John Rybak, L.Ac.
The WellBridge Clinic
About John Rybak, L.Ac.
John Rybak’s mission is to transform not just people’s health, but also help them realize that they can expect so much more from their own health and the Health Care Providers who help them. It all started in 1989. John was in an ambulance on a backboard in one of those deluxe neck collars that go up to your chin and down to your shoulders. The board was super uncomfortable, but his neck hurt worse. During football practice that day, he got hit at a funny angle and his neck seized up and started shooting pains like someone had plugged him into an electric outlet. The doctor that night and every other visit since said there was nothing they could see or fix. They suggested pain killers and ice.
John spent the next 7 years going to his chiropractor 1-2 times every week and swallowing 800mg of ibuprofen every day. He had chronic pain in his neck, jaws, back and a constant headache. Chiropractic helped for a day or two but clearly wasn’t a long term, stand-alone solution. He kept on playing sports. John also had an unusual curiosity for science and biology that grew quickly with the kind mentorship of some special people in his life. By 1996, John was a National Science Foundation Scholar and publishing research as a Systems Biologist at the University of Colorado. At that point he was still in constant pain when his mother, a queen of practicality, suggested he try acupuncture. John skeptically took his mother’s advice and made an appointment with an acupuncturist. The acupuncture treatments were amazing and after a few visits, John felt better than he had since that football practice in 1989. Keep in mind that John is a scientist driven by curiosity. After those first acupuncture visits he would go back to his research lab for work. That is when he began to realize that he was asking the wrong questions.
As a scientist, he wanted to know more about how acupuncture works.
In 1996 there wasn’t much research on acupuncture, so within a year John had a plane ticket to Singapore followed by China and Japan. He spent the next 10 years finding every excuse to live and work in Asia so that he could learn more as a student, apprentice, and intern. He visited and studied with acupuncturists, martial arts masters, yogis, monks, sufis, meditation masters, massage and body workers, herbalists, healers from many traditions, biofield-energy workers, and executive coaches. During those 10 years John also worked as a science writer, bar tender, environmental consultant, public school teacher in Japan, construction worker, Laboratory manager, gardener, research biologist and author. John has worked for Universities, Government Agencies, NGOs, as well as in the private sector including one the world’s largest environmental consultancies.
By 2008 John’s passion for medicine and the need for an expanded medical model was ignited by watching a series of friends and loved ones become sicker and sicker with the properly prescribed procedures and pills from their well intentioned doctors. John couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore. He could see there was a huge problem in health care and it needed more options that are effective and safe. John explored becoming a Naturopath, Chiropractor, and an Osteopath but nothing compared to what Acupuncture could do to help people. It was obvious to John that acupuncture is under utilized and poorly communicated in America and had so much potential to transform people’s lives. At the same time he could see that acupuncture could really transform the health care system in America by effectively helping people get better without surgeries and prescriptions that are risky and expensive. With a kick in the pants from life, John had no choice but to realize his vision. He chose acupuncture and Chinese medical school and applied to the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) in Portland, Oregon. At OCOM he completed the comprehensive 4 year medical program that included acupuncture, the many aspects of Chinese medicine, and is balanced with modern medicine.
John’s purpose is to help as many people as possible transform their health and their lives with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. He knows it’s important to communicate in a way that makes sense to people. It is that experience with his own health problems, reluctance to try acupuncture, and unprecedented research into acupuncture that empower John to become the bridge for more people to a more complete health care system. In 2013 John started what has become The WellBridge Clinic. At the clinic he and his team incorporate a full spectrum of medical tools including acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, cupping, massage, moxabustion, herbal medicine, nutrition, exercise, and meditation. John continues to be a consummate scientist, while understanding the need for a little magic. He understands that there is a time and place for surgeries and prescriptions. His job is to help prevent the escalation of medical interventions.
Personally, John loves adventure, exploration, and sports. Curiosity has been a theme for John for his entire life. Over the years he has visited nearly 30 countries and can at least speak politely in 23 languages. John can also speak rather colorfully in several of those languages. He is blessed to share these adventures with his wife and daughter. Together, they live in Portland Oregon. They keep active and love to snowboard, camp, practice yoga and tai chi, paddle board, go fishing, read, river raft, SCUBA dive, and hang out with friends. John dreams of surfing more often and cares for a small but vibrant collection of exotic orchids.