Erica Robyn Burley, M.S., L.Ac
Licensed Acupuncturist, Board Certified HErbalisT
Hi, I'm Erica! I am the owner-operator of Silver Lining Acupuncture and co-founder of Autumn Bear Herbals organic wellness tea company. I'm an acupuncturist, herbalist, tea blender, photographer, potter, and world traveler, with an academic background in psychology, chemistry, women's studies, and nutrition.
I began practicing acupuncture in the Bronx in 2008 by becoming a nationally certified Acudetox Specialist at Lincoln Hospital, the founding site of the N.A.D.A. AcuDetox protocol. This protocol was developed with the support of the Black Panthers in the 1970s as a tool to rebuild communities in the South Bronx by providing non-chemical treatments for substance detox and recovery. My experiences in the Bronx inspired me to dedicate my life to the use of Chinese medicine as a means to effect personal growth and social change.
I followed my dreams to become a licensed acupuncturist and board-certified Chinese herbalist, and to establish my private practice, Silver Lining Acupuncture. I hold a Master's Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) in New York City, where I graduated as Valedictorian of my class. I am licensed to practice acupuncture by the State of New York and I am a certified Diplomate of Oriental Medicine as conferred by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). I also hold a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a focus on Women's Studies from Boston University, and have completed coursework in the Master of Science for Nutrition program at Brooklyn College.
My style of acupuncture is a blend of Classical Chinese Medicine, as transmitted by Daoist Master and 88th generation direct descent Dr. Jeffrey C. Yuen of the Jade Purity and Dragon Gate lineage, combined with Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture, as developed by Professor J. R. Worsley and acquired through extensive personal mentorships with esteemed Five Element practitioners in the field such as Dr. Anne Jeffres, L.Ac and Lonny S. Jarrett, L.Ac.
I am a board-certified herbalist with a background in both classically constructed herbal formulas and innovative modifications for modern formulas. I have had the great honor to study the evolution of classical Chinese herbal medicine with Dr. Jeffrey C. Yuen, focusing on unraveling the underlying principles and theories that have evolved over the centuries to enhance my ability to devise herbal formulas, construct treatment strategies, and strengthen clinical applications. My herbal expertise in relation to each patient's unique constitution has been greatly enhanced through the ongoing mentorship of Thea Elijah, L.Ac., former director of the Chinese Herbal Studies Programs at TAI Sophia Institute and Academy for Five Element Acupuncture.
I continue to broaden my professional expertise, with gratitude, by incorporating the innate wisdom shared by each and every one of my patients.
Throughout my career, I have provided thousands of treatments in the wider New York City community and abroad, with the goal of broadening my understanding of current health care needs, providing accessible treatments for under-served communities, and expanding my mastery of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. I have had the great privilege to serve patients at:
- Housing Works, West Village: an organization dedicated to providing services to address the dual crisis of HIV and homelessness with an emphasis on GLBTI* health care.
- Fortune Society, Long Island City: a prison re-entry program designed to facilitate psychosocial readjustment for reintegration of former inmates returning to society.
- St. John's Riverside Hospital, Yonkers: a 28-day inpatient treatment center for drug and alcohol abuse that aims to give clients the tools and support they need for healthy choices and satisfying lifestyles.
- Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, Lower East Side: a culturally diverse, community-based, non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, HCV and other drug-related harm among injection drug users and the community.
- Lutheran Medical Center, Brooklyn: a collaborative effort made by acupuncturists, physicians and physical therapists to provide treatment for chronic and difficult-to-treat musculoskeletal and neurodegenerative diseases on the Neurology, Orthopedic, and Rehabilitation inpatient unit.
- New York Asian Women's Center, Elmhurst: a program designed to help women and their children overcome domestic violence and other forms of abuse by empowering them to govern their own lives.
- Vajra Varahi Health Clinic, Chapagaun, Nepal: a not-for-profit/NGO whose aim is making accessible and effective healthcare a reality for everyone by delivering low-cost and free health care from different healing arts traditions to serve local communities in Nepal.
- Work Song Chinese Medicine, Greenpoint: a member of a cooperative community of over 200 clinics nation-wide who are devoted to making acupuncture accessible and affordable for everyone.
- Autumn Bear Acupuncture, Flatiron: a private practice dedicated to using acupuncture, herbs, and dietary therapy in the treatment of autoimmune conditions, digestive disorders, and allergies.
- Tigerlily Holistic, Bushwick: a community acupuncture clinic that provides treatment in a communal setting, to foster a group healing process as well as to make acupuncture accessible for as many people as possible.
As an undergrad, I was very drawn to social justice, animal rights, and political activism, and found it hard to reconcile my academic passions for neuropsychology and chemistry with the unsavory reality that the only way to advance in those fields was to experiment on animals and look for work with a pharmaceutical company. After graduation, I left those dreams behind, immersing myself in the highly passionate political punk and international traveler scene. My seemingly insular world of punk, protests, and potlucks had a larger purpose that I felt very connected to. Every gathering or show or party was held for the benefit something or someone, based on the collective vision of wanting to create a positive and just world to live in- for everyone. For a decade, I dedicated my life to activism, travel, and participation in grassroots development projects across the globe to do whatever I could to help improve people's lives from the bottom up.
The experience of challenging the establishment and believing each person holds the power to effect social change was good for me at the time. Since then, I have approached life with the sense that things don’t have to be the way they are, which allows me to question the traditional ways of doing things and see the benefits of holding various perspectives. The challenge that I have had to face in my personal life has been figuring out how to save the world while also honoring myself, my life, and my potential. Acupuncture and herbalism have opened the door for me to merge my passions and beliefs with a fulfilling and sustainable career. Through the medium of tea and the lens of Chinese medicine, I have found a way to help people overcome personal challenges, while simultaneously creating a broader societal impact on the way we view the interrelation of social justice, personal consciousness, holistic medicine, and the path towards healing.
Compared to the passionate chaos I embodied in my twenties, I have another life now- but I haven’t changed. Punk taught me I could be whatever I wanted to be, and that’s the way I’ve lived my life and continue to do so. As an acupuncturist, herbalist, and tea blender, I have found a way to stand up to massive corporations that are willing to turn a profit at the expense of their own consumers’ lives, health, and integrity, whether with genetically-modified organisms, toxic processed foods, or prescription drugs that are considered effective if they kill you more slowly than the disease itself. Today, instead of marching in protest, I aim to enhance my patients' innate ability to make long-lasting positive changes that uncover their own deep potentials in life, as I have done with mine. Acupuncture and tea have provided the perfect medium for me to carry my ultimate treatment goal far and wide: to restore hope, health, and trust in ourselves by reviving our faith in the body's natural ability to heal itself.