work life phases

shoshannaAbout me, Shoshanna Katzman

As a practitioner in the field of Chinese medicine for over 40 years, I offer professional and skillful healthcare services to my patients and students. As founder and director of the Red Bank Acupuncture & Wellness Center since 1988, an extraordinary environment has been established for people to attain their health and healing goals, a place where they feel welcome, comfortable and safe with full assurance they are in expert hands.

My specialties offered at our center include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, energy medicine, as well as Tai Chi and Qigong exercise. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal credentials obtained include national certification through the National Commission for Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and state licenses to practice in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and California.

My educational achievements include two Master Degrees, one in acupuncture from the Tri State College of Acupuncture and the other in sports medicine from San Francisco State University. I have completed a total of six years of formal herbal medicine training with Michael Tierra, Subhuti Dharmananda and Ted Kaptchuk. I am a Master’s Student Graduate from The Christine Schenk Institute for Applied Energy Body Medicine® with 14 years of study and supervision with its founder Christine Schenk.  As well as 14 years of combined Tai Chi and Qigong study with Bing Gong, Larry Johnson and Fong Ha as my major teachers.

As author of “Qigong for Staying Young: A Simple 20 Minute Workout to Cultivate Your Vital Energy” along with companion DVD I provide a way for people to learn Qigong. This book also serves as a self- help primer in Chinese medicine. As co-author of “Feeling Light-The Holistic Solution to Permanent Weight Loss and Wellness”, I teach readers to take focus off their weight and heal from within through a set of holistic healing tools.

As former chairperson of the New Jersey State Acupuncture Examining Board and board member since 1998, my professional expertise and opinion is shared to ensure consumer safety in the state of New Jersey. I help maintain national awareness and professionalism in the field of Tai Chi and Qigong as chairperson of the National Qigong Association Advisory Council, for which I was the first woman president.

I am a guest on radio shows on a regular basis discussing various Chinese medicine topics. At one point in my career, I co-hosted my own radio show. As an inspirational speaker and educator, I continue to present at a host of public forums. These have included eight annual women wellness conferences I co-produced in Monmouth County, New Jersey from 1996 to 2003. I have also been featured on television and radio shows as well as print media both locally and nationally, especially during a Feeling Light national 17 city book and radio tour.

My Personal Account

As a health-care provider, I have been on a four-decade quest for knowledge of how to best serve my patients and students.  Having trained with many master teachers in the field of social work, exercise physiology, acupuncture, herbal medicine, T'ai Chi, Qigong, and energy medicine - I have synthesized these teachings into a unique form of holistic healthcare.

The following is a personal account of the 10 major phases of my work life along with the teachers that have educated and inspired me along the way. This provides an insider view of the how and why I have become the practitioner I am today. I give tribute to all of my teachers and know I would not be the practitioner I am today without their guidance.

Work Life Phase 1: Social Work and Recreation

During senior year of college, my career goal was to become a gerontologist. I interned as a social work assistant in a nursing home and wrote a senior thesis entitled “The Sociological Construction of a Nursing Home”. This experience provided the basis for comprehensive interview skills, professional consultations, and increased ability to provide lifestyle recommendations to help others live a fuller, more balanced life. I continue to apply these skills to my work with patients and students to this day to establish healthy therapeutic relationships, combined with offering a wellness center environment that feels “just like home”.

read about social work experience

Work Life Phase 2: Therapeutic Chinese Exercise

As a competitive athlete in tennis, field hockey and basketball throughout high school and college, I found a new arena to develop my physical potential: the study of Tai Chi, Qigong, and Kung Fu. This began in 1974, through daily training with Sifu Bing Gong in the panhandle of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.  This became my training ground for Chinese exercise as well as entry into the field of Chinese medicine and energetic health. The self-healing potential of these exercises quickly became evident as the arthritic pain in my knees disappeared along with feeling more centered, energized, and at peace. The more I trained, the better I felt, leading toward daily practice of between two to six hours per day.

read about tai chi and qigong training

Work Life Phase 3: Therapeutic Massage

My next step toward study of holistic practices began with enrollment as a student at the San Francisco Massage Institute in California. Founded and directed by Margaret Elke, the curriculum included anatomy and physiology along with instruction in Swedish massage. Margaret Elke personally taught institute students her unique specialized holistic approach to bodywork, along with other highly trained and experienced instructors. Red Bank Acupuncture & Wellness Center has continued this ancient tradition, offering therapeutic massage in combination with the other ancient Chinese Medicine since its inception in 1988.

read about becoming a massage therapist

Work Life Phase 4: Sports Medicine and Acupressure

As a person who has always believed in the importance of both Western and Eastern approaches to health, I found it essential to offer my Tai Chi and Qigong students combined wisdom from both Western exercise physiology and ancient Chinese medicine. I thus began my studies in sports medicine at San Francisco State University to accomplish this goal and graduated with a Master’s Degree in 1981.

read about about a master's degree in excercise science

Work Life Phase 5: Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

The decision to become an acupuncturist and specialist in Chinese medicine has been one of the most significant and life-changing events in my life. The body of Chinese medicine knowledge is enormous and exciting, providing me with a lifetime of study in pursuit of mastery. To be able to help people restore hope and heal themselves is a precious honor and experience, one that brings great satisfaction – especially when they have exhausted all other possibilities, and literally come to me as their last resort. 

I began my studies when the Chinese medicine profession was in its infancy in the United States, joining my teachers as fellow pioneers. Little did we ever think that acupuncture would be accepted within the mainstream the way it is today. The profession has come a long way since these early days of the formation of the first acupuncture schools in San Francisco to acupuncture doctoral programs now burgeoning throughout the United States.

read about acupuncture apprenticeships

read about acupuncture college program

Work Life Phase 6: Herbal Medicine

My herbal studies began in 1981 and has encompassed four separate educational venues. The integration of these comprehensive, multifaceted training programs has enhanced my ability to provide patients with safe, customized herbal formulations. I received national certification in Chinese Herbal Medicine from the National Commission for the Certification of Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) in 1988. Since this time, my herbal expertise has been strengthened through both clinical experience and continuing education coursework specific to traditional Chinese herbalism.

Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the most complex and highly developed systems of herbal medicine. Determining the exact Chinese diagnosis of a patient is essential for achieving positive results through herbal treatment. This involves preliminary research into their condition according to Western Medicine combined with a Chinese medicine diagnosis. Analysis according to potential drug interactions, appropriate dosage, product quality, contraindications, and possible side effects is also an integral part of this process.

read about the four herbal training programs

Work Life Phase 7: Women Healing Women Conferences

Beginning in 1996, I co-produced eight annual wellness conferences with the purpose of creating a forum for women to learn the best from both Western and Eastern health-care practices. It was a day dedicated to the health of women. The original conference was organized and produced with myself working together with Holly Roberts, D.O., Marianne Roosels, M.D. and Wendy Shankin-Cohen, MFA - however the last several conferences were co-produced by Holly Roberts and me. The “Women Healing Women” symposiums drew thousands of woman and hosted keynote speakers such as Christiane Northrup, MD, Carolyn Myss, PhD, Richard Simmons, Coretta Scott King and Christine Schenk.

read about the women's conferences

Work Life Phase 8: Feeling Light

Feeling Light began with weekly meetings led by myself and nutritionist Wendy Shankin-Cohen, designed to help people deal with their weight problems through a holistic perspective. This was an innovative time where we formulated a weight management protocol based on our combined years of studying and practicing holistic therapies. The main purpose of this program was to introduce streamlined holistic methods to the mainstream for energetic and metabolic balancing based on both ancient Chinese healing techniques and a Western nutritional approach to health.

read about feeling light

Work Life Phase 9: Qigong for Staying Young

My next big undertaking was writing “Qigong for Staying Young: A Simple 20-Minute Workout to Cultivate Your Vital Energy” released by Avery Books in 2003. This book is not only a presentation of pictures and descriptions of how to perform each movement, but also explanation of what each movement does according to Chinese medicine as well as instruction on how to perform self-acupressure along with 25 symptoms that occur with aging, their derivation according to Chinese medicine and self-help suggestions including qigong exercises, mind-set, nutrition and energetic wisdom for living a life filled with energy, peace and a strong balanced mind, body and spirit.

read about qigong for staying young

Work Life Phase 10: Energy Medicine

I had personal experiences within the energetic realm since I was a little girl, ones I dared not discuss with anyone. It wasn’t until the ripe age of 24 that I heard anything about metaphysics. This information originated with hearing about people from my generation being drawn to California by teachers with extra-ordinary energetic abilities, some known as gurus. Hearing about this instantly raised my curiosity - little did I realize I would soon have such an experience.

read about energy medicine