“I feel humbled that people of color seek me out. I try to run a very culturally responsive practice.”
— Sita Symonette
Black Pearl Acupuncture in Portland’s Pearl District is owned and operated by Sita Symonette, a native of Olympia, Washington, who moved here to pursue her goal of becoming a healer. Sita knew she wanted to enter the medical field when she was eight years old. After undergraduate study in biological psychology with the goal to go to a western medical school she says, “I found out about Chinese medicine and was amazed that you can treat pain and many illnesses without drugs. I switched paths.”
Sita offers acupuncture, cupping, and herbal treatments and focuses on treating acute and chronic pain, fertility and women’s health. She funded her business through savings and the Native American Youth and Family Center’s IDA program, working multiple jobs in other clinics for her first few years of practice. Seven years later, the business is doing well.
“I provide culturally responsive care by responding to the healthcare issues of my diverse clients,” she says. “My acupuncture practice is unique in that at least 50% of my patients are people of color.” Along with colleague Adrianna Locke, she’s now exploring the potential of acupuncture to treat the trauma caused by racism as manifested in the form of PTSD and such symptoms as high blood pressure, insomnia, and anxiety. “It’s been scientifically shown that racism can essentially cause PTSD and similarly there’s evidence that acupuncture can effectively treat PTSD. We want to bring people together to heal the effects of racism through acupuncture.”
She believes that her own self-growth and self-reflection have a direct effect on her practice. “It’s a special thing to put that work in and then see your clients benefit,” she says. “There’s always the continuous growth of knowledge. It fuels my passion to always improve the ways I can help people heal.”
Black Pearl Acupuncture.com