A lot of people ask us, “Why do you call yourselves Farm Hands?” The name, Farm Hands, came to me at an important time of my life when I was least expecting it. I've learned to listen to the little voice of inspiration that seems to spring out of nowhere. Since receiving the name, its meanings and applications have become more and more clear to me. Before I became an acupuncturist and herbalist, I was a farmer. There is something very similar about working with the land and working with a human being.
When I first started thinking about the name, Farm Hands Acupuncture and Massage, some people thought it was a bad idea. It would make much more marketing sense to call ourselves Bainbridge Acupuncture and Massage or North Kitsap Acupuncture. Some of the people who knew us, realized right away that Farm Hands Acupuncture and Massage was the perfect fit because it says something about who we are as people and practitioners not just a name for SEO optimization.
I left home in my late teens and didn't have much, but I decided to see the world. I was able to travel through most of the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and even some of the Middle East. Although I never really thought I would become a farmer, I started doing migrant farm labor to fund my travels. Working in the hot sun, and close to the seasons, invigorated a deep connection with the natural world.
As I was traveling around doing some migrant farm labor, I was lucky enough to visit a small organic and biodynamic farm in Mexico. This experience sparked an idea in me where I could start to see my personal views on social and climate justice start to align with a practical application of work.
Shortly after my travels in Mexico I decided to do an apprenticeship on a biodynamic farm in Northern California called Live Power Community Farm. At that time, I didn't really realize it, but I think I was a little bit depressed. After working for a few months on the farm–eating seasonally, working hard, and having my hands in the dirt–my depression started to lift off. Not only did I learn how to take care of vegetables and animals, I learned how to take care of people and myself. This is where I started making connections between how my lifestyle, diet, and sense of purpose affected my mental-emotional state.
I continued my journey in organic and biodynamic farming and ended up managing farms in the United States and in England. My wife–and business partner–Debbie and I had met in Greece a few years before this time. I went to England to be around her and quickly found a job on an organic farm in Timsbury so I could be around her more. Before too long, we decided to get married and move to the United States. Debbie was already doing massage and body work while I continued to work in organic farming.
Once in the States we found work farming at Heritage Farm on San Juan Island, WA. One summer day, my back went out, and I couldn’t work. Not knowing what to do, I somehow got a hold of a local acupuncture clinic. After a few treatments my back pain was gone, and I was back to work. Although I loved and still do love agriculture, there was an itch that needed to be scratched. I had caught some kind of natural medicine bug. Why was it that what I ate affected my mood and mental state? How did those little needles make my back pain go away? What were the connections between the natural world around me and health? How could I use it to help others?
These are a few of the questions that swirled around my mind as I decided to go back to school. I was drawn towards East Asian Medicine through a wonderful school called Bastyr University which offered training in acupuncture and herbalism. It also had a beautiful herbal garden in its back yard. In East Asian Medicine I found a system that was rooted in a deep connection with nature. Commonly referred to as “mind-body” medicine in the modern Western world, East Asian Medicine gave me a pathway to move into the healing arts while taking what I had learned as a farmer with me. East Asian Medicine, at its roots, is a natural medicine where the mind, body, and spirit of a person are taken into account. What is going on in our environment is connected to what is going on in our internal world and it is about much more than just hormonal deficiencies.
Now my path has led me full circle as Debbie and I open our second natural medicine clinic, Farm Hands in Bainbridge, WA. While we offer our acupuncture, herbal medicine, and massage, we are also building a natural home and developing a small permaculture farm. As farmers and healers we practice a cultivation of balance. Through our practice we have developed an intuitive strength that is guided by the rhythms of nature. We learned when to touch the soil to make something grow and how to apply that in our body work and herbal practices. Through Farm Hands, we live out our dream of providing something positive to Life and to our community.
Tim McGee is an acupuncturist, herbalist, farmer, and permaculture expert. He and his wife, Debbie Nicol-McGee, created Farm Hands Acupuncture and Massage on Bainbridge Island, WA. They provide natural therapies for many problems and work to support wellness in their clients and community.
If you would like to talk with Tim, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.