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Exploring Life & Business with Rebecca Donnelly of BlueGreen Acupuncture and Bodywork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Donnelly.

Rebecca, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
In my early 20’s I struggled to keep a job. I was suffering from depression and was fired from every job I tried. My ability to handle stress was very low so whether in an office setting or a restaurant, I was not thriving and never lasted long. I was coming to the conclusion that there was no place for me. I was always plagued with the question “why am I here?” and feeling I might never find an answer. Now that I am in my 50’s, I have a lot of gratitude for being a young person that really wanted to find that answer.

Around the age of 21, I went to The Baltimore School of Massage back when it was on Broadway St. in an old brownstone. I immediately felt this healing work was a calling. Still plagued with insecurity, I felt some sense of knowing this was a good fit. I also believe learning about touch and healing is a real healing in and of itself.

Shortly afterwards, I fell in love with a Texan and moved to Austin, Tx. There I found my first “real job” working for a chiropractor doing massage therapy. I remember living in fear of being fired because that was all I knew. Each time the director brought me in for a chat, I was always amazed it was for positive feedback and my confidence grew.

In Austin, I continued studying bodywork at the Lauterstein-Conway Massage School. At the end of the studies, David Lauterstein asked me to join the teaching staff. Another huge hurtle in challenging my confidence, teaching massage therapy for seven years was life-changing.

During those years in Austin, I also spent a full month out in California at the Berkley Institute for Acupressure. There I fell in love with Asian styles of bodywork and the Asian system of Meridians. I came back to Austin and became very involved with helping teach the Shiatsu program at The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School. I had a busy private practice and taught at the school part-time. While I loved Austin and my work, I felt a pull to come back east and be closer to family. My relationship that brought me to Austin had ended and I felt like I could not energetically continue to do that much bodywork. My interest in Chinese Medicine was growing. When I found the Tia Sophia Institute in Maryland, it ticked all my boxes of wanting to further my studies and I would be closer to my family.

When I finished the program at Tai Sophia, I was newly married and pregnant. I did begin to practice acupuncture during those years but my main focus was on my family. When my children were off to school, I again began to focus on my practice and reconnected with another love of mine, dance. Eventually, I found my way to BlueGreen Acupuncture and Bodywork as a permanent location to practice acupuncture. I also began to dip my toes into teaching a dance wellness class called Nia which integrates dance, martial arts, and the healing arts.

I have always really loved the energy of this office where I practice and it is just blocks from my house. When the owner of BlueGreen began to contemplate selling to someone or closing the door, I began to contemplate becoming the owner of the healing studio. As those months went by, the answer became more clear for me. Yes, I do want to step up and be the owner of this healing studio. I wanted to create the space to have even more vibrancy. I envisioned wellness classes and a real sense of home and belonging for everyone that entered. I hoped to have outreach to communities in need and lend healing far and wide in the city of Baltimore.

I became the owner of BlueGreen Acupuncture in October of 2019. We did not have a full house of practitioners at that time. Shortly after that, Covid hit the world and we had to shut our doors. I had no idea how I would make rent and like the rest of the world, I was just sitting in the unknown. I trusted that the way would be shown. The PPP and the grants I received kept BlueGreen afloat. We re-opened our doors in July. Each month our community grows with new practitioners and new energy. We were able to take part in #payitforward911 by doing random good deeds around the city in honor of 9/11. Recently we were able to partner with Safe Streets Baltimore and give some healing treatments to violence interrupters. It is just a start but I am proud of those things and hope to do more of that as we grow.

I can say now that I am very proud of how far I have come. Being the owner of a healing studio again stretches my sense of self and my leadership skills. I am living in gratitude for having answered that huge question about my purpose. I think it is a good use of me!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I would say my biggest challenges stemmed from not believing in myself. In my late teens, my mother became very ill with bi-polar and both of my parents were consumed with trying to navigate that. Unfortunately, I was just launching and failing miserably and didn’t have any guidance available during those years. It made a big impact on what I believed was possible. Although I loved my work, my self-image and self-worth were keeping me from being more successful. I wasn’t aware that the illness of depression was keeping me from moving forward. I searched for relief in so many ways including therapy, dance, herbs, and yoga. When I finally tried western medicine in my middle 30’s things changed dramatically. With that tweak in brain chemistry, I finally realized the true weight of the imbalance. Life was significantly easier to navigate with the right brain chemistry.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about BlueGreen Acupuncture and Bodywork?
BlueGreen Acupuncture and Bodywork is a collection of independent healers with a desire to offer high-quality one on one treatment options for specific symptoms as well as overall wellness. We currently have acupuncturists, herbalists, massage therapists, and a CraniosSacral practitioner. We have a small amount of retail with essential oils, CBD topical creams, and Chinese Herbal formulas. Our space is extremely inviting and warm, filled with color, art, and lots of living things. We are a green business with a very light environmental footprint and the space is very accommodating for all people to enter and move around with ease. Also we plenty of parking! We recently partnered with some of the people from Safe Streets to offer some affordable options for healing for the important work they do to interrupt violence in Baltimore. I hope to do more in the future to help our city heal from long-standing racism and inequality.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
What matters most to me is staying curious about how to keep creating a life with more ease and joy and meaning. It matters to me to make a difference in other people’s lives. I spent so many of my years in a place where my focus was in and on the suffering. For me, it was all-consuming and very much part of my family DNA. I now know that the journey I have been on is one of discovering how to keep shifting that story so that life keeps opening up. There will always be sorrow and pain and I have learned that it also can be the fuel that brings more meaning to life. I believe my inability to hold a job or really care for myself in my early 20’s, the sorrows of my family of origin, and waking up to painful world events is a large part of what gives my life meaning and direction. I am so deeply grateful for the life I have created where I get to be a healer, a dancer, and a community builder. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself as I am walking to work to do something I love in partnership with other practitioners. It is deeply gratifying.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Instagram: @bluegreenacupuncture
  • Facebook: BlueGreen Acupuncture and Bodywork
  • Other: instagram @RebeccaNiaandNeedles

Image Credits
Kicking image from video by All others taken by iPhones the indoor picture is of the waiting area inside BlueGreen

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