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Acupuncture in the Community


Massage Therapy in Portland

Massage I am often asked if I know of any massage therapists in Portland, and while there are many great Licensed Massage Therapists (LMT) in the Portland area, I decided to dig a little deeper into what was out there. There are many styles of massage, and each practitioner has a different approach. When choosing a practitioner or a style of massage, it's about personal preference and level of comfort.

-This website claimed that Swedish massage, aromatherapy, and hot stone massage are the top three types of requested massage styles. Check them out and see for yourself. I feel the list is missing a few important styles, such as Tuina and craniosacral massage.

-Rehabilitative massage for chronic diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, scoliosis and fibromyalgia: Harmony Therapeutic Bodywork

-Prenatal and post partum massage for women: Mothertree Birth Services and Earth Mama both offer massage specifically for mothers-to-be and new moms. Earth Mama also offers infant massage.

- Sports injuries: Gateway Sports Medicine offers acupuncture and physical therapy as well as massage.

-For a lower-cost option, check out a massage by students at the two schools in the Portland area: the Oregon School of Massage in Southwest Portland, and East-West College in Northeast Portland. The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine offers Shiatsu and Tuina massage treatments as well.



Acupuncture in the military

The US Air Force is using acupuncture! This is such exciting news, as military doctors who have training in are able to treat soldiers in pain without using high doses of narcotics.  "Battlefield acupuncture," which is the method developed by Air Force Physician Col. Richard Niemtzow, uses small auricular needles that fit under the soldiers' helmets. They are able to perform their duties while getting some relief from pain.

The Air Force currently runs the military's only acupuncture clinic, but next month, a pilot program will train 44 Army, Navy, and Air Force doctors to apply acupuncture as part of emergency care in war zones, as well as on bases.

We already know many of the positive effects that acupuncture can have on soldiers when they come back from the front lines, but it would be even better to receive treatment while still on base. Check out the article here!



Acupuncture for Fertility

basal body temperature by by mitoztip

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) states that there are 6.1 million women who may have an impaired ability to bear children. However, we are fortunate enough to have Traditional Chinese medicine to ease the stress and help restore balance within the body to help with conception.

The use of acupuncture for infertility is recommended for the relaxing and calming effects on the mind, but it also increases the flow of energy and blood to the woman's uterus. This has been known to enhance conception when using in vitro fertilization (IVF) (see previous post on IVF treatments). Acupuncture is also extremely beneficial for women who aren't using IVF.

Taking the basal body temperature is another helpful method that can help women become more attuned to their bodies and understand what is going on. The temperature is taken first thing in the morning and recorded daily. Check here for an online resource. Experienced acupuncturists may be able find diagnose a woman's by using her basal body temperature charts and taking her pulse. Certain temperature differences in the chart can help to prescribe a more specific herbal formula or chose different points each month.

A book that was recommended to me is The Infertility Cure. It's a great resource to educate yourself about the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and how it can help enhance fertility.



The Acupuncture Relief Project has arrived


Photo by Garret Fabian:

The latest news from the arrival of the acupuncturists in Nepal is online! The Acupuncture Relief Project has set up in Kathmandu and have officially started this incredible project. Go to their website to see other blog postings and subscribe to their blog. You can even donate to these wonderful OCOM grads who are making a difference in Nepal.


"We are adjusting well at the Gompa. The building is quite nice and even has marble flooring throughout. They builders just added a rather large reception desk that really puts a nice touch to the main room on the first floor of the clinic. We live in the second floor of the building and on the rooftop there are two spacious decks to see the surrounding view from. Next to our building is the monastery proper which is often filled with the groans of instruments. There is one smaller building adjacent to the monastery which is where classes are held and where we also eat all of our meals with the monks, or ‘mini monks’ as we affectionately refer to them as. During meals we can always look up to find many sets of eyes gazing at us.

Tomorrow we will be heading out into the community to meet with some other people to answer questions they may have and to raise awareness of our clinic. We will also spend half of the day working with the three nuns who will be our interpreters. We gave the nuns treatments so that they might have an idea as to what acupuncture is like much to the chagrin of one originally very hesitant nun. Tuesday our clinic will officially open and we’re hopeful we will see some brave patients grace our doorstep.

The commute between Kathmandu and Chapagaon is quite a wild affair. It might be 10-12 miles in total but it can take 60-90mins. travel time. There are very narrow roads that have seemingly no driving laws whatsoever. We will be coming up to Kathmandu on weekends to enjoy hot showers and restaurants and we are very excited to have food choices upon returning to the city! We’re gearing up to head back to Chapagaon now, stay tuned for more."



Celebrate AOM Day!

Today is the 6th anniversary of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) Day. Colleges and clinics all over the nation and the world are celebrating this special day. I'm sure there are even a few clinics and practitioners honoring this day in Portland, so if you've never tried acupuncture or tried a Chinese herbal medicine formula, today might just be the day to set up that appointment or check out a community acupuncture treatment. Or just stop by OCOM or NCNM to see what it's all about!


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Group Acupuncture at Portland's Spice Road Market

The Portland Spice Road Market is a wonderful space in north Portland who offer high quality spices, medicinal herbs, and teas. They also have an incredible website filled with recipes, meal ideas, and online shopping for the amazing spices.

But the real reason for this post is to let you know that they are opening up a community acupuncture clinic inside the Spice Road Market as well!  The grand opening "The Oasis" is this Saturday, October 11th from 10AM until 7PM with Free Acupuncture Treatments All Day! The Oasis is located inside the Spice Road Market. I can't make it on Saturday, but I definitely plan on stopping by very soon to sample their fresh-spiced Chai.

For more information on the acupuncture, check out

For their great recipes, check out this page!

Spice Road Market

4936 NE 16th Ave

Portland, OR 97211

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Interview With a Practitioner: Sarah Hayes, LAc

Photo of Sarah

Acupuncture Northwest

Sarah Hayes, LAc is a practitioner in North Portland who has a great blog. You can find her site at, and here is a some more insight into Sarah and her practice.

1. What brought you to Portland?

I moved to Portland to go to OCOM. It is the best acupuncture school in the country. Moving here also felt like coming home, being a native Northwesterner from Olympia, Washington.

2. Why did you decide to become an acupuncturist?

I always wanted to be a health care professional and actually I wanted to be an MD. When I was in my 20's I had my first experience with serious chronic pain, I had hip pain that was a horrific. The doctors I went to told me that there was nothing wrong, and that rest and Advil would improve my pain... When it didn't, I ended up turning to acupuncture and my hip pain was resolved in four treatments! I was blown away and so thankful to feel better and have my life back. All I kept thinking to myself was, there must be so many people who have a story similar to mine - people dealing with symptoms that you can live with but don't have to, like pain, fatigue or allergies. Unfortunately most people don't realize they don't have to live with this stuff. In short - I decided I wanted to be a different kind of doctor: I wanted to treat conditions that are not dealt with adequately by Western medicine.

3. Tell me about your practice.

I see a vast array of patients in my practice. I treat people in every stage of life, from birth on. We see a variety of conditions. Some of the most common include fertility, pain, allergies, autism, stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, digestive issues, post operative symptoms, and lots of crazy things that come up and for which western medicine just doesn't know how to treat.

I practice a variety of styles of acupuncture to accommodate the individual needs of my patients. I do trigger point work, Tan style acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and more. What works for one patient is not necessarily going to work for another... Thus I tailor each treatment to the individual.

I really get to know my patients. I listen to their stories, ask lots of questions and encourage them to tell me as much as they can about themselves. The more information I have, the better I can treat them. Patients usually come in for 1 or 2 specific complaints and we usually end up watching a handful of symptoms to track their progress and watch as they transform their health.

4. Where does your passion for the medicine come from?

I love what I do because the medicine works so well and people get amazing results. It is an honor to be in people's lives in such an intimate way. Listening to patients stories and watching their lives greatly improve is an incredible way to spend my days. I feel so lucky to facilitate health in a way that is so unique and powerful. I watch people change in ways they never thought were possible.

4. Do you have any advice for patients?

I always tell people to listen to their bodies and trust their instincts. We have a lot of information and if we pay attention, our body will tell us what we need to know.

I also like to remind people that life is crazy and it is not going to get any easier. No one gets a free pass, we all have stuff, and our job is to figure out how to be graceful within it all.

5. What is your favorite Portland restaurant and why?

I love Andina, they just do it right. But we go to the New Old Lompoc in Northeast a lot. It is a great place to go with the kids, it is causal and easy. They have a great beet salad and good beer. That's all we need.



What Can Acupuncture Treat? Allergies and Hayfever

Cherry blossomsCherry blossoms in Ulsan May 2005 Photo by leojmelsrub

The mix of snow, rain, sun and hail all in one day (in the middle of March) can make you wonder what is going on here in the Northwest. If you've lived in Portland long enough, you know that it usually means spring is almost here. With it comes the beautiful cherry blossoms, tulips, and (unfortunately), allergies.

As I have mentioned before, I have a lot of experience in this field of health issues, and I will be the first to say that acupuncture has helped me the most with the misery of a runny nose, wheeze, and red, itchy eyes and skin. However, you must start treating it before the symptoms arrive.

So start now, while it's still raining! Check out your local acupuncturist for a series of visits- twice a week will work wonders for it. If you are here in Portland and twice a week seems like a lot of money, check out the CAN website for group acupuncture at a great price.

In the mean time, I recommend, Bi Yan Pian or Cang Er Zi Wan (Upper Chamber) to help open the nose and clear excess phlegm before the congestion takes over. You can find these from your practitioner or Wing Mings on 82nd Street.



Research and CAM Blogs

I've had a few posts about research in the past (almost) year, and have rounded up a few great blogs that discuss research in the CAM (Complemetary and Alternative Medicine) field. -The Integrator blog is managed by John Weeks, and is one of the most well-respected blogs for CAM research and integrative medicine. The Integrator Blog informs about "news, reports, opinion and networking for the business, education, policy and practice of integrative medicine CAM, and integrative health care." If you are interested in research happenings, or simply about integrative medicine, I recommend checking this site daily.

- The Helfgott Blog is managed by the Helfgott Istitute, which is based here in Portland at NCNM, is "aimed at increasing awareness about integrative medicine on a world-wide scale." There is a lot going on in the integrative medicine communities in Portland, and the Helfgott blog is most likely to be up to date on what's happening next.

- A local LAc and OCOM graduate is Sarah Hayes, who manages and her own practice in North Portland. She has some great posts regarding research, not to mention a detailed FAQ section.



Chinese Medicine Blogs

Carved BuddhaCarved Buddha leojmelsrub

I wanted to share a few sites with my favorite local and international bloggers with you this week, as there are lot of great people doing great work out there, including practitioners and students.

Yael is an LAc who writes has some great posts, including an interview with Dr. Leon Hammer, who made and interesting statement about Chinese Medicine in their interview.

  • "Chinese Medicine cannot survive as a complement to Western medicine. Chinese Medicine has to be an alternative to Western Medicine. They can collaborate but not merge." -Dr. Leon Hammer

Yael also wrote a post with a list of TCM blogs to visit and note. Chinese Medicine Notes a great site with a lot of good information.

Another blogger is Eric Gray from Eric is a student here in Portland at NCNM, and the Deepest Health blog has a lot of information on balancing your life in different ways, including the community project, "Year of Sagely Living." One of my favorite posts from Eric is "7 simple ways to be a great student AND not kill yourself during finals week."

  • # 1 " Realize you can’t do it all. It’s hard, I know. This is probably the one thing I have done this term that has saved me despite some setbacks outside of my control. I want to be the best student in the universe. I want to do this while being a great father, partner, small business owner AND save the world while I’m at it."

I think this can apply to all of our lives at some point! It's just nice to see it in a blog.

Both of these fellow bloggers have a lot of important information for students, practitioners, and people who are genuinely interested learning more about Chinese Medicine. I recommend you check out their blogs as regularly as I do.


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Acupuncture and IVF in the news

The BBC came out with an article reporting how acupuncture greatly increases the chance of pregnancy with in vitro fertilization. Click HERE for BBC article

However, the Chicago Tribune also came out with a study that discussed the use of acupuncture with IVF, but wasn't quite as positive about the results.

Click HERE for Chicago Tribune article interesting view of how different Europe and America are in views of health care options......

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Portland Monthly magazine (January Issue)

Photo from:

If it's not too late to find a hard copy, have a peek online at Portland Monthly magazine. The January issue has a fantastic articles about alternative medicine, including an article entitled, "Hippocrates, meet Lao-Tzu." The article discusses a difficult case which was successfully treated by one of my instructors at OCOM, Dr. Yunpeng Luo.

There's only a few days of January left, so get it while you can! This issue also recommends top physicians in the Portland area, so it will be good to have around if you are looking for a new health care provider

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Juniji Mizutani Seminar

GlowingPhoto by: maricarnjerry

During my time at the weekend seminar with Junji Mizutani, I learned more efficient and painless ways to use moxibustion with our patients. And, even better, we had a good deal of practice time with the instructor, including individual time. As a student, it was also nice to be able to work with other more experienced practitioners.

We were taught several new methods of moxibustion, and I learned a lot of new ways to help patients with specific illnesses. For example, moxa can be used to treat diabetes, gynecological problems, sciatica, pain, neuralgia and so much more. As a practitioner, moxa is a great way to help nourish, heal, and warm the body. It can be used to supplement the healing process, or even instead of needles if patients aren't into needles.

Here are a few things I learned about the art of moxibustion this weekend:

  • Moxa should be pleasant, as this warming technique is a powerful healing tool.
  • Acute conditions may take 3-4 daily treatments to notice a difference, while chronic problems may take longer, depending on the injury or problem.
  • The use of moxibustion can temporarily double the white blood cell count as well as the platelet count.
  • Moxibustion can assist the function of the renal glands.

Junji Mizutani has written several articles for the North American Journal of Oriental Medicine(NAJOM). I recommend reading them, as his teachings are invaluable. I use moxa regularly at the OCOM clinic, but now I feel that I have a deeper appreciation and understanding of this powerful medicine.

This seminar was the first of many put on by the Traditional Japanese Medicine Seminars of Portland (PDXTJM), and I look forward to their future seminars.



Moxibustion Workshop with Junji Mizutani

moxibustion ki-1photo by benegesserit

This weekend I was fortunate to attend Junji Mizutani's workshop on applying moxibustion in clinical practice. Moxibustion is a technique in which a cone of mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris), is placed on or over an acupoint or affected area of the body. The cone is then lit and burned, and is usually removed before burning the skin. It is used to stimulate and strengthen the qi, blood in the body.

This seminar was organized through the Traditional Japanese Medicine Seminars of Portland (PDXTJM). As I am currently taking a Japanese Meridian Therapy (yet another wonderful form of acupuncture) class at OCOM with Bob Quinn, DAOM, I felt incredibly fortunate to be able to attend this workshop.

This is the short biography of Mizutani Sensei on the PDXTJM website:

"Junji Mizutani is the director of the North American Journal of Oriental Medicine (NAJOM). He is a leading authority on traditional approaches to moxibustion and has extensively researched and reported in the scientific literature. He graduated from the Japan Central Acupuncture College in 1983, and in 1984 he moved to Canada where he has taught shiatsu, acupuncture, and moxibustion for many years. He has produced a DVD on his moxibustion technique and has authored many articles published in NAJOM (North American Journal of Oriental Medicine). He also served three years as the president of the Shiatsu Therapy Association of Ontario. Currently he practices in Vancouver B.C. and lectures regularly at acupuncture schools throughout North America.

I'll be writing more about this great seminar later in the week- stay tuned for more!



East Meets West in Portland Hospitals

OHSU Center for Health & Healing


Having finished finals (my apologies for the month delay in blogging), and most of my intern sites, I'm a little sad that my time as an acupuncture intern at OHSU is over. Perhaps it was the excitement of working in a "real" hospital. Or maybe it was the respect garnered by friends and family when I told them that I had an intern shift on the new OHUS South Waterfront tower.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the integration of Eastern and Western medicine is really coming up, albeit slowly, and that we are on the forefront of it all. I understand that I was working in an integrative medicine department, but it was really incredible to see interesting cases where acupuncture worked it's magic, even if it wasn't in a dimly lit, soothing atmosphere, but a cold, stark white room on an exam table. Last week we were asked to assist Dr. Lu in giving sample treatments to residents up on the hill, and it was really great to see how interested they were not only in receiving treatments, but also referring patients to the integrative medicine practitioners.

There are several practitioners at hospitals around Portland, such as Dr. Zhaoxue Lu, at the OHSU waterfront and Dr. Yupeng Luo, and Roger Lore, DAOM at the Richmond center. All of these practitioners also have private practices at OCOM. Dr. Lu was the practitioner I worked with this term, and he works at OHSU in the Family medicine department three days per week. There are also other physicians at OHSU who integrate acupuncture in to their treatments on a regular basis.

I know that the idea of integrating acupuncture and western biomedicine is still a foreign idea to some health care practitioners. However, I feel fortunate to have chosen this medicine and to be a part of the integration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Oregon. I hope to one day be able to work in a hospital setting again, whether it's in-patient care, assisting with deliveries, or simply providing the best possible care in a hospital setting.

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Medical Assistance, Without Borders

Photo: Larry Towell/Magnum, for The New York Times

On the off chance you've realized that something is very wrong with health care in the US, the New York Times magazine published a very interesting series of photos. These photos were taken here in the U.S. of people receiving health care in fairgrounds and barns. Those obtaining care had no way of paying for a doctor or a dentist, and traveled many hours or even days to get to the medical "facilities." The majority of them appeared to have major health problems which they could not afford to pay for at home.

A quote from the Helfgott Blog:

"There is little doubt that poverty and health are closely linked. According to the Center for Disease Control, poor adults in the United States – defined as persons whose family incomes are below the Census Bureau’s poverty threshold - had higher levels of heart disease, respiratory conditions, diabetes, pain, depression, and anxiety than non-poor adults."

Remote Area Medical (RAM), an all volunteer organization, was the one who set up sites in the U.S. RAM helps those in need all over the world. There are other organizations that do similar work, Acupuncturists Without Borders, and Doctors without Borders. So many people depend on free medical care all around the world.

I think a lot of us never knew how bad it was here in the United States. The New York Times brought to light a huge problem that must be taken care of as soon as possible.



What Can Acupuncture Treat? (Part 3- Psychology and Addictions)

Photo by jbalynas45

With winter on the way and the recent changing of the clocks, a lot of us in the Nortwest are spending more time inside and less time in the sun. This is the time of year when depression, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and general fatigue become more frequent complaints. Acupuncture, moxibustion and herbs can help with these issues. Acupuncture and herbs help to redirect the flow of energy and help to "lift the spirit" and nourish the body, and the moxibustion helps to support and warm the body. A regular weekly treatment can help with these issues whether they are felt in the winter or year round. And on the topic of psychology, addictions are another thing that acupuncture can help with. The NADA protocol has been studied and is used in addiction treatment centers throughout North America. Whatever the patients drug of choice may be, addictions are serious subject, and can occur in any city, or community. Fortunately for us, Portland has a wealth of treatment centers to help with surviving addiction. Go to to find more information about the Old Town Clinic and Hooper, and here to check out Project Quest. Help is always available at one of these incredible places.....



What Can Acupuncture Treat? (Part 2- Colds and Immune System)

Well, I'm sorry to say it, but it's fall here in Portland. Summer seemed to fly by, and autumn is on it's way in. The colder air, falling leaves, and the abundance of colds seem to represent the element of Metal, which correlates to the Lungs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory. Each season is connected to an element, and that element is connected to a specific organ in Chinese medicine. I know it's a quick reference to what takes years of studying to comprehend and use efficiently, but here is a chart for your reference.

Late Summer
Climatic Qi
Yang Organ
Small Intestine
Large Intestine
Yin Organ
Sense Organ
Body Tissue
Blood Vessel

Chart borrowed from:

Finding ourselves in autumn, it truly does seem as though a lot of people tend to is get sick in one way or another. It's important to boost our immune systems, and TCM is a perfect way to avoid overusing antibiotics due to lung and sinus infections this year. There are a lot of great acupoints that boost the immune system, not to mention help with insomnia so we are able to get a good night's sleep to help our bodies heal.

There are also some really amazing Chinese herbal formulas that help stave off colds and sore throats. There are two patents medicines that I really like are Yin Qiao San and Gan Mao Ling. Taking Yin Qiao San at the first sign of a sore throat and stuffy head helps the cold not enter too deeply in the body, and Gan Mao Ling has some amazing anti-bacterial properties that help with sinus problems. There are a lot of formulas out there, so do some research or ask a practitioner which would be best for you. You can also buy these herbs at Portland stores such as FuBonn, Uwajimaya, and Wing Mings.

Colds and coughs aside, fall is such a beautiful time here in the City of Roses. Be sure to keep yourself and your family warm and healthy so you are able to enjoy it!

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Asian Food Markets in Portland

In China, a lot of what people eat has a lot to do with healing an ailment or keeping healthy. Instead of what sounds good for dinner, they may be thinking of how the food will make them feel, and how it may affect their health.An Dong - my instructor said An-Dong was the best place to find vegetables.

Fubonn Shopping Center also has an amazing array of spices, sauces, and even has a small pharmacy

If you are on the other side of town, my favorite is the big Uwajimaya store on the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.