Nikola Zunic

Nikola Zunic of Nikola Zunic Acupuncture and Massage.

J.L. Sousa, Register

Nikola Zunic opened his new Napa business, Nikola Zunic Acupuncture and Massage, just five months ago.

But he’s no stranger to the work.

Zunic’s training includes a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, an internship at the Chinese Medical Herb Farm in Petaluma and 450 clinic and classroom hours at the Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Zheng Zhou, China.

As a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist, “I have experience treating allergies, auto-immune issues, (a) wide variety of pain, headaches, insomnia, digestive issues, depression...to name a few,” he said.

Zunic immigrated to the U.S. from Croatia in 1994, when he was 9 years old.

1. What was your first job?

My first job, officially, was at Peet’s Coffee and Tea in San Francisco.

2. What’s the worst job you ever had?

I can’t say I ever had a “worst job.” It is a really silly way to look at one’s life.

Some were dull, like data entry (and) some tried my patience, but I have to say I was honestly grateful to have it at the end of the day.

3. What job would you like to try/not try?

I would love to have a farm.

When I was a boy in Croatia I grew up around farming and wine making. The farm would be modeled after a forest. You could kind of think of it as a forest garden, not really a farm. The concept looks at the approximate seven layers found in forests, utilizing the synergistic growth of plants, and creating a productive, nearly self-sustaining eco-system.

A job I would never want to try is to be a press secretary for the current administration, or for anyone else, really. Speaking for someone else, especially someone with so much responsibility, seems like a farce.

4. How did you get into this business/industry?

I found the path I was on not leading me to where I wanted to go. At the behest of a good friend, I decided to go back to school to study something that will help myself and those around me. I found that studying Chinese medicine and philosophy.

5. What is the biggest challenge your industry has faced?

The biggest challenge acupuncture has faced and is facing is to find acceptance from the mainstream of medical practice.

6. Who do you most admire in the business world?

I admire my teacher from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Zhu Bai Bing.

He grew up in China (and) was a barefoot doctor, meaning at an age of maybe 16 or 17 he got a manual on how to perform acupuncture, administer antibiotics and basically be a healer, and was sent to the countryside to help people.

Dr. Zhu then came to the U.S. and was able to start his own clinic and teach the medicine to others. His humbleness and presence had a deep impact on my studies.

7. If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?

I do not know. I am very green to it and have much to learn before making suggestions about change.

8. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

Well since most people do not know me, probably a lot of things. I like to go fishing, but have not caught a fish in years.

9. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

I want to be able to speak and read Mandarin, more specifically classical Chinese medical texts.

10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?

I am pretty content with where I am. Keeping the heart present where you are allows you to appreciate and live your life.

Zunic can be reached at 707-492-5597 or nikolazunic@gmail.com.

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Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.