About Bending Bamboo

Essential Acute & Chronic Pain Care

Bending Bamboo is a metaphor for flexibility and strength. As with each tree , healthy roots yield strong trunks, strong limbs, strong branches and leaves.

A functional model of training in and applying eastern and western pain recovery methods has yielded a model that when applied touches the deep roots of the central nervous system while balancing the function of our spine, torso and limbs.

In Bending Bamboo, as a practice, the goal is to meet injury & pain with compassion, carefulness and comprehensive technical ability, subtlety and intuition.



About Aaron Hemmen

Acupuncture / Doctor of Oriental Medicine

From 1969 to 1986, I was a performance dancer and ultimately a dance teacher. During this time, I was confronted with sports injuries, which set the stage for a deepening interest in injury prevention and recovery. This led me to become a personal trainer, gymnasium manager and massage therapist.

I came to Santa Fe in 1987 and found work as a personal trainer at a tennis, swim and fitness club. Within a few months, a position opened up for me to be trained as a physical therapy tech at a new clinic. I worked under an M.D.’s supervision while being trained by an excellent staff of professionals in how to apply electro-stim, ultrasound, heat therapies, medical massage, and rehab exercise for pain relief and injury recovery. Our pain patients had experienced auto accidents, whiplash, slip-and- fall injuries and a variety of sprain-strain injuries. Weekly case reviews helped to tailor each treatment plan to fit a patient’s needs. An additional key in our patient’s successful recovery was in providing longer comprehensive treatments.

From 1990 to 1994, I was still working as a PT tech and massage therapist. Simultaneously, I began a four-year course of study to become an acupuncture practitioner/doctor of oriental medicine. This interest arose from observing how effective the D.O.M. at our clinic was in helping to quell pain with our shared patients. I believed that bridging these two worlds would yield a method that would better serve my patients’ recovery from injury and pain.

After becoming licensed as acupuncturist/doctor of oriental medicine in 1994, I branched out into private practice to test the waters by combining acupuncture and manual therapies. I could now add Chinese hands-on forms to my treatment plans. While on staff as a medical massage instructor at The New Mexico Academy for Healing Arts, I took advanced courses in skeletal biomechanics and cranial-sacral technique. This led to a two-year association with an M.D. colleague and my acquisition of the physical medicine modalities I had used in my first clinic training. The responsibility to diagnose and provide treatment for my patients required careful application of all that I had learned.

Today, I continue to provide longer treatments to benefit my patients’ recovery from acute and chronic pain. Additional education has opened me to subtler approaches that stem from cranial-sacral methods. It has become clear that combining oriental medicine with cranial-sacral methods increases central-nervous system relaxation and the body’s ability to activate immune system response and resolve pain.


Medical Field Experience:

  • 1994 to now     –  New Mexico licensed Doctor of Oriental Medicine / Acupuncture
  • 2000 to 2004  –  New Mexico Academy for Healing Arts,  Medical Massage Instructor
  • 1998 to 2000  –  Medical Office Association with Doctor Stephan Wise M.D.
  • 1992 to 2008  –  New Mexico licensed Massage Therapist
  • 1990 to 1992  –  Physical Therapy Tech., under Dr. Richard Shurla D.O.
  • 1988 to 1990  –  Physical Therapy Tech., under Dr. Bill Dean M.D

Personal Training Experience:

  • 1990 to 1992  –  Rehab Exercise Trainer, Santa Fe, NM, under Dr. Skurla D.O.
  • 1988 to 1991  –  The Club at El Gancho, Santa Fe, NM, Personal Trainer
  • 1988 to 1990  –  Rehab Exercise Trainer, Santa Fe, NM under Bill Dean M.D.
  • 1984 to 1987  –  Palm Springs Spa Hotel, CA, Personal Trainer, Gym Manager

Dance & Tai Chi Experience:

  • 2008 to now   –  Celestial Dragon Tai Chi & Chi Gong, Santa Fe, NM, Student of Frank Aon
  • 1990 to 1997 –  Tai Chi & Chi Gong, Santa Fe, NM, Student of Daniel Santos, DOM
  • 1981 to 1984  –  Center for New Dance & Yoga, Palo Alto CA, Instructor
  • 1979 to 1980  –  West Coast Teaching & Performing Tour, 5 University residencies
  • 1977 to 1980  –  Juneau, Alaska, Wet Weather Refuge Dance Studio, Director
  • 1973 to 1976  –  Founding member of Mangrove Dance Company, Contact Improv.
  • 1972 to 1976  –  Everybody's’ Dance Studio, Modern Dance Student and Instructor
  • 1973 to 1976  –  Oakland Ballet Company, Company Member
  • 1971 to 1972  –  San Francisco Ballet Academy, 

    Company Intern

  • 1968 to 1970  –  Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle WA