Act 2: You're On!

The Eastern Healing Arts! Meet Orla Callahan

July 21, 2022 Kate & Rhonda Season 2 Episode 10
Act 2: You're On!
The Eastern Healing Arts! Meet Orla Callahan
Show Notes Transcript

Do you feel stuck? Is your energy low? Are you in chronic pain? Beyond the reactive approach of Western medicine, are you ready to explore other proven methods that bring with them 1000s of years of evidence and efficacy? Well, meet Orla Callahan who received her master's in acupuncture in 2008 and is licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Medicine she has been practicing in the Metrowest Boston area since 2016.

Orla is also a Qigong instructor and she uses this practice to help her patients and herself with self cultivation and all kinds of health issues deeply wise and contemplative. A session with Orla is purposeful, carefully considered, tailored and healing for the body, mind and spirit. You’ll also enjoy the lilt of her accent as she grew up and lived in Ireland until her twenties.

Highlights include:


“It was a very male oriented world, which has definitely influenced me now and where I want to go with my big picture of my purpose, which is helping women find a level playing field in the world. So anyway, in my work as an engineering consultant, it actually wasn't at full 180 degree turn, I realized, because it was all about solving problems. And really what that meant for me was helping people work together. The heads of different departments would often clash -  not speak to each other or whatever, those kinds of problems…. However, there is such an amazing similarity because the work I do now is helping all of the body parts integrate, work together, communicate with each other, so that we are at our optimal level of functioning.”

“This is the ancient Chinese sages, when they were meditating or practicing Qigong, they pretty much downloaded the whole acupuncture system, the meridians. And it is, basically acupuncture is a spiritual practice, which comes from Qigong, which is a more obvious spiritual practice. It's, it's comparable to yoga, I guess, right? Because so many people know what yoga is. Qigong is like the Chinese - I don't want to say it's the Chinese equivalent, but that's a good way to start thinking about. The postures are pretty much all standing postures. And it is really a way of connecting with universal energy to help you, us, all of us heal ourselves. So the reason I love it so much, right is because it's like acupuncture. It's like acupuncture without the needles, which is always like people love that concept, right? But it's even more powerful than acupuncture because you are doing the work you have to do the work is right. So you are doing the work yourself. There's no middleman. It's just you connecting with the universe and stretching out your meridians and getting the Chi from the universe getting the energy from the universe to heal yourself on all these levels, body mind spirit.”

For more information about our guest:
Website:
https://orlacallahan.com/
LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/orla-callahan-1977133/

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Rhonda: Welcome to Act 2:

You're On! Join Us Weekly at our studio roundtable as Rhonda

Kate:

and Kate invite spectacular guests to weigh in on staying vibrant and healthy

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Kate:

Summon your courage superstar and step into the limelight. So grab a coffee

Rhonda:

or a martini

Kate:

and let's set the stage for a grand entrance. It's Act Two.

Act 2 Share Our Stage:

You're on.

Kate:

Greetings, friends and welcome. I am Kate Leavey and I'm here with my stellar A2YO co host

Rhonda:

I'm Rhonda Garvin Conway. Thanks Kate. And we are joined by our super talented producer Cathy Carswell

Kate:

and I am thrilled to talk to Orla Callahan today licensed acupuncturist and Qi Gong practitioner, and generally one of the wisest healers I know. So to our listeners, are you in chronic pain? Do you feel stuck? Is your energy low? Beyond the reactive approach of Western medicine, are you ready to explore other proven methods that bring with them 1000s of years of evidence and efficacy?

Rhonda:

Yes, yes.

Kate:

Good. Me too. Then this is a timely conversation for you and for Rhonda and for me as well. So let me tell you a little bit about Orla Callahan, who received her master's in acupuncture in 2008 and is licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Medicine she has been practicing in Natick since 2016. She is also a Qigong instructor Chi Gong from which acupuncture originated, and she uses this practice to help her patients and herself with self cultivation and all kinds of health issues deeply wise and contemplative. A session with Orla is purposeful, carefully considered and constructed and healing for the body, mind and spirit. I know because I speak from experience. When not doing this work she loves so dearly you will find Orla cheering on her son's soccer team kayaking in the lake by her house, and spending time in Ireland where she was born and lived until her mid 20s. Welcome or Orla,

Orla Callahan:

Thank you so much great to be here.

Kate:

Well, I am thrilled that you're here. You've been a really important person not only allowing me a different approach to healing through acupuncture, but then I loved learning Qigong with you. And I look forward to continuing that practice as well, because that has been remarkable for my body. That's just an endorsement for folks out there who might be in chronic pain, because Orla is definitely part of the reason that I am no longer in such chronic pain. So there's hope for you out there, folks, if you've been in pain. Seems like you made a big career transition to arrive at acupuncture. So can you talk about that transition? And what led you to acupuncture?

Orla Callahan:

Well, so the transition was from my first career, which was industrial engineering. So I worked as an operations consultant in the semi-conductor world for many, good few years, six or seven years. You know, it was rewarding in the beginning, but somehow I ended up there based on my schooling. Go to school as a kid, I probably never heard of acupuncture. But I do know, I was always really interested in energy, the whole concept of energy, what it is, how it works, everything from electricity, to that feeling you get when you walk into a room, and you know that people in there just had a fight. Right? So always fascinated by that. Anyway, I had no idea, you know how to make that into a career when I was a teenager. And anyway, I ended up studying engineering, which was fine. I liked it, to certain extent, had some great experiences. In my first years, I worked for a really small company. And then I thought, Oh, this it, you know, wow, I do nothing. I'm going to be doing this in 40 years time. Big picture now that I can look back there was done. It was very male oriented world, which has definitely influenced me now and where I want to go with my big picture of my purpose, which is helping women find a level playing field in the world. So anyway, in my work as an engineering consultant, it actually wasn't at full 180 degree turn, I realized, because so it was all about solving problems. And really what that meant for me was helping people work together. The heads of different departments would often clash not speak to each other or whatever, those kinds of problems. That's how I held to it. So then I took the Speak made a big change, and now I am an acupuncturist. However, there is such an amazing similarity because the work I do now is helping all of the body parts integrate, work together, communicate with each other, so that we are at our optimal level of functioning. So I will say now that I can look back, absolutely, there are similarities.

Rhonda:

I love that example. Because I don't know that anyone would necessarily draw a line like that. What a beautiful metaphor, right? That we're communicating. And our body needs to communicate as a system and function together, just like we do as relational people. Amazing, right?

Orla Callahan:

Absolutely, absolutely. And that is what it's all about. That's what acupuncture is all about. It's about relationships. And it's about oneness, the whole concept, everything is connected.

Rhonda:

So say more for me, and for our audience about what the story became, as you were working in the engineering field doing the work you're doing, and then acupuncture, did you have a personal experience with it? How did it come to be?

Orla Callahan:

No, I did not. For many people, they experienced acupuncture. And they thought, wow, this is amazing. I want to learn more. So no, not my story. I was just kind of searching. I knew I wanted something in the healing world. And I knew I wasn't Western medicine. I didn't know why. But so what I love about it is that we work with the positive, right, we work with the potential of the person. And it's very much a positive experience. Like I want to connect with the good everyday, as opposed to - I know many wonderful people that are in western medicine. But what totally like, pushed me away it was it really has to do with illness and disease. And I don't want that I don't want to be thinking about illness and disease all day, every day. So that's what I can say in terms of why the transition, you know, was a holistic Eastern way of thinking. I don't really know how it happens. Like, I don't have a big story. I was searching, I was totally searching there. And there's a school, an acupuncture school, in, new neighbors moved now it's in Worcester. And I thought, Okay, this seems pretty, you know, viable. It's been around a long time, it's pretty well established. I'm going to look into it. It was kind of like that, you know, I looked into other things briefly, are you VEDA medicine? I did take some classes in bodywork, just to see how I felt, you know, my comfortable working with the human body. So I actually became a massage therapist, I took one class, I loved it. So I kept going. And I became a massage therapist when I was still in my engineering world. And then I just knew like, Okay, I have to, I have to go this way. Work with people in there, you know, to help them feel better. function better operate better.

Rhonda:

Well, what a brave example you are, to all of us.

Orla Callahan:

Yeah, well, I kind of have to, you know, I don't know why, but I had to do it. That's what it felt like.

Kate:

And I'm wondering, so I mentioned Qigong in your bio, can you explain what that is and why it's so awesome. love it. It's

Orla Callahan:

So I my favorite thing. It's my favorite part of my work, right? So This is where acupuncture came from. This is the ancient Chinese sages, when they were meditating or practicing Qigong, they pretty much downloaded the whole acupuncture system, the meridians. And it is, basically acupuncture is a spiritual practice, which comes from Qigong, which is a more obvious spiritual practice. It's, it's comparable to yoga, I guess, right? Because so many people know what yoga is. Quigong is like the Chinese - I don't want to say it's the Chinese equivalent, but that's a good way to start thinking about. The postures are pretty much all standing postures. And it is really a way of connecting with universal energy to help you, us, all of us heal ourselves. So the reason I love it so much, right is because it's like acupuncture. It's like acupuncture without the needles, which is always like people love that concept, right? But it's even more powerful than acupuncture because you are doing the work you have to do the work is right. So you are doing the work yourself. There's no middleman. It's just you connecting with the universe and stretching out your meridians and getting the Chi from the universe getting the energy from the universe to heal yourself on all these levels, body mind spirit.

Kate:

And I have to say, as a little testimonial, so when I practice Qigong and - I have to say, I fall on and off that wagon. But when I'm doing it, I wake up in the morning with energy, and I wake up and my body does not hurt, my neck doesn't hurt. It's sort of miraculous. And it and these are not crazy hard motions. Everybody can do them. I mean, unless you're, you're you are impaired in some way or you're injured. They are simple motions, you have to be taught them, but they are easy to do at home by yourself. That difference in my quality of life when I am in that practice is just remarkable. So now I've just scolded myself in my mind, and I thought, I'm going to do some of my I'm going to start back into it, because it is remarkable how different my body feels when I'm doing and they're not hard. This is not complicated. It's very beautiful. And it's very, they're very natural motions.

Orla Callahan:

Absolutely. And that is the beauty of it. It's simple, but it's also challenging. Like, it looks really easy. If somebody's walking by and they see a group of people doing Qigong, oh, that looks like nothing. But when you're doing it, it really is working on what we believe is the energy level of the body, right. So it affects the muscular system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, all the systems are affected and improved. But the work of Qigong and Tai Chi, the work is on the energy level, so the movements are slower to access it. But then once you like, get into it, you feel it you feel the energy, you feel your body changing and shifting in a really good ways. So the beauty is anybody can do it anywhere, anytime you don't need any equipment and and it's really powerful. I just love sharing it with people because it's incredible. The benefits.

Kate:

Yeah, and you absolutely can practice it on your own. But I have to say, my favorite is when you run your zoom you do these classes you can sign up for that's really good for me. I really love this you know, they're a great check in and then I it gets me back doing it. And then I don't know something makes me fall off. But it is oh yeah, they just very special these motions there. You know, if you get a chance to study with Orla, you will never I defy you to not feel better from learning this art form. And you can it's very accessible.

Orla Callahan:

Yeah, absolutely. And I guess I just want to mention for people that might be listening that know something about she gone. So my teacher is Grandmaster Nan Lu. He is a Chinese guy in his mid 60s. Now, He's based in New York City. He came to the States about 30 years ago. So his lead is the holder of two lineages. That's how the whole Tai Chi Qigong world works. It's like who - where does it come from? How far back does it go? So one of his lineages that we now work with gosto Lao Tzu, if you know that name, is one of the ancient Chinese famous philosophers. So that's pretty special.

Kate:

That is very special. My favorite high school English teacher gave me that book, one of his heroes when I was young, and that I still carry it around with me to this day

Orla Callahan:

Yeah.

Rhonda:

That's extraordinary. He's Yeah, Orla, if someone out there or right here, in my seat, is in transition, maybe let's say it's me.

Kate:

You're asking for a friend whose name happens to be Rhonda?

Rhonda:

Aren't we always though, right? The one thing we can count on is we're forever evolving and changing and growing. And so transition is part of being human. How can acupuncture help us as we are in a stage of transition?

Orla Callahan:

In so many ways? I mean, simple answer is help you achieve inner peace. That's it. Right? That's, that's my simple answer. That's everything. That's because that's everything, right? It's like keeping you're keeping it together. While these transitions happen. Like you said, we're, we're always in transition. And like right now, my goodness, humanity is in a big transition. Yes. And what I certainly hear in my office, from the acupuncture clients and the Qigong groups, when we talk about, you know, what's going on with them. People are struggling with a lot of simple like health symptoms, because of either the big transition, we're going through coming out of COVID or other individual things that might be going on people like, you know, changing jobs, getting divorced, those kind of, so it all impacts us emotionally, and a very deep level. So the work acupuncture does is very much on an emotional level. It's like there are three levels the body mind, spirit, it's like the body, we say the body never Lies, it will tell you what's really going on. The mind will lie, it will tell you all kinds of things, right? And usually not. I mean, sometimes not great things. And that's when you need to know or don't listen to that right or listen to that voice. So on the emotional level, we do a lot of work, right? And things like so I say inner peace. And that means that acupuncture can help you sleep well. It's like the basic foundations of health, right? Sleeping, well, eating well, like for some people they eat when they're stressed, for example, you can certainly work on that, right? Moving Well, thinking well, and pooping, while they're generally the five, round foundational aspects of physical and mental acupuncture can do all of those things help with all of those things. And what I see then is like the physical manifestation can be such a wide range of symptoms that people come in suffering from, right, they'll have the physical symptoms, but the goal is, oftentimes, the real problem is they're going through some kind of a transition. I mean, it could be a good transition as well, right? They're moving somewhere new and exciting, but it's still emotional. So their sleep is off. So it's like helping them calm down. Remember how amazing we are as human beings, how much potential we have to heal ourselves. And I really believe, like, get better. All the time, I don't think we have to suddenly reach to our major decide, oh, this is it. It's all over. I think we can continue to get better. And like spiral up.

Rhonda:

I love that image.

Kate:

I talked about the physical benefit for me. But I also would say that there's a clarity of thought, it's almost like I'm walking around like in the fog of concussion or something. And I feel like when I'm in the practice of Qigong, and when I'm in for regular acupuncture, that is energy flow, I find decision making comes faster or more naturally, it's really, it's remarkable, I believe.

Orla Callahan:

It really does put you in touch with your True Self Love, which is such a thing everybody's talking about now, because we can because we're past the stage of at least you know where we live, right, we have enough to eat, we have a place to live and all the rest. So, now it's like people are trying to self actualize or don't, you know, find their purpose, all those kinds of things. And I know there are many people going through those kinds of transitions of trying to leave behind some kind of safety, and then jump into what they really want. And at that level, so I'll talk for a second about the spiritual level of Chinese medicine. So Chinese medicine incorporates acupuncture, herbs, Tai Chi and Qigong cupping, made famous by Michael Phelps, and you know, one or two other modalities MCSA, for example, right, so that is the umbrella of Chinese medicine. And I just want to talk for a moment about the whole, like, the spiritual level of acupuncture and Chinese myths, because this is the highest level, this is what it means is, are we waking up every day and living our true purpose. And so people will come in for acupuncture, you know, because they have aches and pains. And then over time, what seems like totally unrelated, they realize, oh, I quit my job, and I started my own business. And I truly believe practice of acupuncture - like you say it, it helps like clear the mind. And it helps people figure out what's going on what's important. My teacher has plenty of stories about people that come to see him kind of on death's door, right? They have been given pretty serious news about their health, but you know, nothing can be done for them. And his message to them is always, what do you want to do. And so there's a great story about this one guy in New York City who left his high powered job that was really stressing him out. And he went to Florida, and he lives on a boat. And he was given, you know, a few months to live. And now three years later, he's doing great. And the whole idea is about really realizing what makes you happy. What is your purpose? Big picture stuff of like, what's it all about? And, you know, oftentimes those aches or pains or more serious health issues can be the signal from the inside saying, hey, something's up. You need to change course you need to transition somehow. Hmm.

Kate:

So for skeptics out there, and for folks who have also maybe exhausted their options, and they've just kind of given up, what can you advise them regarding acupuncture, Qigong and the other tools that you offer.

Orla Callahan:

So some people are desperate when they come into my office, and I understand that. So I say, just give it a try if you're open, but I also believe it's not for everybody, you know, there are definitely skeptics that should try something else, because they're more willing to try something else, you know, their belief system is elsewhere. And that's fine. You know, that's fine. I think there's, I think there is something for everybody in the healthcare world. But if people are curious, they want to give it a try. Oh, my goodness, just try it. And allow yourself a few visits, like three or four visits is what I tell people when they come for acupuncture, just allow your body to experience it over time. And you know, nine out of 10 times more than that - more than nine out of 10. People love it, because they feel the benefits. And regardless of why they come for acupuncture, this applies to Qigong as well. They feel relaxed. And you know, when you're relaxed, it's like, everything's better. It's kind of like when you sleep, everything is better. So regardless of why people come for acupuncture, often-times, the focus for me will be to make sure they're sleeping well, because that's such a key component to good health.

Kate:

So curious, open and not intimidated. I feel like we have a little conversation. And then a lot of the revelations, they just come it's not because you're digging around, I don't even know that I'm digging around. But I feel like the energy starts to flow. And it's like I was saying decision become a little bit easier. And things just become a little more clear. And it feels kind of like it's magic. But then it doesn't, it just feels like - oh, I've been actually returned to myself, whatever, I felt stuck in my body. I'm not like my mind's not concentrating on that anymore. And it's freed up to have bigger, better thoughts.

Orla Callahan:

Exactly right. That's exactly right, it gets you back in your body settles down the mind. So you can so on one way, that's how the body heals itself, it just kind of gets us out of our own way. And then it goes to work to heal itself. All right,

Kate:

All right - now - after - right afterward, I'll have to immediately text you and get back in!

Rhonda:

These are amazing directions that we can all go in, through this practice that you offer. And I'm curious if you could jump into the next segment of our interview and tell us that one thing and maybe it's a few things that our audience could benefit from hearing about what's most helpful, maybe it's something you've experienced, it's that golden nugget that you can share that we can hold on to to help us do transition and life with a bit more ease and a bit more grace and a bit better health.

Orla Callahan:

So I thought about this one. So obviously, I will say I think the practice of Qigong personally has changed my life. And it has helped me believe that anything is possible, and that life can keep getting better. And that, you know, I can go through whatever transitions come about, you know, and it's not all fun and games, but it has really made me stronger. And and the changes I have seen in other people aren't remarkable. So absolutely. Qigong is really, really helpful for transitions, right, as we add also, like we just talked about acupuncture can help help you achieve inner peace help you sleep better, basic tenants of health, regardless of what might be going on. So then the other thing I'm going to mention, this is ancient natural medicine, healing, the dandelion, okay, the image of the dandelion is it pops up everywhere. And it's like, you can't get rid of it in your garden. No matter what you do, right? You go to Home Depot or your local garden center, and you get all these chemicals, and you spray the dandelion, and even though one might it might wilt but it's like you know, the next day the cousin pops up. You just kind of get rid of the dandelions. So what I suggest is that you eat dandelions, especially in springtime that are the season we're in right now. It really helps the liver which is also the season we're in right now for spring. But dandelions are amazing. If you can connect a bat at the level of the essence of the dandelion, nothing will stop you. You will go Go to your transition. Because just like dandelions grown out in your yard, nobody can get rid of it. If you become dandelion, nothing will stop you. So you can make tea. Yeah. So you can Yeah, you can pick them from your yard and boil them that way and make tea. Or you can just like saute them and eat them as a salad. Or you can buy them in grocery stores now that you know, they're easy to find. Then it's my mother's.

Rhonda:

Love that two nuggets. Why does the dandelion get a bad rap? Yeah. And I've had the nd bind T. Yeah. Yeah. But write out your own backdoor.

Orla Callahan:

Yeah. So the T. I mean, yeah, this is very general, but the T will generally be way too weak. To get this level of connection. You need to buy the green dandelions, boil them and drink that tea. All

Kate:

right. I'm giving it a whirl. So I am the timekeeper. So we're sadly coming to the end of this awesome conversation. But before we go, let me ask what is coming next for you

Orla Callahan:

Well, moving further along with all these Orla, aspects of my work that I love. So for example, you know, the whole conversation is about transitions, like us, it's what I do see everyday is we are all going through the transition right now keeping myself strong, and then helping other people just move through the next few months, the next couple of years help people, you know, there's been so much fear, and everything over the past couple of years, I feel like I want to help people remember how powerful they all are, how the body can do so much, and how we can, how we just need to tap into that wisdom of our body. And remember, like how amazing we are, and try to lift some of that emotional turmoil that's definitely out there. A lot of worry, a lot of fear. So basically, working with my clients to help them feel good just to help them feel good in themselves with their health. But bigger picture is also that but I really believe it is time for the women to step up to more equal roles. And my role in that it's the same I want to help women achieve better health. So they can go out there and you know, save the world

Kate:

and spiral up.

Orla Callahan:

Yes, spiral. Yeah,

Rhonda:

I really love Well, we're going to join you. Oh,

Kate:

amen. Yeah,

Rhonda:

you're on your team.

Kate:

Yes. And, and I'll be calling for my appointment soon. Like immediately, actually. So thank you, thank you so much for joining us. I thank you for all the impact that you've had on my life for sure. But but for sharing your wisdom and your presence here today, you have important work to do for the world. So we're honored to, to get to share your wisdom and your goodness and to let folks know that you can feel better, and you can do better. And this might be really an important moment for you to have had this conversation. My hope for you is you know, if you don't live in the Massachusetts area, and you can't meet Orla you actually could do zoom classes with her or Quigong that way, but I hope that you know that there are lots of different ways to feel great and to spiral up, because the world certainly does need us all at our best. Yep, thank you. Thank you for this wisdom.

Rhonda:

So folks and friends, please know that you can find out more about Orla and learn about when she's having these amazing classes, etc, etc. At Orlacallahan.com Or you can find her at LinkedIn.

Kate:

Let's do it.

Rhonda:

Yes. All right. Thank you so much Orla. It was a privilege and a pleasure to have this conversation today. And a big thank you to Cathy Carswell, our producer for making it all possible.

Kate:

And so it's left to me to say go forth. Be brave, live well and do good because it's act two

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Kate:

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Rhonda:

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Kate:

I do like coffee.

Rhonda:

No no, you don't need any more caffeine Kate. Buy us a coffee is a platform that folks can use to support entrepreneurs and artists like us

Kate:

so we can keep providing resources for the doers and dreamers to find connection, purpose and the skills needed to create a sustainable, fulfilling life to better serve the world. And also so we can buy more coffee.

Rhonda:

Oh Kate, thanks for listening everyone