For Blake Estape, DiplOM, the road to opening his Pinecrest-based acupuncture practice, Miami Acupuncture and Herbal Solutions (MiamiAcuSolutions.com), has been a long and winding one stretching from South Florida to China.
But for the 35-year-old graduate of Miami Killian — who recently opened his practice at 9719 S. Dixie Hwy. — the journey was worth it.
“When I first visited as part of a Tai chi group in 2005 — as a 20-year-old — I never expected to end up spending the next 10 years in China,” Estape said. “I simply wanted to experience the culture and return home. Little did I know that the neck and shoulder pain I was experiencing would lead me down this path.”
Because of that pain, Estape got to experience authentic Chinese acupuncture for the first time — and he was “hooked.”
“I fell in love, not just with the acupuncture itself, but with the entire culture and philosophy,” he said. “I wanted to learn about acupuncture and eventually bring its healing power back to South Florida.”
But before he could do that, Estape faced a couple of major hurdles.
First, to stay in China, he had to find work in Shijiazhuang, the Provisional Capital two hours south of Bejing. Secondly, to study at Hebei Medical University — one of the top acupuncture schools in the country — Estape needed to learn Mandarin.
He solved problem No. 1 by getting a job with a non-profit organization teaching English to students ranging from kindergarten to adults. While he was helping his students with English, he spent the next five years learning Mandarin.
His teaching job, in addition to enabling him to learn Mandarin, came with an unexpected “perk” for Estape. He met Cynthia Guo, his teaching assistant, who eventually would become his wife.
Once he graduated the five-year course at Hebei, Estape and his bride returned to Miami where she works as an early childhood education teacher — teaching Mandarin — while he worked for local acupuncturists before opening Miami Acupuncture and Herbal Solutions.
“Acupuncture has been around for more than 3,000 years,” Estape said. “Many hospitals now recognize the positive benefits of this ancient proven healing technique; the World Health Organization recommends acupuncture and even Medicare covers some procedures.
“It’s been a long, interesting journey, but I came back not just to ‘open’ a practice but to bring the healing power of true Chinese acupuncture to patients in South Florida,” he said.
For more information about the benefits of acupuncture, call 786-514-3942 or visitonline at MiamiAcuSolutions.com.