese Medicine. I now merge these two ancient practices in my life and practice. At home you will find me in the kitchen with my husband and daughter exploring new recipes, often while singing! I am currently learning Japanese and am fluent in Spanish.
Sally Nelson, massage practitioner
I enjoy integrating the healing and balancing benefits of Shiatsu and Acupressure with Hendrickson Method Manual Therapy, an orthopedic modality that addresses specific problem areas. In practice since 1990, I am a licensed Massage Therapist with the California Massage Therapy Council, and a longtime member of the AOBTA.
Since 2004, I have been volunteering at the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic, which offers alternative treatments for low-income women with cancer. The ambience there is nurturing and healing, creating a truly supportive community.
After years in the Northeast and in Utah, I moved to Berkeley in 1977. For many years I was an artist and teacher of site-specific installations and sculpture. Fascinated by Traditional Chinese Medicine, I trained at the Acupressure Institute, and then studied Zen Shiatsu privately with Sensei Ping Lee. My training in Hendrickson Method began a few years later.
I truly enjoy my work, including the clients and staff at Sarana. I also enjoy swimming, dancing, bicycling, and hiking at Point Reyes or in the Sierra. Spending time with the families of my two grown sons is also a great source of delight.
Meave O’Connor, massage practitioner
I come to Asian bodywork from a lifelong interest in complementary medicine and healing practices. I started my acupressure bodywork practice after a career as a public school teacher where I worked with children who had learning disabilities.
I have received most of my training at the Berkeley Acupressure Institute and continue to study privately with some of the faculty members there. In my practice at Sarana I utilize the active bodywork styles of acupressure, including tui na, shiatsu and some reflexology.
As an activist who helps to protect and restore the environment, I have come to understand that our bodies are much like the natural environment and oftentimes reflections of it. Working with the energy meridians to enable the body’s wisdom to balance the whole person is the practice I love.
I enjoy dancing, music, film and theater as well as hiking and swimming. Being a vagabond at heart I have traveled far and wide. I’ve been practicing yoga daily for 30 years and have recently started to study Qigong with Master Mingtong Gu.
I volunteer at the Charlotte Maxwell Complimentary Clinic in Oakland where there is a strong community healing atmosphere, vibrating with love and connection. I strongly support the community acupuncture model and am a longtime Sarana client. I am happy to be part of Sarana community of caring and knowledgable practitioners.
Kattt Atchley, massage practitioner
I am a certified Acupressure massage therapist who received certification from the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley and McKinnon Institute in Oakland. I have been licensed with the California Massage Therapy Council since 2012. I am also proud to be a volunteer at the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic (Oakland) which provides integrative medicine to under-served women with cancer. The heart of my work as a massage therapist is in listening to clients so that I may learn how to best approach their needs during the session. I have worked with people on a wide range of health issues from rest and relaxation, musculoskeletal aches and pains, stress management, and emotional balancing.
I grew up in Hong Kong and came to the United States in my late teens. I have been teaching yoga for about fifteen years. I am certified at the Diamond Light School of Massage and Healing Arts. My bodywork style integrates tui na, shiatsu, stroking, stretching, and rhythmic compression to release tension and pain as well as generating relaxation, opening, and invigorating the body and mind. My other interests include cooking, dancing, hiking, poetry, the outdoors, broadening my studies in integrative wellness, and spending time with my two grown children. I also enjoy volunteering at Sarana’s front desk.
Gia Laurent, volunteer coordinator
I felt a strong connection to Sarana Community Acupuncture since my very first visit, and I’m delighted to be part of the Sarana staff team after volunteering for about a year. I love Sarana’s mission of helping the community through affordable acupuncture. Giving back to the community is very important to me and volunteering has allowed to see the difference acupuncture can make in people’s lives.
I have a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology, but most of work history is in Supply Chain Management in the Bio-Tech industry.
What can I say, life happens. It’s important to me that my work has a benefit to the community, so Sarana is an excellent fit. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, knitting, jigsaw puzzles and tracing my family genealogy. I’m also a big fan of roller coasters. I love to travel and have been known to travel for my hobbies.
Board of Directors
Tatyana Ryevzina, LAc, chair
See bio above under Acupuncture Practitioners
Dana Feliz, vice-chair
I am a Berkeley native and have grown up believing that there are many holistic and non-traditional ways to heal oneself. I practice yoga regularly, I receive chiropractic treatments weekly and of course I visit Sarana every Sunday, where I have been a regular client since August of 2009. I regard the clinic as my sanctuary. I have certifications in Landscape Design and Landscape Construction from City College of San Francisco and have been lovingly caring for the clinic plants for many years.
Jeffrey Levin, LAc, member-at-large
After over a decade of practicing yoga, I began to experiment with healing modalities to address some chronic injuries from surfing and skateboarding that were resistant to the clever therapies I had devised. I came across acupuncture while traveling in Thailand early in 2005. The effects of my treatments were so miraculous and profound that by the time I returned to the United States, I had decided to become an acupuncturist. All these years later, I feel very lucky to be able to offer the benefits of acupuncture to my local Oakland community by working full time at Oakland Acupuncture Project‘s Grand Ave. clinic. When I’m not at work, I’m usually hanging out with my daughter Audrey and my son Calder who are both super fun. You might see us collecting flower petals or chasing turkeys in the Morcom Rose Garden. I also enjoy listening to my (ridiculously large) vinyl collection, sharing bottles from my (sadly small) wine collection, practicing yoga, sipping my fresh direct trade Ethiopian coffee, and cooking and eating delicious food. I am a simple man with sophisticated tastes.