Written By Ashley Tedesco Photographed By Justin Tsucalas
Ryan Diener, Pikesville High School 1994, returned to his home state after receiving his master’s degree from the Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, N.M. An acupuncturist and herbalist, he opened a practice in Bethesda, Md., and later in Frederick, Md. He decided to concentrate his efforts full time at his Frederick practice after business simply “exploded” there.
In February, Diener and Samantha, his wife of nearly four years, had their first child, Mason. He and his young family find balance in the practice of Eastern medicine and Jewish tradition.
iNSIDER: Your work?
Ryan: I’m traditionally trained in what’s called non-PC-based Oriental medicine. It’s a combination of mostly Chinese historical medicine. The bulk of what I do is acupuncture and herbal therapy.
How did you get involved in Chinese medicine?
I was always interested in science, and I played a lot of sports growing up, so I had injuries. I was interested in health care. My undergraduate degree is in biology, [but] going through the pre-med program, there always seemed to be a piece that was missing for me. … I had had a skin condition for about five years, and I went to an acupuncturist and herbalist. At the end of [those] two months, it was like I had never had it.
What’s it like being a Jew practicing Eastern medicine?
In the context of Judaism and Baltimore, I think it’s an interesting broadening of perspectives when you incorporate your roots and Jewish background with obviously different traditions. It’s a vocation that comes through a different spiritual basis, so one thing that has been for me personally very rewarding is being able to combine my knowledge of and background in Judaism with the Eastern philosophies.
How’d you meet your wife?
My wife and I met in 2004 at a wine bar in Bethesda, where we were both working as a second job. I had been in practice for about a year at that point. … She had an athletic history as well. ... She has since become an avid patient [of acupuncture]. One of the acupuncturists in my office worked with her for about a year to help her with fertility.