Experienced Practitioners

In China, old doctors are revered because it is only through a lifetime of practice that one gains wisdom and experience.

Today in the west, most practitioners of Chinese medicine open a practice right out of school, without residency under a skilled and experienced clinician. This would never happen in China, where every student is required to complete years of mentorship under an advanced level practitioner. It is a sad state of affairs that Chinese medicine schools are for profit organizations, churning out doctorate level students excited to practice medicine without the real skillset to do so safely and effectively. Thus, Chinese medicine has a reputation that it takes a long time, patients do not get better and neither practitioner or patient really knows what to expect from treatments.  The truth is, Chinese medicine is not hard to learn, and is not hard to practice.  It is not an esoteric practice of tapping in needles and letting a patient rest while they listen to Enya.  The true practice of medicine in any field deals with life and death situations. It must do more help than har, and must be taught in real life clinical situations for it to be understood and applied deftly. Our clinic aims to prove there is a difference when an experienced hand applies the tools and concepts of Chinese medicine with common sense and clarity whether for wellness or serious conditions. We aim to teach the public how effective and tangible Chinese medicine can be, we hope each client learns to be discerning in health care, and we aim to teach our colleagues how to truly understand and apply what they learned in school for repeatable and consistent results.

Andrew and JulieAnn Nugent-Head spent a combined 36 years in China studying directly under the last old doctors of Beijing.  Through this rare mentor – disciple training, doctoral studies in the Chinese University system, and residency in the hospitals of Beijing and Hangzhou, JulieAnn and Andrew have seen more patients, treatments and Chinese herbal prescriptions than most western practitioners will see in their lifetime. This unparalleled experience is incredible, and they chose to live right here in beautiful Western North Carolina. With fluency in written and spoken Chinese, and a dedication to teach others how to achieve the same tangible and effective results, there is no better choice for your care than this dedicated team of professionals.

Andrew Nugent-Head Alternative Clinic

Andrew Nugent-Head, Practitioner of Oriental Medicine, MSOM, LAc 

Andrew Nugent-Head comes from a multilingual family of English, Russian and French heritage.  Speaking three languages fluently by 18. Andrew arrived in Taiwan in 1986 to study Chinese, expecting his life to take him toward working with languages and the United Nations. However, a car accident and broken foot led him to discover the incredible healing powers of Chinese medicine; Andrew’s broken foot was healed from herbal treatment in such a short time that he was hiking in the Himalayas just weeks later. Andrew’s life path immediately changed, and he decided to stay in China to study Chinese medicine.

In 1989, Andrew entered the Chinese university system, and discovered the philosophy of the old doctors was being replaced by western medicine concepts.  As his previous experience seemed much more traditional, he sought out traditional practitioners to learn outside of the university channels.  He found that communism had nearly extinguished traditional thought and culture, classic books had been edited and revised, and few traditional practitioners were still alive and willing to teach.  Andrew thus founded the Association for Traditional Studies (ATS) to find and document traditional practitioners who were born and in practice prior to the changes of 1949 to ensure their wisdom was preserved for future generations.  Through three decades of working with and documenting the last old doctors, Andrew’s work resulted in one of the largest online libraries of Chinese medicine material available in English. Being the documentarian and “last disciple” of great doctors also lead to an incredible clarity and medical skill that Andrew continues to share with practitioners around the world. Continuing that work through the Alternative Clinic, Andrew and wife JulieAnn aim to practice and teach the clarity and efficacy of the medicine they learned from the last great scholars with their colleagues. Andrew is a renowned Chinese medical practitioner, teacher and martial artist.

Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture | The Alternative Clinic

JulieAnn Nugent-Head MD (China)

JulieAnn was an elementary school teacher, with a curiosity and passion for natural remedies. In 1996, watching two family members become drastically ill, she began to read about herbal medicine, and immersed herself in the study of herbology. Quickly realizing she needed a mentor and guide, JulieAnn enrolled in formal studies and completed a master’s degree in Oriental medicine in the United States. With the great fortune to meet Andrew Nugent-Head while in graduate school, JulieAnn benefited from hospital internships in Beijing during the summers of 2003 and 2004.  She immediately recognized the incredible difference in the practice of medicine in China versus the introductory training she had received in the west.  JulieAnn thus moved to China full time, and was able to assist the Association for Traditional Studies project to document two of Beijing’s most famous traditional practitioners Dr Li Hongxiang (1924-2018) and Dr Chen Tongyun (1922 -).  This exposure to classically based clinical medicine led JulieAnn to understand the incredible practicality of Chinese medicine in a new light.  Learning to speak, read and write Chinese, JulieAnn became immersed in the culture and fell in love with asian philosophy.
Encouraged by Dr. Li to receive doctoral level qualifications, JulieAnn received a scholarship from the Zhejiang University of Chinese Medicine, and completed a doctoral level medical degree in Chinese with focus on the classical application of herbs and foundations of clinical practice. After eight and a half years living in China, with four years in a rural farming village, the changing visa rules and regulations for foreigners practicing medicine led JulieAnn and husband Andrew to return to the United States.
Now residing in Asheville, North Carolina, JulieAnn treats patients at the Alternative Clinic, oversees development of Appalasia tea and herb farm, and teaches post graduate herb programs in Zurich, London and Frankfurt.
Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture | The Alternative Clinic

David Trevino Practitioner of Oriental Medicine, LAc

David is a native Spanish speaker, born and raised in Mexico City. With 16 years of clinical practice and 9 years teaching students, David’s extensive experience also includes working with Houston’s Brain Injury Rehab Center, Harvard’s Mind Body Medical Institute’s Cardiac Rehab program, and Anderson’s Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine program.

After implementing the tangible treatment strategies learned from Andrew Nugent-Head over the last eight years, David experienced a number of his patients showing dramatic improvements. He is delighted to be working at the Alternative Clinic providing authentic and tangible Chinese medicine alongside Andrew and JulieAnn.

Hannah Dietz, Practitioner of Oriental Medicine, DAcm

Hannah’s exposure to Chinese medicine began at a young age. Her aunt was an acupuncturist, so she grew up with a wholistic approach to health and was inspired to gain skills to offer medical care to others.

Hannah graduated from Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts in 2020 with a Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. An athlete herself, she found the field of orthopedics to be one of the most exciting and applicable courses in both her Masters and Doctoral training at Daoist Traditions. A lifelong equestrian and competitive athlete in climbing, mountain biking, and gravel biking, she had dealt with many sports-related injuries. After experiencing firsthand the efficacy of orthopedic acupuncture for acute and chronic physical injury,  Hannah was eager to learn more about healing faster and performing better using a wholistic understanding of the body. Not only did treatments speed her own recovery from injuries, she also found acupuncture to be extremely effective at helping the body maintain conditioning and preventing future injuries.

Upon graduation from Daoist Traditions, Hannah did an internship studying under Andrew & JulieAnn Nugent-Head here at the Alternative Clinic. She was hired upon completion and is thrilled to be practicing at the clinic. She is excited to share her passion for sports with other athletes and help them recover from injuries and reach their full potential through Chinese medicine.

Please call us at 828-424-7415 if you have questions