Dr. Adam Gries, DACM, L.Ac.

Adam Gries is co-founder, Acupuncturist, Herbalist, and Personal Development Coach for Awakenings Health.

Licensed in North Carolina, New York, and California.
Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, Diplomate of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology, Certified professional life coach.

Adam practices as a Licensed Acupuncturist and Certified Life Coach. However, his approach to healing and personal enhancement has been developing since early childhood. As the son of a Psychologist, Adam was taught early on about the power of the mind and the importance of making it work for us, rather than letting it run rampant.   As a teenager, the constant analysis and mind shaping had become tiring and Adam determined to steer his career path in the physical realm. Adam has always been an ardent athlete and his passion for maximizing potential led him to study body mechanics and human physiology. He was on his way to become a Physical Therapist when he realized most patients had problems that went beyond their presenting condition. He was determined to find a more comprehensive medicine so he could oversee the many aspects of peoples’ wellbeing.

In 1998, Adam moved to San Diego to attend a Masters program in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chinese medicine provided the platform to tend to every aspect of one’s life. Chinese Medicine has all the components of health integrated into one medicine.   Upon graduating in 2002, Adam was employed as the director of Chinese Medicine in a busy Multi-disciplinary Medical center. He was in charge of ensuring the smooth transition from Acupuncture to Chiropractic care, Physical therapy, and internal medicine. His ability to work between different medical systems awarded him the opportunity to teach Chinese Medicine to M.D.’s at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

In 2005, Adam moved back to S.D. to join Kaiser Permanente in a specialized study to determine the viability and effectiveness of acupuncture in the hospital system in treating chronic pain patients.   That same year, Adam joined forces with Awakenings Health Institute to establish and run a Chinese Medical department tending to the disabled population. Working to create a truly innovative and integrated facility aimed at tending to all levels of dysfunction became a passion.   Adam and his wife Laura (the founder of Awakenings) have now started their own family and have moved back to the east coast to be near family and team up with physical therapy, athletic enhancement, and sports teams, in an effort to redefine what we should expect from a 21st century healthcare system.

Adam combines his degrees in Psychology and Chinese Medicine with a Professional Life Coach certification, to teach others how to identify and release the emotional stresses that lead to the pressures we experience in the body. This comprehensive combination of incorporating all aspects of health into a single medical practice ensures that the relief is more than temporary and often the symptoms can be eliminated altogether.

Adam works to help his clients understand that the thoughts and emotions we possess have a great impact on the state of our physical condition. Clients who leave Adam’s office report not only feeling physically better, but also more centered, empowered and with an energetic glow that is apparent to people they know. “Dr. Gries possesses a unique ability to help his patients connect to what’s happening in their body by learning to connect to their heart and mind”.

Adam takes his time to make sure his patients are comfortable and relaxed during treatments. He talks through everything he’s doing so that the patient understands the treatment. With his warm smile and friendly demeanor, you’ll know you’re in good hands. Adam treatments go far beyond relieving your symptoms. His goal is always to provide deeper healing and recovery, allowing you to reach your full potential.

Personally, Adam strives to lead a balanced lifestyle. He has played organized baseball for the past 15 years and maintains an active lifestyle. He meditates to reset the unconscious patterns of dysfunction.

He is conscious of what he puts in his body. He is not afraid to sit with his emotional discomfort and see what wisdom it can impart. Adam’s goal is to provide others with a means to heal anything that needs attention, and to leave everyone he sees closer to finding their own personal peace and human potential.

Laura Gries HHP, RYT


Laura Gries is co-founder and Yoga Therapist for Awakenings Health United

Licensed Holistic Health Practitioner, Registered Yoga Therapist

Laura personally experienced a C5 C6 Spinal Cord Injury from an auto accident, leaving her paralyzed from her neck down. She was told she’d never walk again. Instinctively, Laura’s family assembled an intensive daily integrative therapy routine for her rehabilitation, which included specialized Intensive Training, Acupuncture, Massage, Nutrition, and Yoga Therapy: a wholistic approach. Laura was determined to prove the doctors wrong. She is one of the very few to have regained almost full function following a devastating spinal cord injury. Her path to recovery was never easy, but it provided her great insight on how to maximize human potential and physical function.

At the time of the accident, her dream was to compete in women’s tennis, then open a unique facility catering to the healthy lifestyles for athletes. Although her injury ended much of that dream, she never lost the ambition to open a distinctive facility catering to well-motivated, highly specialized people. However, her motivation was re-directed toward using her particular tragedy to help others in similar situations.   After graduating with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology, with a minor in biomechanics, from the University of Delaware, Laura gained experience at the gait training facility at Nemour’s Childrens’ Hospital in Wilmington, Del. She gained tremendous knowledge about improving her own gait, which was severely compromised due to her injury. Laura also earned the “Hall of Fame Award for Determination” from Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the facility where she did most of her rehabilitation.   In 2001, she moved across the country to San Diego, to gain experience in massage therapy as well as a more specialized personal training in the spinal cord injury field. It is then she became blatantly aware of the multiple needs within this population. She interacted extensively with people facing physical, mental, emotional and social limitations similar to those she endured. Bonding to and learning from these exceptional people, she realized her dream by opening Awakenings Health Institute founded in 2004.

Laura’s unique approach to engaging clients is derived from her personal and unfettered drive for a specific purpose, no matter what odds she has to work against. Laura believes in living her life to LEARN how to maximize her potential so she can go on TEACHING others how to reach theirs.   She and her husband built AHU to provide the benefits of a fully integrated wholistic program to those who wish to get more out of their life. The program naturally evolved into learning how to combine the best of our world’s medicines in order to redefine the medical approach for maximizing healing and performance levels.

Geng Wu, M.D., L.Ac.

Dr. Geng Wu offers traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture, cupping, electro-stimulation, heat therapy and auricular therapy, and natural Chinese herbs therapies.

Dr. Wu, with a Diploma of Oriental medicine (NCCAOM) is licensed by the state to practice in North Carolina and is an M.D. in China.  She graduated from Beijing University of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the best six-year full-time TCM program in China. She practiced and taught as a chief doctor in the affiliated hospital of Beijing University of TCM. As a counsellor and instructor, Dr. Wu practiced and taught TCM for nearly 16 years in Japan. 

Dr. Wu specializes in providing treatment and relief for:

  • Pain management, sport injuries
  • GYN diseases, infertility, menopause symptoms and problems
  • Weight loss
  • Auto-immune and endocrine system disorders
  • Stroke rehabilitation, hypertension 
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, low energy, fatigue
  • Respiratory diseases, allergies 
  • Neurological and stress-related disorders, insomnia, addictions
  • Skin problems
  • Reducing side effects, Chemo and radiation-induced syndrome  
  • Facial rejuvenation acupuncture

Dr. Wu published more than 50 articles about health care by TCM. She is a member of China Association of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, and a member of Chinese Medical Association.

Michael Dunbar, N.D., L.Ac., LMT

Michael Dunbar is a Naturopathic Doctor and Licensed Acupuncturist at Awakenings Health.

Born and raised in Raleigh, NC before going to UNC-CH and graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health – Nutrition.  Michael then moved to Oregon to pursue a dual degree of a Naturopathic Doctorate and Masters of Acupuncture. During his time at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR, he also received his Oregon massage license specific to Shiatsu (acupressure) massage.

His path began with a desire to find treatments that did not just mask symptoms but instead help cure disease or avoid becoming sick all together.  This search is what led to the significant study and personal testing of a number of dietary regimen. He’s settled on a whole food based approach which can be customized to the needs of each individual.

At NUNM, Michael’s education led him to understand that certain lifestyle factors including nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stress management are the keys to health and by focusing on these basics many of the health issues people experience can be avoided or reversed.

Another basic principle Michael has incorporated into his healing practice is the healing power of mindfulness.  Michael has cultivated mindfulness through meditation, chi gong and Tai Chi, and uses this moment to moment awareness to inform his massage and acupuncture treatments.  This mindfulness is how he “gets out of the way” to create a healing space for his patients.

In his personal life, Michael enjoys Contra and Blues dancing, weight lifting, and travel.  He looks for a balance to maximize health and happiness in each day.

Our story


Help you Heal, Stay Healthy, and Thrive


Awakenings Health was spawned from a post-acute rehabilitation center (Awakenings Health Institute) tending to the most severe orthopedic and neurological injuries/disorders. Founder, Laura Gries, was herself a spinal cord injury survivor. She was told she would never walk again, as her injury left her quadriplegic. Determined to prove everyone wrong, she began an intense physical rehabilitation program. However, she and her family knew it would take more than just intensive workouts to maximize her potential ability. She traveled far and wide to make sure she received daily acupuncture, massage, and nutritional help. Laura is one of the very few who recovered from a spinal cord injury. In an effort to help others who had endured a physical trauma or debilitating injury/disorder, Laura set out to establish a non-profit, which would offer the integrative approach that she utilized for her recovery. With the help of her now husband and partner, Adam, Laura built a fully integrated physical and whole health recovery center. After 10 years of learning how to optimally integrate Acupuncture, Chinese medicine, Massage, and yoga with a performance rehabilitation and enhancement program, Laura and Adam decided to bring their program to the masses. In doing so, they are focusing solely on the integrative aspect of recovery and physical enhancement, while partnering with established programs that provide a solid platform for physical rehabilitation and performance enhancement.