Monarch Health and Wellness owner Travis Bueckner with a reproduction of India's Taj Mahal. It was Bueckner's largest Lego project at the time and helped him process grief after his mother lost a battle with cancer. Bueckner's mother is pictured in the photo above the model on a trip to India.
If Travis Bueckner had his way, he’d stick a needle in the top of everyone’s head, and maybe have them sit down and put together a moderately difficult Lego set.
Before panicking about the needle, know that Bueckner is a licensed acupuncturist and owner of Monarch Health and Wellness at 4855 River Road North.
“Imagine your body having roads and highways. For the most part things function pretty well, but then you have an accident and develop pain – or even struggle with depression or PTSD – those are traffic jams. Acupuncture is the same as [the Oregon Department of Transportation] going in and clearing up the roads and replacing bridges and allowing things to move smoothly again,” said Bueckner.
For those new to the idea, acupuncture involves the placement of needles in the skin to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. The techniques are rooted in traditional Chinese medicine as a way of balancing the flow of energy through the body. Placing a single needle at the vertex of a patient’s skull produces, in some, a quick release of tension through the shoulders and sternum. The sensation is akin to dropping a towel and letting air flow across the chest.
“It may feel a little weird at first, but my goal is to make you float away on a cloud,” Bueckner said.
Lego's recreation of the Colosseum in Rome clocks in at more than 9,000 pieces.
Bueckner is well aware that not everyone relishes the idea of needles, especially the ones inserted into them, but he has intention behind every decision in his approach. His first technique for disarming patients is his office décor, which is Lego-themed.
In the Monarch lobby, there is an 878-piece bonsai, a 5,923-piece recreation of the Taj Mahal, a 1,68-piece model of the Statue of Liberty and, his latest acquisition, a 9,036-piece reproduction of the Roman Colosseum in Italy. The hallway is lined with smaller Lego models of major city skylines from around the globe. He is in the process of acquiring Lego bouquets for each room where he treats patients.
“I decided on the skylines because I’ve had a number of patients with PTSD and that can make the outside, outdoor world a very scary place. The skylines are a reminder that seeing other places can also be peaceful,” Bueckner said.
A Lego reproduction of Dubai's skyline is one of many in the Monarch Wellness office on River Road. Owner Travis Bueckner uses the skylines to remind patients with PTSD that the outside world can be a place of wonder.
The Taj Mahal in the lobby was the first large-scale project he tackled, and discovered how therapeutic and cathartic Lego-building can be. He built it in memory of his mother who lost a second-round battle with cancer. She visited the marble mausoleum in India and came back with a forced-perspective image of her touching the top of the dome.
“Building it was a very meditative experience. There were times when I was crying as I built,” Bueckner said.
He hasn’t gotten to the point of combining Legos and acupuncture yet, but he isn’t opposed to the idea. He said both experiences can kickstart the body’s natural healing processes.
“All of us have had trauma in our lives. By stimulating the things the body already does to heal, we open up a new space for patients to pause and reflect and digest those experiences in new ways,” Bueckner said.
Monarch Health and Wellness is accepting new patients, call 503-393-1499. Prior to pursuing acupuncture, Bueckner worked as an insurance agent and adjuster and is well-versed in helping patients navigate coverage when it applies to acupuncture treatment.
A Lego bonsai tree.