Karen Lynne Yochim, an acupuncturist who was a founder of the Columbia Center for the Healing Arts, died Tuesday of cancer at her Roland Park home. She was 40.
Miss Yochim also had worked as a financial planner for Investment Management and Research Inc. since 1982. She was working part time for the Calverton firm, which is now Potomac Financial Group, at the time of her death.
She became interested in acupuncture -- the ancient healing art that was developed in China more than 5,000 years ago and relies on needles to correct the imbalance of "chi," or the life force -- after suffering a spinal injury and being treated with acupuncture in her 20s.
"After her first bout with cancer in 1988, she again was treated with acupuncture and eventually decided that she wanted to be an acupuncturist," said her mother, Marie Patricia Yochim of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Miss Yochim graduated in 1996 with a master's degree from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute in Columbia, and was a founder in 1997 of the Columbia Center for the Healing Arts, where she tended to patients until last month.
In addition to acupuncture treatment, the center offers classes and treatment in herbal medicine, massage therapy, psychotherapy and homeopathic medicine.
She was also assistant academic dean at the Traditional Acupuncture Institute.
"She certainly had a lively practice that was continually growing," said Cynthia Z. Jabs, a Baltimore acupuncturist who had been a classmate at the Traditional Acupuncture Institute.
"In the beginning, Karen was really shy about needles, but she had a very, very gentle way of holding patients. She was always a very calming presence," she said.
"She was very present-tense and could look at things right now. She had an openness and realized that even death was part of the human experience," she said.
Ms. Jabs described Miss Yochim as an easygoing person who "loved a good laugh" and was the "hub of every circle she was in."
Kate M. Carter, co-founder of the Holistic Healing Center of Catonsville and also a former classmate, said, "We just don't treat aches and pains. We try and teach people about their illnesses, and she practiced her work in her own life. Her own spiritual journey came through to her patients."
Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, the daughter of a civil servant who worked for the Army, Miss Yochim moved to Prince George's County in the early 1970s.
She graduated from Gwynn Park High School in Brandywine in 1978, and earned a bachelor's degree from Western Maryland College in 1982.
An athletic young woman who enjoyed the outdoors, Miss Yochim had hiked and camped extensively in the West and South. Several years ago, she bicycled in the Cycle Across Maryland tour.
Miss Yochim had also volunteered for years at the Linwood Children's Center in Ellicott City, where she worked with autistic children.
A memorial service will be held at 2: 30 p.m. today at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road in Columbia.
In addition to her mother, Miss Yochim is survived by two brothers, Robert K. Yochim of Williamsburg, Mass., and John E. Yochim of Charlotte, N.C.
Because of limited space and the large number of requests for obituaries, The Sun regrets that it cannot publish all the obituaries it receives. Because The Sun regards obituaries as news, we give a preference to those submitted within 48 hours of a person's death. It is also our intention to run obituaries no later than seven days after death.