Alumnus Spotlight: Glenn Soja

Headshot of Glenn Soja

Glenn Soja, MS ('06), LAc, EAMP, Dipl OM, began his education on the allopathic premed track. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Arizona, Soja traveled to Washington to visit his brother and establish residency in order to attend the University of Washington’s medical school. Since establishing residency would take at least a year, he took a job as an associate scientist at a biotech company in the interim. Working in a lab re-confirmed for him that he wanted to work in the clinical side of medicine. Over the years, he met several friends who were attending Bastyr University and his interest in natural medicine began to grow.

As a child, Soja had regularly visited his grandmother in Japan, where he saw her benefit firsthand from Chinese herbal medicine. She received moxibustion treatments for her legs, a heat therapy that uses dried herbs burned close to the skin, intended to invigorate the flow of qi and help patients with conditions such as pain and digestive problems. Thanks to his experiences abroad and his exposure to Bastyr, Soja’s interest in Chinese herbal medicine grew. In 2003, he applied to and was accepted into Bastyr’s acupuncture program, and the shift from allopathic medicine to botanical and Chinese herbal medicine was a perfect fit.

Soja received his license to practice acupuncture and East Asian medicine in 2007. He worked alongside Bastyr University co-founder Dr. William A. Mitchell, Jr., while he was alive, and continues to practice with Dr. Mitchell’s daughter, Dr. Leah Mitchell, at the Mitchell Center for Natural Healing in Seattle. Soja specializes in the treatment of complex dermatological diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. He uses herbs to make topical ointments and compresses for the skin, and herbal teas consisting of a combination of 12 to 20 different herbs that address the root cause of the patient’s condition by stabilizing the inflammatory process.

Soja’s techniques are unique — he uses a machine from China that pressure cooks the herbs at 120 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes, after which point the herbs are vacuum sealed into individual sachets. Patients receive a properly dosed herbal tea, custom prepared to fit their individual needs. While this process is fast becoming the standard in China, it is rare that individual practitioners in the United States have access to such a device.

According to Soja, “With this process, I’m able to provide my patients with multi-week supplies of pre-cooked teas, which are consumed twice daily. Due to the simplicity and potency of taking the herbs in this format, compliance is very high, and this translates into better results.”  

In his clinic Soja often encounters individuals who have been through the whole medical system but have found no relief. His treatments have helped many people recover from severe skin conditions, and their bodies remain stable long after treatment has been discontinued. His approach has proven to be a highly promising alternative to standard steroid and immunosuppressive therapies.