| Follow Us:


On Pins and Needles

Acupuncturist Cara Michelle, right, with Women in Wellness - Arianne Teeple
Acupuncturist Cara Michelle, right, with Women in Wellness - Arianne Teeple
Most women who come to acupuncturist Cara Michele Nether's Women in Wellness Center in Towson are at a crossroads. They're exhausted and don't feel well. Typically they have several health complaints that multiple trips to traditional practitioners of Western medicine have failed to resolve. Not long into their first hour-long session, it's clear that whatever their physical ailments might be, the women are suffering from a crisis of spirit.

"My clients come in because they've lost themselves. They're making decisions based on what other people think they should be making decisions around. And a lot of times that's the man or partner in their lives. Our culture tends to ask women more than men to rely on outside information. Women are practiced at not saying what they want or saying what they need and actually putting aside any hopes and dreams that they might have in order to be good wives, good partners, good mothers and good daughters," Nether says.

Nether can more than empathize with her patients because she knows what it's like to lose yourself and be standing at a crossroads.

In fits and starts

A native of Southern Maryland, Nether took the traditional path and began attending Salisbury University after she graduated from high school. Shortly after starting her collegiate career, however, she was asked to leave the university because her grades were so bad.

"I took a semester off, came back and did great but never graduated. My focus was in fine arts and screenprinting, in particular. I got a job at a shop in Ocean City and loved it, loved it loved it, and I stopped going to school," she recalls.

It wasn't until several years later when Nether's then-partner decided to attend Tai Sophia Institute that she began to think about returning to school.

"I'd always been interested in Eastern philosophy as a child. I was fortunate to have aunts and uncles who traveled around the world and I got a chance to hear stories from them. They would bring me books and things like that. So, I had a glimpse of Taoism and Confucianism at an early age."

"I went down there with my partner to see the school and I was so jealous that she was going to have this opportunity and I wasn't. I remember saying to myself when I was sitting in front of the dean that not only do I want to go to school here, I want to teach here because they have information here that I want to learn and be able to share," she explains.

Choosing a path

Nether decided to get a Master's in Social Work. There was only one problem - she still hadn't graduated from undergrad. So, for two years Nether commuted to Salisbury University, for the first year making the trip from her home in Delaware and then from Baltimore when the couple moved to the city

Despite the strong pull she felt to Tai Sophia, Nether didn't act on her desire to return to school. Life continued. Her partner became enmeshed in her studies at Tai Sophia and as so often happens her partner began to change.

"Our relationship also changed. For many, many years I found myself in relationships because I needed some kind of verification from that person of who I was. At some point it just started to unravel. That's not enough to hold two people together and actually forces the other person away because she was trying to grow and couldn't hold me up," Nether says.

When the relationship ended, Nether's plans changed again.

"I was ready to go to social work school and then the relationship changed and I realized I needed to work on myself before I could be of help to anyone else. I needed to be clear in myself. I wanted to start some programs as a social worker that helped women, especially women coming out of incarceration, that helped them see a different side of themselves, try to understand what got them there and to recognize their strengths, possibilities and potential," she says.

Attending Tai Sophia was a transformative experience, according to Nether, because the Institute focuses on wellness. "Wellness says we're going to have aches and pains. It says there are going to be curveballs. Wellness says that they're going to be ups and downs, but its how we interact with all those things that make the difference."

Bye-bye glass ceiling

Through Women in Wellness, Nether hopes to help women realize their potential and lead a more balanced life. Many women she says believe that it's "their job to be there for their children first. Their job to be a good wife first, even today. We might as well say that the glass ceiling has been broken. A woman was almost elected to the highest office in our nation. So, anything a woman wants to do now, the door is open."

Women frequently don't know, however, what it is they want to do. They don't know what their hopes and dreams are or what they have to bring to the table.

"Often we're doing what comes naturally and it just takes them to the highest office. I often ask my clients if there were no money or time issues and they could do or be anything or anywhere where would they be and they can't come up with anything," she says.

Where women used to believe that they could have it all, now many women don't seem to have any direction beyond being a wife or mother. "I have to send them home to dig up their old journals and rediscover the dreams they once had," Nether notes.

Her goal is to help her clients regain themselves and reach a level of wellness that enables them to be able to regain their dreams, live a more fulfilling life by addressing imbalance in both their spiritual and mental state that has manifested itself physically with potentially serious ailments.

Signup for Email Alerts
Share this page
Signup for Email Alerts