get to know
Here are some rapid-fire facts to get to know me a little better, peppered with a few food and travel recommendations.
Mission: Helping clients achieve their health objectives through natural medicine + intentional self-care
Born + Raised: Mid-City Los Angeles on the traditional territory of the Tongva People
Living In: Victoria, British Columbia on the unceded territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən, W̱SÁNEĆ, and Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) Peoples
Ancestry: Guatemala and the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal)
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, French
Wildest Thing I've Ever Done: Walked 500 miles across Spain along the Camino de Santiago, where I met my Canadian partner. Together, we decided to move to Victoria, BC!
Greatest Pleasures: Traveling, long and quiet mornings, a good cup of tea, meditation, cooking, meals with loved ones, forest walks, writing, naturally dyeing fabrics, sharing my love of plants and mushrooms with others
Favorite Books: The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo, The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, The Gift by Hafiz, Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes
Pine + Crane in LA - Three Cup Mushroom or Dan Dan Noodles, spicy peanuts, wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, marinated lotus root, and sautéed spinach
Bao in Victoria - Truffle Chashu Ramen
Travel: I've visited 25+ countries and my favorites travel destinations are Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, Athens + Paros Island in Greece, Mallorca in Spain, Porto in Portugal, Tokyo + Yakushima in Japan, Taroko Gorge in Taiwan, Sydney, Australia, Ucluelet, BC and of course, the beautiful city I have the privilege to live in, Victoria BC.
Bachelors in International Relations (Cum Laude), Univeristy of Southern California, Los Angeles (2009)
Master's in Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yo San University, Los Angeles (2015)
Diploma of Phytotherapy (Summa Cum Laude), Pacific Rim College, Victoria, British Columbia (2022)
Andrea Penagos LAc, Dipl. OM, MATCM, Dipl. Phyto. is a Medical Herbalist, California-Licensed Acupuncturist, and Reiki Master Teacher with over a decade of experience in the health and wellness field. Andrea guides her patients towards radiant health through the tools of Western Herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), lifestyle medicine, and individualized holistic care.
Andrea holds a Masters Degree in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine from Yo San Unviersity of Chinese Medicine in Los Angeles, California. Since 2015, Andrea is an active Board Licensed Acupuncturist in the state of California and is certified by the U.S. National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Andrea is also a Reiki Master Teacher trained under Reiki Master Teacher Syd Yang in Los Angeles, California.
In June 2022, Andrea graduated Summa Cum Laude from Pacific Rim College's Phytotherapy Program, expanding her knowledge of herbalism from Eastern Medicine into Western Herbal Medicine. Andrea offers online Western herbal consults to clients throughout Canada and the United States.
in my own words
I’ve had an affinity for traditional healing and plants since childhood. Born and raised in Los Angeles, I spent much of my early years in my family’s lush Mid City backyard, an oasis within the urban jungle surrounding our small house. On any given afternoon, you would find me outside making "tea" with my mother's beautiful flowers - lemon blossoms, begonias, geraniums, passionflowers, birds of paradise. I didn't know at the time, but nature was teaching me to make my first herbal remedies and flower essences. In the evenings, I'd treat my parents to massages when they returned home tired and achy from work. These were the small joys in my world - connecting to nature and caring for my loved ones.
Those formative years left a strong impression on me as I became a young adult fascinated by the world of healing and herbal medicine. As a teenager growing up in Guatemala City, I would spend hours searching the web for information about herbs, aromatherapy, and healing. At a school book fair, I purchased a copy of Robert Hittleman's "Yoga 28-Day Exercise Plan" (written in 1969), and started practicing yoga and meditation in my room after school. This early exploration of the healing arts laid a foundation for what was to come, personally and professionally.
I returned to Los Angeles for a Bachelors Degree in International Relations at USC, which turned into a full-time administrative job at a small non-profit facilitating healing arts curriculum for survivors of domestic violence. I loved my job, but quickly felt burnt out after five years of higher education and long days at a busy, demanding organization.
I yearned to be more involved in the healing arts, so I chose to pivot directions. While working my 9-to-5 job, I enrolled into a 200-hr teacher training at Liberation Yoga, and then a prenatal Kundalini yoga training at Golden Bridge Yoga.
Finally, I quit my job and traveled to India where I was introduced to other forms of alternative healing, earning certificates in Reiki Level One and Two, and Tibetan acupressure massage. Dr. Kyi, my massage instructor, was also a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and the first to introduce me to acupressure points, meridians, and a basic understanding of Chinese medical theory (to read more about that story, click here). My exposure to Eastern healing modalities during that trip shifted the trajectory of my professional career.
In 2011, I sought out a comprehensive program in traditional healing and herbalism, enrolling in Yo San University’s Masters of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine program in Los Angeles. Over the span of four years, I trained in TCM theory and diagnostics, acupuncture energetics, Chinese herbal medicine, and Qi cultivation practices. In my last year of the program, I interned at Yo San’s Community Clinic and completed an integrative healthcare externship at the Venice Family Clinic. In addition, I traveled to Beijing, China to observe at the China Beijing International Acupuncture Training Center, receiving specialty seminars on gynecology, neurology, internal medicine, orthopedics, and dermatology.
In 2015, I passed the California Acupuncture Board Exam and became a licensed acupuncturist. I went on to earn a Diploma in Oriental Medicine (Dipl.O.M.) from the U.S. National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). In 2017, I earned the title of Reiki Master under intuitive healer Syd Yang, deepening my studies in energetic and spiritual healing.
For five years I held a private practice in Mid City Los Angeles, focusing on pain management, fertility, hormonal heath, emotional wellbeing, and lifestyle medicine. I was active in my community leading a weekly BIPOC meditation circle, group acupuncture clinics, self-care workshops, and wellness retreats locally and in Guatemala.
In June 2022, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Pacific Rim College in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada with a degree in Phytotherapy (Western Herbal Medicine). Since the early days in my mother's garden, I longed to create a deep relationship with the medicinal plants of my homelands, and now that dream has come full circle.
Traditional healing, herbal medicine, energy medicine, whole foods nutrition, mindful movement, and meditation are the life-giving practices I know and trust. I have worked in wellness for nearly a decade and in that time have witnessed the impact of natural medicine not only in myself, but in the clients I have helped live fuller, healthier lives through these modalities.
We all have an innate capacity to heal ourselves and live vibrant, dynamic, creative lives. It's my mission to support you in that process.
I offer online Western herbal consults to patients throughout Canada and the United States.