Up Front With Dr. Mao: Co-Founder Of Tao Of Wellness
Posted Jul. 12, 2012, 1:00 am
Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, known as Dr. Mao, is a 38th-generation doctor of Chinese medicine, an authority on Taoist anti-aging medicine, and author of the best-selling book Secrets of Longevity, Second Spring: Hundreds of Natural Secrets for Women to Revitalize and Regenerate at Any Age, Secrets of Self-Healing, and most recently, Secrets of Longevity 8-Week Program: Simple Steps that Add Years to Your Life.
Dr. Mao is a co-founder of Yo San University and the Tao of Wellness, the acclaimed center for nutrition, Chinese medicine, and acupuncture, located in Santa Monica.
Dr. Mao was born into a medical family spanning many generations and started his medical training with his father, a renowned physician of Chinese medicine and Taoist Master, and continued his trainings in schools both in the U.S. and China. After receiving his doctorate degrees and completing his PH.D. Dissertation on Nutrition, Dr. Mao did his graduate work at Shanghai Medical University and its affiliated hospitals and began his 25-year study of centenarians in China. He is currently a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the National Alliance of Oriental Medicine.
Along with your brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, you founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago. What have been some of the keys to success for maintaining such a successful business in Santa Monica?
I have always felt that in life, everything you do should be done with a focus on exceptional quality and care. Whether you are providing a product or a service, people will always search for the best.
We have always maintained that we would rather have a happy patient that continues to come back then to have many patients that only come once.
As a result, we have been blessed with a flourishing practice that has grown to include offices in Newport Beach and Pasadena (summer 2012) to best serve our patients.
You two also founded Yo San University in Marina del Rey. What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenges that we encountered while attempting to start Yo San University were rooted in the fact that we were young and naïve about the processes involved with starting a school, and what we would need to do.
However, our naivety did in turn keep us from having too much fear of the work involved, and kept us from being discouraged from taking on a project of that size. The other challenge is finding the right people to help us run the school and teach.
Yo San University has a reputation as the premiere school for studying acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and we are only able to maintain that by surrounding ourselves with qualified professionals and top-notch professors and clinicians in their respective fields.
What has the experience been of being a business partner with your brother?
Working with my brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, has been a great experience. Like all partnerships, there is a tremendous amount of understanding and trust needed; but luckily, that was already part of our relationship.
Even though we are both far from perfect, we have allowed each other to make mistakes and learn from them, which is helped by finding that our strengths and weaknesses complement each other.
Additionally, there has always been a natural competitiveness between us as brothers, and that has helped us to strive to be better.
The fact that neither of us had any business training meant that we had to work harder than anyone else to overcome that deficiency. We have both pushed each other to be better doctors and business partners.
You appear regularly on “Dr. Oz,” “The Doctors,” and “EXTRA.” What are these experiences like?
Most of my appearances on television occur because of word of mouth – producers who read my books or patients who have made referrals. Each appearance leads to another and many more.
Due to time constraints with my practice and my international lecture tour schedule, I make a handful of TV appearances each year and overall, it has been a great experience because I learn different ways to be better from each show.
In the beginning, it was nerve-wracking and I had the usual self-consciousness about being on television and in front of a live audience. In order to combat any lingering stage fright, I try to stay focused on the message and knowledge I so passionately want to share with the host and audience, which helps me to forget about the hundreds of live audience members.
Doing shows like “Dr. Oz” is very beneficial because I am a great admirer of Dr. Oz for the work and success he has had and how he has been instrumental as an ambassador for empowering people with self-care and also opening up the public’s perception about what I do, which is complementary and natural medicine.
What made you go into Eastern Medicine?
Many people may think that I chose my career because of my family’s multigenerational legacy of physician-teachers in acupuncture and Chinese Medicine; however, that is not the only reason.
When I was six years old I accidentally fell from the rooftop of our three-story home, which left me in a coma for a month and greatly weakened by the trauma. Through the loving care of my father, who was a doctor of Chinese medicine, and my mother, I was able to regain my health.
I still hold the memory of the herbal teas, morning Tai Chi and Qi Gong practices, acupuncture sessions, and special food preparations. So, I felt that I owed my life to Chinese Medicine and that inspired me to make spreading the power and wisdom of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to the world as my life's mission.
After nearly 30 years of doing so, it has been a great experience in shaping both who I have become, as well as provided a platform for health and life transformation for many of our patients.