There are many people that daydream about completely changing their career but few who actually do it. Lynn Palmgren is one of the latter. Today she owns her own acupuncture practice in downtown Oak Park where she, and her fiancé offer patients a holistic and integrative approach to achieving optimal health. However, if you had asked Lynn ten years ago what she thought she would be doing today, that wouldn’t have been on her list of guesses.
Read on to learn more about Lynn, her journey as an attorney turned acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, what it’s like owning her own business, why acupuncture doesn’t hurt, and more!
Around Oak Park
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from Geneseo, Ill., a small bedroom community 20 miles outside of the Quad Cities. If you would have told me I was going to be an acupuncturist when I was growing up, I would have said you’re crazy.
I have a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Augustana College with a focus on management and marketing. Growing up, I was always involved in theatre, either acting, managing, directing, or writing. I’ve since retired, but the experience comes in handy when I give presentations or lead talks on acupuncture.
I received my law degree from Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. The Attorney General’s Office hired me right out of school and I worked in their Springfield and Chicago offices. I was a litigator and helped defend property damage, personal injury, and employment suits.
I received my Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago. After graduating, I opened Palmgren Acupuncture in Oak Park in 2013. My fiancée, Nick Arestopoulos, joined Palmgren Acupuncture last year and we’ll be celebrating two years of business in October.
What keeps you busy when you’re not at work?
When I’m not doing acupuncture, I like to dance, make people laugh, do yoga, meditate and eat Thai food. I recently took up playing chess and it’s been a challenging but fun journey.
I also practice law in the Oak Park area, in the areas of business and criminal law (misdemeanors/traffic violations).
What would a perfect day in the neighborhood look like for you?
A perfect day would be going to the Oak Park Farmer’s market shopping for produce, enjoying a donut or two, and listening to the band. (I typically work on Saturdays and don’t get a chance to make it!)
When did you decide to start your own practice? What went into that decision?
Like many acupuncturists, I had a great experience as a patient for insomnia through acupuncture. In 2009, I decided to get out of the hustle and bustle of law to start making a difference in people’s health. I decided to take my career path in another direction and resigned from the Attorney General’s office. I wanted to give people an option of getting better without side effects while taking control of my own employment. That’s when I decided to start my own acupuncture practice, so I went to school to achieve this goal. I was ready to be my own boss and devote my resources and talent in a way that I wanted.
Why Oak Park?
I chose Oak Park to start my practice because I had friends who lived here and visited them frequently. I fell in love with the beautiful parks and downtown area. I like how Oak Park is very community-centered, diverse, pro-local business, and open-minded. I also like how we’re not in the city but still close to everything.
The support that we’ve received from the community, especially the OPRF Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Oak Park, has made a big difference for us and the level of success that we have achieved. They have made it easy to start a business and given us an opportunity to thrive.
I moved to the area in 2013 while in acupuncture school; I felt like I was getting too old for Wicker Park. Now I live in Forest Park.
What has been the most surprising thing about the having your own business? The most fun? The hardest?
The most surprising thing has been how fast the time has gone by. It’s been nearly two years, but if feels like less than a year. The most fun thing has been being able to help people who have tried everything and we’re able to help them.
The hardest thing was starting a new business from nothing and starting in a town where I’m not from and only know a couple of people.
There is a ton of great information on your site explaining what you do, who it can help, etc. If you had just a couple minutes to explain what you do for your patients, what would you say?
What I do for my patients is balance them. It’s so easy to get off kilter in this day and age: diet, environment, pollution, stress, and so on. When that happens, our bodies react and something comes up, whether it’s pain or insomnia or something else. Acupuncture can help balance you so that you can heal yourself from the inside out. It also goes to the underlying cause of your health concern so the issue won’t return. We have used it to treat a wide array of ailments and have consistently improved the quality of life for our clients.
What is the most common question people have when they come in?
The most common question is “Does acupuncture hurt?” The answer is no. Acupuncture needles are very thin — about 1-2 strands of hair thick and have a rounded tip. Unlike a needle at the doctor’s office, acupuncture needles are solid so they can be very thin. In fact, you can fit 100 acupuncture needles inside of one doctor’s needle!
What is the most common misperception about what you do?
The most common misperception is that licensed acupuncturists (LAc) go to school over a weekend course. Nothing could be further from the truth. I went to school for four years (with no summers off) and graduated with over 3,500 hours of clinical and classroom training. I took courses in western medicine alongside Chinese medicine classes. I took three board examinations to receive my license and took an extra board examination in Chinese herbs to become a Diplomat of Oriental Medicine. It was more comparable to medical school.
For more information or to book a consultation, contact Lynn at: