When Acupuncture Meets Faith

As a licensed acupuncturist and a religious Persian Jew, Roy Kimia may not sound like a traditional man of healing.

“I am here as a shaliach (messenger) for Hakadosh Baruch Hu (God),” he said while standing with a visitor in his breezy, ground floor, open-window room at Kimia Wellness in midtown. “[God] brings the healing. I bring the refuah (healing) as best I can.”

Successful acupuncture is not simply a one- or even two-way street. It requires conviction from the third party.

“The patient has to believe as strongly as the doctor,” Kimia said.

Except for the comfortable table where the patient lies, the room bears scant resemblance to a hospital setting. Framed pictures of deeply religious writings are on the walls.

Prominent on the eastern wall is a prayer for healing by the Rambam, the 12th century teacher Maimonides.

Another sign that says, “Live Life as You Imagine It,” stands out in large bold letters.

Always soft-spoken, Kimia declares that is one of his mottoes.

“Hashem gave us the body as a sanctuary for our soul. In every one of us there is that space we need to take care of.”

“My patients can recover and live the lives they want,” he said. “It’s just a matter of aligning themselves and treating their bodies as sanctuaries. Hashem gave us the body as a sanctuary for our soul. In every one of us there is that space we need to take care of.”

Pain is the most common reason for his acupuncture services are sought, along with anxiety, nausea, cancer, the common cold and immunity.

Acupuncture, described as the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles, also claims to have resolved infertility issues and breeched babies. While he never claims that acupuncture is a substitute for the wonders of modern medicine, Kimia clearly is a believer.

“The way Hashem created the body is so amazing,” he says. “All the points do different things. With one point, you can take care of a headache. A few points, and then it’s gone.”

The 40-year-old Kimia, born in Tel Aviv, came to America with his family at age 14. Later he graduated from the USC Marshal School of Business. For eight years he worked in real estate.

But one day, he felt as if God was knocking on his door.

“I was davening to Hashem throughout those years in real estate,” said Kimia, but suddenly the response to his prayers felt different.

“I had become a ba’al t’shuvah (returnee to Judaism) when I was 22. The next year I went on a Birthright trip. That opened up the world of Judaism for me.

“When our family moved here, I saw there was, like, something missing in my neshama (soul). I didn’t know what it was.”

Kimia’s parents were traditional Persian Jews. They met and got married in Iran, then moved to Tel Aviv. Shabbat just meant Friday night. On Saturday you could travel or do whatever you wanted.

“When I got to Birthright,” he said, “I went on their Sephardic Education program. This 10-day trip opened up everything. Being with observant people, we went from Tzfat to where Ben-Gurion signed the statehood documents to Yerushalyim, and I said to myself, ‘Look, we have this beautiful tradition.’

Eventually, he no longer would be realtor Kimia.

When davening, he would ask “What is my purpose, Hashem?” He conceded, “So I am helping and doing real estate. But what is my tachlis (real purpose)?”

The answer was painful, so to speak.

By his late 20s, Kimia’s body had a new visitor: physical struggles. Lower back pain, anxieties, stress.

When he received an acupuncture treatment, the pain started to vanish. Placebo or not, Kimia was stunned. “I was like, I don’t need surgery,” he recalled thinking.

“The Rambam says, ‘You need to be in good health in order to serve Hashem,'” said Kimia. “I asked HaShem, ‘What do I need to do?’

“And He found this way (acupuncture) for me to heal myself…I have to go learn a little bit and see if I can help others. I took a fundamental course. This is real… This is not like hocus-pocus and you put in a needle.

“There is a whole system of the body, working with points, with ingredients, with organs, with emotion. Every organ connects to a different emotion.”

“There is a whole system of the body, working with points, with ingredients, with organs, with emotion. Every organ connects to a different emotion.”

“Anger has to do with the liver,” said Kimia. “You see symptoms of anger, like headaches. And you put a (needle) point on the liver channel, and it takes away the headache. You have fear? lower back. You put a point on the kidney, and it takes away the lower back problem.

“It all is connected to emotions.”

Kimia enrolled in a master’s program at Emperor College, Santa Monica. There he learned acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese medicine diagnosis, Western medicine across four-and-a-half years before pursuing mandatory board approval.

“Not an easy task,” he said. “[It] took me another six months, and so within five years, I was a licensed acupuncturist.”

He then opened the Kimia Wellness Center in 2017. His practice offers massages, chiropractic care, energy healing, physical therapy and cupping.

Kimia calls acupuncture both modern and old, dating back 2,000 years to its Chinese origins and arriving in the United States about 50 years ago.

His passion for acupuncture has been broadened and perhaps validated by his passion for Jewish learning.

“Before I do my work, I say a prayer because the healing comes from Hashem,” said Kimia. “I learned this from a rabbi who learned it from the previous Biale Rebbe. It goes like this: ‘Hashem, make me a channel so I will be able to bring a complete healing of body, mind and soul. May the angel of healing guide and protect me.””

A large part of healing, Kimia continued, is “letting go, because we hold onto so much in our lives.”

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