About Lydia Wainwright


Lydia Wainwright, Acupuncturist and Owner

On June 30,1979, at the age of 10, I got on a horse for the first time. From that moment forward, I knew what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to be a professional with horses. To ride, train, teach, and compete. And I did. I even got up to the first level of international competition in Eventing, which is like a horse triathlon. But fate had other plans for me.

Lydia at a competition in 1991

I was sickly as a child. I had strep throat at the age of 6 months and continued to get it at least twice a year throughout my childhood. That led to many, many doses of anti-biotics, which lead to other issues. By the time I was 18, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, which is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your large intestines leading to severe pain, diarrhea, blood, mucous, all that icky stuff. I was treated for it and even though most of my symptoms still abounded, I ignored them.

Even though I was totally excellent at ignoring my health issues and pushing through my symptoms, I inherently knew that I couldn’t keep up the physical work required to be a horse professional. Then, when I was 25, my horse, my horsey soul mate, died suddenly. I was devastated, and I decided I was going to be a horse vet and save all the horses!

I spent the next two years taking the prerequisites before applying for veterinary school at Kansas State University. The dean told me I missed getting in by just one person! I would surely get in the next year. But I actually felt relieved. Being a veterinarian just wasn’t the right fit. I considered medical school or getting my Masters-PhD in clinical psychology, but there was something missing there too.

Lost, I moved to Asheville, NC. While there, I got very sick again. This time, not only had the Colitis become a bigger issue, but also anxiety and depression (that I didn’t even know were related) started to come up. At one point, I had such bad anxiety, for hours at a time; I was literally living under my bed.

I remember the first time a friend suggested acupuncture for my issues. My response? “Yeah, right, like that woo-woo Chinese BS is going to do anything! Sticking needles in me, yah right, THAT will help me with my issues!” But finally I got desperate enough; I was willing to give it a go. After all, it couldn’t hurt, right?

My first practitioner kept reiterating how very, very sick I was. I didn’t believe her. She saw me weekly for a very long time and even though I didn’t think it was doing much at first, I kept coming back. I somehow knew it was helping. And slowly, over time, it did. More than anything, it put me into remission with the Colitis. And it helped me with ankle pain I had whenever I rode.

Soon I realized that I had found my calling, my Tao. I quit my day job and became an assistant at the big acupuncture clinic where I was treated. The acupuncturists helped me to figure out the best school for me, and I started at TAI (Now Maryland University of Integrative Health) in September of 2000.

But my story isn’t over. Because a year and a half into my 3.5 year master’s degree, I hit a wall. I was working at a big barn teaching, riding, training, 35-50 hours per week AND in grad school full time. I collapsed. I thought I was just “depressed and lazy” and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just “get it together” and get back to work. I just couldn’t.

I graduated and started my practice in September of 2003. And it took me another 8 years of misdiagnosis by both the alternative world and western world before my true issues were discovered. Through a horse client, I was referred to one of the best rheumatologists in the state and I was finally diagnosed properly. It turns out that Ulcerative Colitis is a very complicated disease. There are several “extra” autoimmune diseases that can go with it, and I had 3 of them. Finally I got the support and treatments I needed to be well. I takes a village to keep me healthy!

I love how I can help people in ways no one was able to help me. I love how, through my acupuncture training and years of experience, I can bring down pain, help bring up energy, and get people the real, long-term plan they need in order to heal. I feel lucky that through my own journey I have been able to create many, many connections with other providers, and I have learned many alternative ways to heal. My patients don’t have to go through what I went through!

I’m excited that you are thinking of coming to me! After 14 years of private practice, I can likely help you with acupuncture, lifestyle changes, and perhaps supplementation. We will work together to help you to heal. And, if you need further help, more support, or a different kind of support than I can give, I have the resources to get you the help you need.

Lydia with her mare, Goodkeeper. Riding is now her hobby. She can’t wait to help you get back to your favorite hobby!