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Governance & Faculty



    • Linda Ballantine, B.A., Interim Co-Executive Director, Director of Finance
    • Helen Sanders, M.T.C.M., L.Ac., A.E.M.P., Interim Co-Executive Director, Director of Clinical Studies
    • Jessica Biles, B.S., Director of Administration & Student Services, Registrar
    • Matt Van Dyke, M.T.C.M., A.E.M.P., Director of Acupuncture, Director of Faculty 


  • Linda Ballantine, B.A.
  • Elsa Del Toro, D.Ac., AEMP
  • Kensley Fohn, C.P.A.
  • Matt Van Dyke, M.T.C.M., A.E.M.P.
  • Galie Jean-Louis, B.F.A., L.Ac., AEMP
  • Cedric Watts, O.T.R./L., L.Ac.
  • Student Representative
  • Advisory Board Facilitator – Beverly Faxon, M.A.


  • Linda Ballantine, B.A., Interim Co-Executive Director, Director of Finance
  • Helen Sanders, M.T.C.M., L.Ac., A.E.M.P., Interim Co-Executive Director, Director of Clinical Studies
  • Matt Van Dyke, M.T.C.M., A.E.M.P., Director of Acupuncture, Director of Faculty
  • Jessica Biles, B.S., Director of Administration & Student Services, Registrar
  • Joe Rothstein, D.A.C.M., Director of Herbal Studies, Director of
    Continuing Education
  • Hallie Beaver, B.A., Librarian
  • Terry Matthews, Clinic Manager

Core Faculty

Sara J. Bayer, D.A.O.M., M.A., L.Ac., L.M.P., Certified Advanced Rolfer™

Sara Bayer is an acupuncturist, licensed in California (1987) and Washington (1991), and a Certified Advanced Rolfer® as well as a Washington State licensed massage therapist. Certified in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine by the National Commission for Certification in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Sara has taught continuously in schools of acupuncture since 1987 and at MWAI since 2008.

Before studying acupuncture she completed massage coursework while obtaining her Master’s degree in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, graduating in 1982. A Certified Rolfer™ since 2004, in 2010 she completed the Advanced Training in Rolfing® Structural Integration. Over the last decade her year-long course in musculoskeletal pain became recognized by students as a vital component of basic acupuncture training. In August 2014 she graduated from the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program of the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. For her capstone project she translated the Expanded Treatise on Warm Epidemics written by Dai Tian-zhang circa 1695.

She became the Director of Clinical Education and Associate Professor at Bastyr University, Kenmore Washington campus, in July 2018. In the DAOM program at Bastyr she teaches an acupuncture course on fascia and pain, and supervises doctoral students treating patients as part of the Anesthesia and Pain Medicine group at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Elsa Del Toro, D.Ac, L.Ac.

Elsa Del Toro received her Doctor of Acupuncture from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in 2019. She was in the second class at Middle Way Acupuncture Institute, graduated in 2010, and has played a key role in the MWAI administration since 2011. She continues to play an integral role in administration, and curriculum development. Elsa currently heads the Five Element program at MWAI. She also maintains a busy private practice in Mount Vernon, integrating TCM and Five Element acupuncture.

Catherine Follis, D.C.

Catherine Follis received her Doctor of Chiropractic, cum laude from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa and is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) from the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians. She also received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Augustana College in Rock Island, Iowa. Dr. Follis is a College Accreditation Evaluator for the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), an Anatomy & Physiology instructor and team lead for Everest College, a First Aid/CPR instructor for the Red Cross, and provides Anatomy & Physiology tutoring.

Tai Lahans, Ph.D., M.Ed., M.T.C.M., L.Ac.

Tai Lahans began her studies in medicine by earning a PhD from UC Berkeley in medical anthropology. Her dissertation was on the Ayurveda Shastras. She lived in Mumbai for six years serving the poor of Dharavi Slum as part of a team of medical providers who utilized Ayurvedic, Western medicine, homeopathy, and Chinese medicine. The clinic she co-founded served the very rich of Bollywood in order to subsidize the medical care for the outcaste poor of Dharavi which at that time was the largest slum in the world with over one million people living in it. She began studying Chinese medicine in the 1970s and has practiced Chinese medicine for the past 35 years serving mainly patients with chronic viral diseases and cancers. Teaching has also been a primary love and Tai has taught at several schools including Bastyr University and Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine. She has also taught in several clinical settings including integrated hospital oncology units. She lived in the PRC for four years studying and working on oncology units. She holds a PhD in integrated oncology from China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing. Tai Lahans is the author of Integrating Conventional and Chinese Medicine in Cancer Care: A Clinical Guide (Elsevier – Churchill Livingstone 2007) and The Geology of the Modern Cancer Epidemic: Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine (World Scientific Publishing 2013).

Linda Munson, Ph.D. (ABD), M.T.C.M., L.Ac.

Linda Munson is a licensed acupuncturist (2002) and massage practitioner (1997). Board-certified in acupuncture by the NCCAOM, she has taught at Middle Way Acupuncture institute since 2008. Prior to studying Chinese Medicine and massage, Linda worked in Arctic Alaska for 16 years as a Native teacher trainer with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and as an elementary school teacher with the North Slope Borough School District. Before that she spent 5 years in highland Guatemala with the Proyecto Linguistico Francisco Marroquin writing a grammar and teaching literacy in Mam, a Mayan language. She also has extensive experience working with Southwest Native tribes developing bilingual curricula through the University of California, San Diego. Linda holds a B.A. in French Language and Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles (1970), and an M.A. and ABD in Linguistics from the University of California, San Diego (1983). Linda maintains a small private practice and also practices part-time in a physician’s office.


Joseph Rothstein DACM, Dipl.O.M.

 Joe discovered Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine in his twenties. He was experiencing issues that were not purely physical, emotional or spiritual, but a combination of all three. During an appointment with his Acupuncturist, he realized that he was interested in studying it and practicing himself.  

Joe graduated from both the Master’s and Doctorate programs at Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts, in Asheville, NC. He has continued to study with Jeffrey Yuen, 88th generation Daoist Priest of the Jade Purity Tradition. He completed a certificate program with PsychoEnergetics Training lead by Irene Tobler and Psychologist Michael Mervosh. He has also apprenticed in group wilderness therapy with Mr Mervosh and the Hero’s Journey Foundation

Joe actively practiced Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for over 10 years. Joe owned and operated a very busy practice at Acupuncture Associates of Marysville for 8 years, until closing the practice in the fall of 2021. Since then, Joe and his family have gone traveling, currently residing in beautiful Umbria, Italy. He is currently teaching Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine both online and at various locations around the world. He is a lifetime learner, and is currently learning the value of experience over material wealth. He and his family can be found walking through Ancient Roman cities, or working in their garden and vineyard. 

Helen Sanders, M.Ac, AEMP, L.Ac.

At the age of 17, while walking across FSU’s college campus in Tallahassee, Florida, Helen was attacked by an itinerant male who tried unsuccessfully to choke her in a bent arm hold. After the campus police expressed no interest in pursuing her attacker as she had escaped of her own volition, she determined that the martial arts might be a prudent course of study. She spent 1.5 years practicing Tae Kwon Do, a Korean hardstyle art, and then gravitated to Cuong Nhu Oriental Martial Arts, where she thrived for 10 years, eventually earning her first degree black belt and running her own school, The Rainbow Dojo, in Tallahassee, Florida. During training to advance to a second degree black belt, she realized that her next step would be this: having learned to physically harm another human, would it not make sense to be able to help them heal? Devoted to the idea of practicing martial arts that encompassed medicine as well, she interviewed with several schools of Traditional Chinese Medicine and found a home at the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Seattle, Washington. She was accepted there and earned her Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in 1996. At the same time, Microsoft offered her a position and she spent 10 years there as the Corporate Records Manager for the Company within the Legal Department, overseeing 12-14 employees and running a corporate-wide records and information program for Microsoft’s key documents and information. Highlights there included being deposed for the FTC/Dept. of Justice investigation (along with a hundred other employees) and winning a senior management award for outstanding achievement during her 10 year tenure there.
Helen now has a thriving acupuncture practice in the San Juan Islands and works as the Clinic Director for Middle Way Acupuncture Institute in Mt. Vernon, Washington.


Matt Van Dyke, M.T.C.M., AEMP, Dipl. O.M.

Matt Van Dyke, AEMP is an Acupuncturist, Herbalist, and Qi Gong practitioner clinically focused on maximizing quality of life and longevity. Areas of expertise include EENT pathology and pain management. Matt is especially interested in helping to train patients and students tap into their own innate potential and to facilitate new landscapes of healing. Matt graduated from Five Branches University in 2006. Advanced studies took him to Shenyang, China to study with respected acupuncturist and physician, Dr. Ma Laoshi at Liaoning University Hospital.Many things in life bring Matt joy. These include his family with 2 young children, qi gong, which he has been practicing for almost 2 decades, and being in nature which feeds his soul.
He has been on faculty at Middle Way since 2009.



Sharon Adena, DAOM, CFMP, Dipl. O.M., AEMP

Sharon began her healthcare education at the Brian Utting School of Massage in Seattle WA, graduating in 2004. Inspired by her busy clinical practice and her want for more tools, she went on to study Ayurvedic Medicine, Chinese Medicine and eventually Functional Medicine. She earned her Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches University in Santa Cruz, CA in 2014 and promptly began her teaching career. She then received her Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in 2018 from Five Branches San Jose. During her studies she completed an internship at the Daejeon Hospital in South Korea and spent time working under Dr. Frank He and Dr. Holly Guzman. Most recently, she completed her Functional Medicine Certification from Functional Medicine University in 2021. Sharon is truly a clinician at heart and she keeps consideration of the body structure at the center of her general practice. She brings her years of clinical experience to the classroom and leans in with a solid adoration of academia and the pursuit of knowledge and skill. In response to a noted social need, Sharon created a non-profit organization in 2015 with the intention of finding creative ways to overcome the financial barriers that stand between patients and high quality healthcare.


Daniel Altschuler, Ph.D. (China), L.Ac.

Daniel Altschuler, Ph.D. (China), L.Ac. studied and taught Chinese medicine in Taiwan for nearly 15 years, apprenticing under Dr. Lee Chen-Yu. He has an MA (1992) in Asian religions from UCLA and a Ph.D. (2005) in Chinese medicine from Guangzhou Chinese Medical College. His specialties include neuropathy and chronically stubborn diseases. He has authored the translation entitled Neuropathy: Traditional Chinese Herbal Treatment in a Modern Medical Environment


Robert Bates DC, MMQ

Robert is a healer and teacher of healing based in Bellingham, Washington. A 1990 graduate from Southern California College of Chiropractic, he has practiced in Washington State since 1992. He has taught Qigong since 1997. He earned his Master of Medical Qigong certificate in 2001 from Jerry Alan Johnson at the International Institute of Medical Qigong.

In addition he teaches workshops in Lymph Drainage Therapy and Fluid Articular Release for the Chikly Health Institute, an international teaching organization based in Arizona. He has extensive training in many healing and movement arts including Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Self Healing Qigong (many types), Taiji Quan, and Xin Yi Liu He Quan. Robert has enjoyed a daily practice of Qigong since 1992.


Dani Compain, A.E.M.P, L. Ac.

Dani Compain has been studying nutrition for over three decades. She studied in the fields of an organic farm in rural Alabama; in restaurant kitchens; and in restaurant management. Dani attended both the Living Foods Institute and the Living Light Culinary Institute. Dani has studied a variety of dietary approaches with some of the finest masters of nutritional therapy. As a classically trained artist, Dani sees the human body with an architectural complexity, beauty, and perfection—viewing its capability to sustain life and heal itself, with the same reverence as a fine masterpiece. This brought her to the study of Eastern Medicine at Middle Way Acupuncture Institute. During her studies there, she continued to pursue her passion for nutrition with a deep dive into Chinese Dietary Therapy. Dani graduated from and began teaching at Middle Way in 2020.


Dr. Catherine Dayhoff, D.A.O.M., Dipl. Ac., L.Ac.

Catherine Dayhoff received her Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) in Portland Oregon. She received her master’s degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Catherine served on the Washington Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine Association (WAEMA) board for 2 years as the secretary and treasurer from 12/2017 -11/2019. Catherine specializes in orthopedic acupuncture and musculoskeletal pain conditions. Her two main mentors are Whitfield Reaves and Dr. Anthony Lombardi. Catherine serves as Director of Clinical Studies and teaches the orthopedic acupuncture classes at Middle Way. She also enjoys her private practice, Dayhoff Acupuncture, in downtown Mount Vernon, Washington.

Serena Emerson, M.A., L. Ac., L.M.T.

Serena Emerson is an acupuncturist and massage therapist, licensed in Washington State since 2016 and 2013, respectively. She has taught tuina at MWAI since 2015. Her background includes over a decade of study and apprenticeship in Jin Shou Tuina, as well as internal martial arts, through the North American Tang Shou Tao Association. She currently practices in Vancouver and Bellingham and is enrolled in the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program at Bastyr University.


Alethea Fleming, N.D.

Dr. Alethea Fleming, ND is a passionate advocate for naturopathic geriatric medicine. She is a Bastyr University graduate and earned a certificate in Gerontology from the University of Washington. Dr. Fleming is the owner and lead physician of the Vital Aging Clinic in Anacortes, Washington where she provides primary care to all adults as well as specific geriatric care. Dr. Fleming is adjunct faculty at Bastyr University and is an engaging public speaker who strives to make naturopathic geriatric care accessible to all providers. In her off hours, Dr. Fleming can be found hiking the beautiful trails of Fidalgo Island, spending time with her wonderful husband and son, or with her nose firmly in a good book.


Kundini Funk, AEMP

Kundini is a Licensed, Board Certified Acupuncturist and Eastern Medicine Practitioner, with a speciality in Five Element Acupuncture. Kundini has an extensive background in Eastern Medicine for the past 18 years; she is a Certified Ayurvedic Consultant, Pancha Karma (Ayurvedic detoxification and rejuvenation) practitioner, Zen Touch Massage therapist, and QRA (Quantum Reflex Analysis) practitioner. Kundini is a certified Restorative Yoga and Meditation instructor. The culmination of her practice and experience led to the founding of ‘Our Nature Acupuncture’.
“Our Nature, is an intrinsic wholeness that remains intact even though we may have pain, suffering or illness; I am humbled before the history and brilliance of this medicine, and have dedicated my career to continual learning as well as devotion to our intrinsic nature of being” Kundini Kundini teaches Five Element Acupuncture theory at Middle Way Acupuncture Institute, and serves as a teaching assistant for the Buddhist Studies Institute where she leads groups as well as a weekly meditation class online.


Brenda Loew, M.Ac., L.Ac.

Brenda Loew, M.Ac., L.Ac., doctoral candidate, specializes in Japanese acupuncture techniques, primarily Toyohari Meridian Therapy, Manaka Yin-Yang Channel Balancing Therapy and Shonishin (pediatric needle therapy).
Practicing in Seattle, Washington, she was on the faculty at the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NIAOM) from 1994 to 2002, and is currently clinical adjunct faculty at Bastyr University in Seattle, adjunct faculty at Middle Way Acupuncture Institute in Mt. Vernon, WA and adjunct faculty at Cercle des Arts Thérapeutiques in Montreal, Canada. She has taught at the Pacific Rim College of Integrative Therapies in Victoria, B.C., Wu Hsing Tao Acupuncture School in Seattle, National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, and the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Toronto as well as teaching Toyohari Meridian Therapy, Shonishin pediatric needle therapy and Manaka Yin Yang Channel Balancing Therapies in other locations throughout North America. She has studied Toyohari Meridian Therapy since 1994 with on-going advanced studies in the U.S., Europe and Japan, and is an approved U.S. Instructor for the Toyohari Association.
She is President Emeritus of the National Board of the Toyohari Association of North America (TANA), co-founder of the Japanese Acupuncture Institute, current President of the Northwest Branch of the Toyohari Association of North America, co-founder and team leader of Seattle Acupuncture for Veterans, and is on the editorial board of Keiraku Chiryo International Toyohari Newsletter.
Her other interests include community service, meditation (she completed a yearlong meditation retreat in 1988), tai chi, studying the acupuncture Classics, and research, teaching and writing. She is happiest when engaged in dialogue with practitioners and students on how to make the ancient wisdom of the ancestors come alive in our modern times, and she is passionate about humanity’s relationship with Nature and what it means to be truly “Human”.
Loew’s healing philosophy is, “When the body is in harmony and its energy is balanced, we will feel at ease… ” and, “All medicine is Love” (as quoted from one of her mentors, Yanagishita sensei).


Anna Palucci Young, M.S., L.Ac.

Anna is a licensed acupuncturist practicing in Mount Vernon, Washington. She has been practicing acupuncture and Eastern medicine since 2007. It has been and continues to be a vocation which she deeply loves and enjoys. She earned a Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Pacific College of Health and Science (PCHS), where she later also served as an instructor as well as the Director of Clinical Services. Her advanced studies include Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture with Dr. Martha Lucas, L. Ac., as well as a year-long intensive with her in Advanced Pulse Diagnosis. She has also studied Trauma/PTSD and Recovery in the context of Chinese Medicine with Darren Tellier, R. Ac. In addition to her work at Middle Way she maintains a private practice in Mount Vernon.


Carolyn Watson, M.S., L.Ac.

Carolyn Watson is a human movement specialist and acupuncturist. A 2013 graduate of Middle Way Acupuncture Institute, she also holds a Master’s degree in Human Movement and Performance from Western Washington University (2006). She operates a large movement education center, Core Kinetics Movement & Pilates, in Bellingham. She has been teaching anatomy, human movement, and business classes for over 16 years, and greatly enjoys being a student as well as a teacher. She has taught at Middle Way since 2012.


Guest Lecturers

Stephen Brown, L. Ac.

Stephen Brown, L.Ac., graduated from the Japan Central Acupuncture College in 1983. He is licensed in Japan in acupuncture, moxibustion and acupressure. Stephen has written several articles and translated several texts into English from Japanese including Introduction to Meridian Therapy and Finding Effective Acupuncture Points by Denmei Shudo. He has taught students at Middle Way since 2009.

Jason Robertson, L. Ac.

Jason Robertson, M.S., L.Ac., is a graduate of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (2000). He is involved in ongoing post-graduate studies in Beijing with acupuncture specialist, Dr. Wang. In collaboration, they wrote and published Applied Channel Theory in Chinese Medicine (Eastland Press, 2008). Jason maintains a private practice in Seattle. He has taught at Middle Way since 2011.

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