Christy Allen, L.Ac.
Christy Allen, L.Ac., Dipl.O.M. (NCCAOM) is the type of compassionate and talented healer sought during times of health challenge, and a keen guide to lifelong healthy aging. Through a life of pioneering work in multiple fields, she is beginning her 25th year of practice as a Licensed Acupuncturist and Board-certified Chinese Herbalist and Diplomate of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She was one of the first Licensed Acupuncturists in the U.S. to be hospital-credentialed and accorded peer status with allopathic physicians at a major medical center. Her full-time, private practice is in Tucson, Arizona.
In 1997, Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. selected her to represent Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture on the core Clinical Faculty of the Program in Integrative Medicine (now the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine) at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine. As both clinician and mentor to the first four classes of 2-year Residential Fellows in Integrative Medicine, she treated patients at the PIM’s teaching clinic and built a solid foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine’s inclusion in integrative care. In recent years, she has also been a clinical research collaborator studying acupuncture’s effects on bladder problems in post-menopausal women.
Her ability to generate improved health outcomes in complex cases, and to communicate the intricacies of Asian philosophy and Traditional Chinese Medicine to Western physicians and patients has been her hallmark. Enjoying steady demand in private practice, she is known for her keen diagnostics, skillful needle techniques, and transformative outcomes.
Christy maintains a current license to practice in Arizona, and was previously licensed in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Maryland. She holds National Board certification by the NCCAOM as a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, the most comprehensive and advanced category of clinical certification in the profession; this designation expands her prior Diplomate status in both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology. She provides a broad scope of integrative services through her private practice in the central Foothills area of Tucson, AZ.
Allen received her core Chinese Medicine training at the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (forerunner of the current Maryland University of Integrative Health) and was awarded a clinical Master’s degree in Acupuncture (M.Ac.) in 1995. Additional years of Chinese Herbology studies with Dr. Ted Kaptchuk, OMD (now at Harvard University) were completed at TAI in 1996.
Wanting to return to Arizona, where she had spent two years in the remote beauty of the Navajo Nation, Allen moved to Tucson, AZ in 1996, despite knowing there was yet no established legal status for the practice of acupuncture. About a dozen peers with NCCAOM status banded together initially, and with increasing numbers obtained passage of legislation to define and create the distinct, professional title of “Licensed Acupuncturist” in Arizona.
In 1999, she was certified by the Toyo Hari Medical Association of Japan after 126 hours of post-graduate study in Japanese Meridian Therapy, a unique style derived from the techniques of blind acupuncturists; the energetic sensitivity of this training undergirds her current treatment methodology and also expanded the root training she received in classical Five Element acupuncture at TAI. Articles about her work have been published in Popular Science and the Arizona Daily Star, and she has lectured to such diverse audiences as hospital pharmacists, cancer support groups, integrative physicians, and members of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness.
Allen has developed and managed successful private medical practices in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Arizona — and served as President of the Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Society of MA from 2003-06. From 2007-08, she served as an Advisory Board member of Acupuncturists Without Borders, and helped to prepare the organization for its international trauma relief work. In 2011, she worked briefly as a clinical preceptor (demonstrating her work to medical students) at the Arizona School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine in Tucson, and received top ratings for the quality of her teaching.
In 2010, Allen designed Traditional Chinese Medicine research protocols for a prospective study of acupuncture’s efficacy in treating bladder dysfunction in post-menopausal women, led by urogynecologist Dr. Ilana Addis, MD/MPH, Division Director of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. The National Institute on Aging at the NIH funded the initial pilot study, which began in January, 2015 and continued with extension funding through 2017. Allen was the sole provider for the acupuncture treatment portion of the research and performed more than 500 treatments in this effort. Unfortunately, the data was not analyzed by the principal investigator – but some of Allen’s research clients were encouraged by their experience to request private care after the study period had been completed.
In 2010-2011 she was invited by Dr. Victoria Maizes, Executive Director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine (CIM) to be part of a select committee charged with creating a template for two small-scale, integrative Primary Care pilot clinics envisioned for Phoenix and Tucson. The resulting model of care placed Licensed Acupuncturists in a role equal to integrative physicians and suggested ways to integrate a Chinese herbal medicine dispensary component — but this forward-thinking vision of East + West within primary care is still awaiting manifestation… In late 2019, the CIM became the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.
Through previous involvement with the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine, the UA Cancer Center, and the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Allen has found avenues to encourage allopathic physicians and medical students to develop their understanding and respect for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine as a “whole system” of medical philosophy and clinical practice with much to offer the West. Her work has encouraged new paradigms of collaborative practice, despite current trends to the contrary – but there is always an array of physicians and surgeons under her care, many of whom refer complex patients to her from their specialities, as well.
Allen has been a member of the State professional society, AzSOMA (Arizona Society for Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture) and has supported the Society’s legislative efforts to improve the scope of practice and professional standing for Traditional Chinese Medicine in Arizona.
Prior to her medical career, from 1974 -1990 Allen accrued 15 years of cross-cultural expertise as a US Peace Corps Volunteer (Eswatini/Swaziland) and no-frills world traveler, an educator and curriculum designer, a language and area studies expert on Africa – and then became an international rural development economist, whose thesis and subsequent field work on apiculture (honeybees) and pollination as an economic strategy for low-income countries was ahead of its time. Devotion to her own writing and to the reading and study of quality literature has been a constant throughout her life — and she is committed to one day “spilling all the stories” of her travels, as well as applying her unique perspectives and experience to the subject of securing health and wellbeing through each decade of life.
Christy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in English (1974) from Washington & Jefferson College (PA). She began her undergraduate years as a pre-med/Biology major at Tulane University in New Orleans, but eventually saw the contours of Western medicine as too rigid for her taste, and dedicated her final year-and-a-half to achieving a degree in the blissful worlds of poetry and literature. No wonder that one of her early medical writings is an obscure piece entitled, “Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine: Poetry in Practice.” (Comprehensive Guide to Alternative Healing, 1999, Tucson, AZ.)
As a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer (1974 -’77) she taught English language and literature to high school students in rural Swaziland, now known as the Kingdom of Eswatini, in southern Africa. After completing her PCV service, she backpacked solo through Africa, the Near East and Europe.
Upon her return to the USA, Allen taught for two years at the Navajo Nation’s landmark Rough Rock Demonstration School, in Rough Rock, Arizona. It was the first non-BIA Indian school in the U.S. to gain local community control and conduct classes in the students’ native language. In addition to teaching high school English (as a foreign language) there, she developed a bi-cultural, age-appropriate curriculum for a Women’s Studies class, and managed the Adult Education summer program.
In late 1979, she left the classroom to accept an NDFL Fellowship in African Studies & Languages (Zulu & Swahili) at Michigan State University, where she simultaneously earned a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics. Her Master’s thesis focused on the economics of beekeeping and pollination as a strategy for economic development in low-income countries – a subject that has become even more critical in today’s food system. Her passion for apiculture led her to back to the field, this time to the rainforests of central Sumatra, Indonesia, where she co-managed a four-year development project involving traditional honey hunters and village beekeepers in Riau Province.
Transitioning in 1987 to Washington, DC while casting about for another overseas job, Allen worked on the foreign desk of The Washington Times; endured nearly a year’s stint in contract archaeology (digging and sifting soil at historical and First Nations’ sites in Maryland) and worked as a freelance international development consultant, designing proposals for small-scale agricultural projects in Africa and Indonesia. Her life has involved varying degrees of immersion in nine foreign languages – experience which she credits for the ability to think and reason in a multiplicity of ways – and her natural love of diverse people and cultures continues in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Christy Allen brings this wealth of global knowledge, diverse academic training, and personal courage in into her medical practice each day. She is also the mother of one incredible son, who has proved to love global adventures as much as she does!
Read her posts on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EnerQiHealth Email: Christy@EnerQiHealth.com (use your Mail program) – or call 520.401.9796