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About Me


About Maria

I am one of the few second-generation acupuncturists with a lifetime of exposure to Chinese Medicine, with a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Five Branches University of Chinese Medicine. My mother, Donna Leight, L.Ac. O.M.D. was a pioneer in Traditional Chinese Medicine with over thirty years of clinical experience.

Every day I went to work, I shared a clinic with my wonderful mother.  She passed away suddenly after an 8-month bout with colon cancer. I was blessed to have had her as my mentor and mother.  She was the vison of grace, calmness, care and love that I try to emulate in my everyday practice.  I am also blessed to be able to treat her patients, some who were treated by her for over 30 years.  I know she is proud of the work I am doing.


What do I love about my practice?

I love just about everything about my practice. 

The grew up surrounded by the parameters of Chinese Medicine. Eastern Philosophy is based on the premise that all life occurs within the circle of nature (The Tao). Things within this matrix are connected and mutually dependent upon each other.  Yin -Yang is a symbolic representation of universal process that portrays a changing rather than a static picture.  


Everything is in motion, all process is cyclic, and everything contains its opposite.  Chinese medicine does not separate cause from effect, but a cycle of transformations that unite. It is these dynamic, rich and eloquent ideas that lead to become a Doctor of Chinese Medicine.  


I have a BS degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology, I constantly am accessing that knowledge as it pertains to my practice.  The anatomy and physiology of the human body is fascinating.  I am able to understand the molecular properties and processes of western medicine and also apply it to my practice.  I use both of these etiologies in my practice.


I also love to teach TCM, I have a curious mind and quest for knowledge.  Teaching challenges me every day, I have learned an abundant amount of knowledge, that I am blessed to share with my students. This is something I consider to be one of my strengths.  


I was mentored by amazing practitioners in my journey to become a health practitioner ( and I STILL am mentored) I am currently a supervisor/professor at Five Branches in all phases of the student’s TCM studies. I also have interns that assist me in my clinic.  I feel I have experiences to impart on my students. As one of my teacher told me it is my “civic duty to teach” which I humbly accept. 


I enjoy my work immensely and get much joy from my patients and their health successes.  I care about their wellness and go out of my way to provide excellent care.  I also need to give that same amount of care to my own self.  I need to make priority to have moments of self-care in my day.  I cannot wait to be too tired, then have to rest.  I need to have balance too.


What is the most difficult part about considering how TCM diagnoses and Western biomedical diagnoses are related?


The differences in TCM diagnosis compared to Western biomedical are vastly different.  Each approach to medicine is uniquely its own.  Because our perception of the world influences how we live it, our experiences shape our thinking.  In describing just, the way things are from a TCM background vs a Western vantage point is not necessarily the same.  


Each makes sense of their ways according to different set of beliefs. In the West science is based on that we are separate from nature. Chinese medicine sees the duality of nature and humankind.


How are these two polar medical etiologies similar? What do they share in common?


Medicine not only defines health and science, but how we see ourselves, how we live.  Both TCM and Western thinking aim to heal the body.  Cooperation, integration and partnership are intertwined it their relationship to each other.  I strive to connect and integrate these two dynamic approaches in my practice. 

Education and Certifications

Five Branches University Doctoral Degree Chinese Medicine

Five Branches University Masters Degree Chinese Medicine

San Jose State University BS Kinesiology

Certification Integrated Sports Medicine

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