Sun streams through the window of Revive Therapeutics. The small waiting room, mildly Asian-inspired and adorned with a vase of orange flowers and neat stacks of books, emits a feeling of calm. Like it should.
Revive, which houses and co-operates with Hillside Acupuncture, opened in Seward Park in early June.
Hillside Acupuncture is the creation of Keith Judelman, 29, who opened his own acupuncture practice in 2009 after graduating from the Wu Hsing Tao School.
“I kind of just went for it,” Keith says. “I have these skills, I wanted to share them. The more and more I learn, the more I can see what is going on in people around me.”
Keith, who grew up in Seattle and went to Seattle Hebrew Academy and Garfield High before getting a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Western Washington University, became interested in Chinese medicine as part of a natural progression from an interest in Chinese martial arts and natural medicine.
“I’ve been studying Kung Fu since high school,” he says, “and that realm includes Qi Gong and Chinese yoga. For about five or six years I was studying Chinese medicine informally on my own and reading books and doing my Kung Fu training.”
Keith holds a second-degree black belt in Kung Fu, Shuai Chiao, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong and teaches at Evergreen Kung Fu School. In his spare time.
Via Qi Gong and the Chinese practice of energy work, Keith was inspired to explore Chinese healing arts further, and he was driven to practice acupuncture by the idea of living seasonally.
“If we look at what’s fresh and seasonal in the farms,” he explains, “that’s pretty much a good guide.”
He explains how we can understand our own bodies and energy systems by watching nature progress throughout the course of a year.
Diet, exercise and adequate sleep are the keys to wellbeing, he says.
“I can’t emphasize more the value of good sleep and exercise,” he says. But when the body is off and starts to malfunction, Keith explains that acupuncture, by way of the body’s energy channels, can correct the root cause of the problem.
Keith specializes in pain management and anxiety, or mental, emotional imbalances. He considers his treatment success rate around 75–80 percent, but that depends on the commitment of the patient.
“I always tell people to come four or five times,” he says, explaining that it’s like a course of antibiotics: You still have to finish your course even if you feel better.
“I definitely encourage people — especially those with unresolved issues they haven’t been able to figure out — to try it out, whether it’s me or another practitioner,” Keith says.
Keith moved his practice to Seward Park from Wallingford partly because “the South End is just much more underserved than the North End.” In Wallingford, he says, he opened his practice in a neighborhood with about 40 other acupuncturists.
Furthermore, he feels an affiliation with the Jewish community, a lot of which lives in Seward Park. He hopes he and his business associate at Revive can create a neighborhood clinic.
Keith notes that in addition to a bookshelf full of Chinese medicine and Taoist philosophy, he is also influenced by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Martin Buber, Aryeh Kaplan and Shlomo Carlebach. He relates strongly to Chassidut, as well as to the spirituality of the world outside of Judaism.
“I grew up in Seattle,” he explains. “Many of my friends are not Jewish. I was a cultural anthropology major. I’m very much into diversity and different cultures.
“I don’t try and keep the outside world out. To me there’s truth and beauty in everything.”
Keith relates his spiritual side and his interest in healing energy to his lifelong passion, music. The bassist plays with the Jewish-style group Sasson and with Picoso, a salsa band.
Music “was a good backdrop to get into this because it’s also very much about how different energies communicate,” he says.
All of what he does, he says, brings him closer to God.
“To me the essence is striving to make a space for Hashem in this world — recognizing the unity of all creation and being grateful for life in all its transformations,” he writes in an email. “In practice I see this as finding our tikkun (our piece in an integrated whole) and pursuing it.”
Regarding any naysayers who disregard the value of acupuncture, “Just come, experience it,” Keith says. “I don’t feel like I have to fight to prove it, because it’s been around for 5,000 years and it’s been working and it’s served billions of people.”