WELL TALK: Chris Miller, owner of Miller Acupuncture

well talk chris miller portland wellness week.jpg

Welcome to the first installment of our Well Talk Interview Series! We’ll be connecting with transformative thought leaders and like-minded wellness innovators to provides a space for them to share their thoughts on the self-care process along with their best success tips, while dishing up a little inspo to help us all live well and thrive.

First up on our guest list is Christopher Miller of Miller Acupuncture. Chris recently gave a fantastic Well Talk at our first Spring Pop Up, sharing the Chinese medical perspective of stress along with a discussion centered around diet, movement and living with the seasons. Chris definitely has a passion for healing and for holistic medicine, which comes across strongly not only in his practice and his live presentations, but also in his personal and professional pursuits over the past 15 years. Chris studied Chinese Medicine in Canada, China and the US, giving him a truly global perspective into the ancient systems of medicine and how they compliment modern day wellness. He’s also held internships in Fertility, Sports Injury and Five Element Acupuncture, which focuses predominantly on emotional wellness, and he has completed masterwork in both Tuina and Shiatzu forms of Asian bodywork.

We caught up with Chris again to find out how he frames his views of holistic wellness - as well as his best practical tips for staying well (and sane!) in our increasingly busy and complex world.

What is your favorite inspirational quote and why?

"To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders." - Lao Tzu

"Conflict cannot survive without your participation." - Wayne Dyer

"Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom." - H. Gunaratana

"There are things known and things unknown and in-between are the doors of perception." - Aldous Huxley

"The nature of rain is the same, but it makes thorns grow in the marshes and flowers in the gardens." - Arabic Proverb

All of these quotes speak to our perception, our own presence, and what we do with it. These quotes remind me of my responsibility in how I approach the world and what I bring to my relationships. I consistently benefit from this reminder.

Handout breaking down key ideas of Chris’ Well Talk on how Chinese Medicine sees stress in the body.

Handout breaking down key ideas of Chris’ Well Talk on how Chinese Medicine sees stress in the body.


What was the inspiration for your studies and to start your business?

I have always been interested in medicine.  When I was younger I was bit by a tick and contracted a very debilitating disease.  My attempts at recovery found me using all types of healing modalities.  Acupuncture provided me with a profound sense of healing and inspired me to move more towards a traditional, holistic approach.  Through practicing, I have had the benefit of learning from incredibly business savvy and clinical skill.  I am actively surrounding myself with people who are masters at what they do.

Mindset is such an important aspect of wellness. How do you stay sane and manage your stress while managing your growing business?

Meditation, deep breathing, seeking help from my teachers, coaches and therapists.  I spend a lot of energy and money on my own wellbeing.  If I am not attending to my needs first, I am not setting myself up well to attend to those I serve. The flight attendants have it right - you have to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.

Chris led a wonderful and introspective stress-relief meditation at our Spring Pop Up.

Chris led a wonderful and introspective stress-relief meditation at our Spring Pop Up.

What keeps you focused and motivated?

The uniqueness of each client and sincere desire to be heard, supported, received and acknowledged fascinates me.  I also get a great sense of honor and esteem from being let into my clients lives. What a gift to be along side someone as they journey towards their best self.

What are your non-negotiable self-care rituals or practices that you do every day, no matter what your schedule looks like?

At least two times a day (waking up and going to sleep) - and more so if I’m stressed - I ask myself “How do I feel? What do I need? How do I need it?”  These questions help me to gauge where I am at in my body and mind.  From there I can adjust my self care routine.  Most often it is meditation and quiet contemplation that is needed.  Time away from distracting screen time and the ability to be curious for longer periods of time without having google right there to answer my questions.  Poetry is also an important ally for me.  Being able to read how someone else has communicated their feelings about something I am experiencing is quite helpful. 

Do you have a morning or evening self-care routine? If so, what is it?

It is important for me to check in with “How I feel, what I need, and how I need it” regularly.  I definitely do this when I wake up and when I lay down to sleep.  Honesty and transparency towards myself has been a deeply powerful aid.  Knowing my own habits of self sabotage and patterns of projection, blame, shame, judgment and unkindness, and being aware of these in real time help me to make choices that are more in alignment with what I desire and want in life. 

At least two times a day (waking up and going to sleep) - and more so if I’m stressed - I ask myself “How do I feel? What do I need? How do I need it?

What is your favorite form of exercise or activity?

Hiking, walking, being in nature.  I am more of a solitary person, and so group classes and gyms are draining on me.  I always feel better when I have some time in nature. 

If you had to create a wellness tool kit for someone, what are 5 must-have items or practices?

  • Deep breathing exercises

  • Reminders to drink water

  • Prompts to help with internal reflection

  • Permissions to be kind to self

  • Reminders to book a massage.

What are your favorite wellness trends right now or on the coming horizon?

  • Meditation.

  • Qigong.  

  • Intuitive Eating.  

What’s YOUR favorite take-away from this post? Share it below in the comments!