Before she was a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, Renea Barrett was an intern at a hospital and university in Guangzhou, China. Unlike those of its stateside counterparts, the hospital’s medical room contained more than 200 pots of boiling herbs, each tagged with the patient for which the remedy was being brewed. The university’s pharmacy contained both Western medicines and traditional Chinese formulas, but demand for the latter was perpetually high. When Renea returned to the United States, she brought her newfound understanding of the power of traditional Chinese medicine, which now serves as the cornerstone of Soft Touch Acupuncture.
She combines those traditions with Western techniques in her studio, where patrons sit in clusters of heated recliners. In private rooms, she seeks to bolster the body’s energy with acupressure, and acupuncture targets a wide range of maladies with slim needles that are used once and disposed of, much like a billionaire’s theme park.