Hi, I'm Dr. Sophia Scheffel, L.Ac, owner of Diablo Acupuncture in Lafayette.
People’s second question, after how does acupuncture work, is often how did you become interested in acupuncture? A long slow journey and a lot of twists along the way.
At a young age, I was the kid that when people asked “what do you want to when you grow up?” I knew. I knew I wanted to be a doctor. This is perhaps because I grew up rather sick and was in and out of doctor’s office and frequently the hospital.
But in college at UC Berkeley I started to contemplate what being a doctor meant. And I realized, no way. There was no way I wanted to actually go to med school and besides, most of the doctors I had seen over my life had not actually helped me all that much.
So I spent the next 8 years post-college working in investment real estate consulting and while it was fun and a good job to pay the bills, the last few years I was working I knew this wasn’t a long-term career for me. My passions laid elsewhere.
Meanwhile, since the age of about 6, I have been working with acupuncturists for my chronic health issues and that’s what’s always helped me and quite honestly has kept me alive and out of hospitals now. And then it finally hit me. My young heart was right; I did want to be a doctor. It just took me a few years to realize, I was meant to be a doctor of acupuncture. So off I went to the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco and completed both my masters and eventually my doctorate in Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and herbology. And I’ve never looked back.
I’m always enthralled by this medicine and its incredible power to help people heal whatever might ail them, whether it’s chronic pain, a chronic illness or general stress to even questions of the spirit and soul. I enjoy working with people on their healing journey and being witness to each person’s incredible transformation.
Practicing acupuncture isn’t just a career for me, it’s a passion, a hobby and a life calling. I’m continually in classes and learning something new about this medicine that I’m always excited to bring back to my clinic. I’ve spent 2 years learning 5 element acupuncture with the renowned Lonny Jerrett, which looks at the spirit and how our ingrained constitution can affect health. In school, I had the great fortune to study medical qi gong with Dr. Suzanne Friedman as she was undergoing cancer treatment for stage 4 lung cancer. This sparked a passion to work with oncology patients in my own practice and my doctorate research was on the integration of acupuncture and oncology care. Herbs play a profound role in health and I’m currently studying with Suzanne Robidoux from Beijing, an herbalist with unparalleled knowledge and understanding. My on-going studies are with Daoist master, herbalist and acupuncturist Dr. Jeffery Yuen who's grasp of Chinese Medicine is like no other. Each of these teachers gives me a profound insight into how to best approach each patient's unique situation.
When I'm not in the office or in a classroom, my other passions are the outdoors - backpacking, kayaking or hiking with my two dogs (who, yes, also get acupuncture) and I can be found in local Lafayette yoga or pilates classes, learning tai chi or at one of the Bay Area's climbing gyms. I love a good book and am always open to new suggestions.