The Rise in East Asian Medicine in Healthcare

The Rise in East Asian Medicine in Healthcare

It’s the 21st century and more people are turning towards medicine that is over 5,000 years old in the form of East Asian medicine also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This form of medicine encompasses therapies such as acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, moxibustion, and herbal medicine.

So why is TCM gaining increasing popularity in recent years? Is it because Western medicine has failed us? There’s a greater need and desire to utilize a more natural approach, that doesn’t involve numerous negative side effects. While East Asian medicine has spent thousands of years developing and refining its approach to treating people, the more recent advancements of biomedicine are relatively young and still under development.

In Western medicine, the approach involves understanding the specific biological responses of how the body functions and responds to various forms of treatment. In the development of biomedicine, various drugs and treatments have been discovered to have certain effects on the body without explanation. As a result, you have medications that are prescribed for off-label use, such as antidepressant medications like amitriptyline and trazodone, that are used to help people sleep. The medication known as Chantix is used to help stop smoking without knowing how the biological mechanisms work. Western medicine can’t fully explain all the biological effects of TCM, which has resulted in some skepticism while promoting research.

As TCM has proven to be effective in helping treat people, Western medicine has adopted the various TCM therapies, often with different names. Western medicine implements dry needling, myofascial release, Graston technique, myofascial decompression, and nutritional supplements. Dry needling uses the same type of needles, points, and some of the principles of acupuncture without all the theories developed over the centuries as acupuncture. The down side to dry needling is that it’s often a course requiring about a hundred hours of training versus over the three thousand hours that licensed acupuncturists receive over the course of about 4 years along with the completion of in-depth board exams. Myofascial release done with specialized tools and the Graston technique utilize the same techniques as gua sha, just using different style tools and without the same theories and extensive training that acupuncturists receive. Supplements or nutritional therapies make use of individual herbs and vitamins that have specific effects on parts of a person’s physiology, used in a similar manner as medications.  Chinese herbal medicine utilizes herbal formulas that have been developed over centuries where all the herbs work synergistically to have an effect to treat the whole person, while addressing the underlying condition without a multitude of adverse effects of the body.

There is a considerable difference of how Western medicine and East Asian medicine view and treat people. When it comes to treating people, Western medicine looks at a fraction of the puzzle.  This is seen in drugs that affect specific receptors and not addressing the other problems that are connected and even cause adverse side effects requiring additional medications. When even adopting TCM, biomedicine doesn’t fully understand it and uses pieces that they feel that they can explain and deem beneficial. East Asian medicine looks at the entire person. The explanations in TCM are philosophical in nature but provide explanations to certain connections and responses in the human body that biomedicine doesn’t understand. The principles and concepts of East Asian medicine can be addressed with a scientific mindset that accepts the information in terms of a scientific theory. While TCM can’t be fully explained by science, it’s a medicine that has withstood the test of time over thousands of years.  There are explanations in TCM that connect various symptoms and processes that is not fully understood by science. Some herbs are used in the development of medications, biomedicine doesn’t connect the side effects of the medications where it makes sense according to TCM.

If TCM is so great, then why did biomedicine develop? There is a place for both medicines. It’s a matter of knowing when and how to use each properly. If there is an infection, it’s important to utilize proper antibiotics instead of allowing the infection to spread and cause more harm. Pain doesn’t always have to be managed with addictive medications. Acupuncture is well known and accepted in the Western medical community to help alleviate pain. The additional benefit of East Asian medicine is that it gets to the root of the problem instead of masking the symptoms. Acupuncture and Herbal medicine can readily strengthen the immune system. It is effective in preventing the onset and decreasing the duration and severity of a cold. The benefit of the rising use of East Asian medicine is that people can integrate the different medicines as needed with the goal of achieving optimal health and wellbeing. TCM can be used to treat a multitude of conditions, while also being used as a natural form of preventative medicine.

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Takeaway Message from Life Changes Due to the Pandemic

Takeaway Message from Life Changes Due to the Pandemic

This is an unprecedented time filled with various life lessons. The pandemic has forced many unexpected changes as well as challenges.

I began thinking about my takeaway due the current circumstances over the past several months due to the pandemic.

I spent the beginning of this year in a very stressful move into my new home all the while working almost every day. I finished moving into my house around mid-February. I still was not settled into my new home when things started getting serious due the pandemic in March. With boxes all over the places & only certain things unpacked, I had not settled into my new home. I did not have a new normal at the start of COVID. This helped me ease into everything going on in the world as my life was in a whirlwind of change. I was able to just adapt & adjust to all the changes that were occurring due to the pandemic. I readily implemented new protocols for my clinic & how I went about my day outside my clinic acting cautiously to protect all my patients. At first the Lysol was irritating my respiratory tract so much, I started wearing masks just to disinfect my office. All the extra cleaning & disinfecting were tiring in then beginning, then it became routine. I went from being busy every day to having some free time. Life slow downed. When it was still cool outside, I took my dog for walks to explore our new neighborhood. The previous few years in my life had posed some challenges & problems that were taxing. My new environment has been refreshing for me. Being able to slow down & still help treat patients was even more rewarding during this time. I have been through worse, so I was savoring each moment. While the thought occurred to me that I do not know what will happen & whether I would still be able to help people in my clinic, I never stressed out or was worried. Maybe already being in a state of change, it did not feel like anything changed for me. I have been in a state of bliss enjoying my new home & surroundings. Finishing unpacking has been a slow process because I wanted to enjoy the days, I had free time or had other tasks to attend to on my free days. For me, the takeaway of this pandemic is that I do not have to be constantly busy & to savor the moment. Stuff will get done in due time. I am using the free time in other ways. I know that now more than ever it is important to take care of my health. I went from going to yoga classes frequently to walking my dog to doing plank challenges & cardio at home. As a licensed acupuncturist & herbalist, I am treating myself with acupuncture & am taking herbs to help support my immune system. I do not feel like a mask is a huge inconvenience, though I wish I didn’t have to disinfect my groceries after returning home from the store. I do enjoy the personal space while run errands though. Though I do not always get personal space at home between my English bulldog Calliope & my newly adopted kitten, Esme, from this summer. Both I have deemed as my unofficial mascots. You can read both their bios on my website.

Ultimately, the things that have become important are allowing for free time & enjoying it while continuing to care for my health. The question is: What is your takeaway from this time? What good has come about for you due the changes that we have been forced to make? What do you need to change to improve your life?

The Impact of Health, Happiness, & Success

The Impact of Health, Happiness, & Success

Having extra free time due to the pandemic has given me time to ponder. It has led me to reflect on a multitude of things and gain additional perspective. I started to think about certain conversations in my life. These discussions have some underlying themes regarding aspects that affect health, happiness, & success. This had me thinking about how these are all interconnected.  

Someone once posed the question of how I define success. The point of that question is that everyone has a different measure of success. Also, being successful may not guarantee happiness. Sometimes we must reevaluate what we are doing in order to be successful because it may not be something that we really want or comes at a greater cost to us. This could mean taking time away from loved ones, not properly investing in one’s health, or not prioritizing the things that truly matter.

When I was earning my Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine, I had two similar conversations with a couple different family members regarding what I was working towards & happiness. After years of doing what my family wanted me to do, I finally figured out what I wanted to do that finally made me happy. It started with acupuncture treatments to help my back pain, subsequently improving my health in so many ways. I was fascinated by East Asian medicine & wanted to help people the same way it had helped me. Earning my master’s degree was extremely rewarding for me. During my first semester, I caught a glimpse of my reflection smiling in my rearview mirror. That is when I realized I was really happy. Later, I found myself telling different family members that I was happy for the first time in all my years of higher education. The concept that I was finally happy & was not happy before was something that shocked those members of my family. I am extremely fortunate for this medicine that has improved not just my health by my emotional well-being, which do affect each other.

Recently I had a discussion over social media with a friend who lost her daughter earlier this year before the pandemic. She is a phenomenal writer, who has written about how she has coped with her loss the past several months. When reading her latest article, I could relate how she compared her life to her friends’ who still had their daughters. While she was happy for them, there was this sense of despair & envy because she no longer had that. I could relate on another level with strained relationships I have with certain family members. Despite being happy for all that I have, I have found myself at times comparing my life to others. I have yearned for what they have. This has taken away from that joy when I have so much to be grateful for in life. My friend mentioned that she could picture her daughter stating comparison is the thief of joy. All I could think is that there is no need to compare myself to others, & I chose happiness.

This tied a lot together for me. Our emotions can have an impact on our health. Western medicine even acknowledges how stress can negatively impact health by affecting the immune system, heart conditions, & some cancers. We are living in a unique & unprecedented situation due to the pandemic. Everyone is handling it differently & is affected differently. This is a good time to reevaluate things in your life. This can be a time reevaluate success for yourself & perhaps how to achieve success in other ways. This can be a time to determine what it takes for you to be happy & what may need to change. This can be a time to let go of comparing yourself to other & reveling in your own joy. This can be a time to determine how to be healthy because proper self-care can affect not just your health but your happiness & success, just as your success & happiness can have an impact on your health.

Please take time for yourself. I am constantly working on ways to improve myself & my health. Please know that I am here for you, to help address your health concerns. I am open with limited booking, so I can continue to implement all the necessary disinfecting & social distancing protocols to help keep everyone safe. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, & updates. Call or text: 512-766-3049. Email:

3 Simple Ways to Help Alleviate Stress

3 Simple Ways to Help Alleviate Stress

It is so easy to get overwhelmed by stress, especially due to current circumstances affecting the world. Stress can have a negative impact on one’s health. Alleviating stress can help improve sleep, reduce drains on energy, control weight, eliminate muscle tension, increase mental clarity, & help enhance immune function. Here are a few simple & easy things to incorporate into your daily routine to help reduce stress:

  1. Deep breathing.
    • Breathing deeply helps calm the nervous system. Any time you feel stressed, irritated, or anxious just breathe in deeply through the nose & out through the mouth. It is easy to do & has a very calming effect on the entire body. Deep breathing can also help you fall asleep easier, as well. Do something for yourself & practice deep breathing for 5 minutes a day. After some time, it can become a natural reaction to help calm yourself down when you need it the most.
  2. Light to moderate exercise daily
    • Exercise can help not just the body but the mind to feel better as well. It can help with stress & depression. Exercising can reduce the risk for diseases such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, & certain cancers. Be careful to respect your limits, be mindful of the heat, & stay properly hydrated while exercising.
  3. Daily gratitude
    • Practice daily gratitude for the things in your life for which you are grateful. It can be as simple of writing down or thinking to yourself about three to five things you are grateful for each day. It can be as simple as a roof over your head, your morning coffee, & running water. Making this a daily habit can change your mindset to thinking positive, especially during a time where so much negativity has run rampant.
ABCs of Self-Care

ABCs of Self-Care

Here are some of my best self-care recommendations that you can use to keep yourself calm, healthy and resilient.

This started as just the ABCs of Attitude, Breathing, & Choice, then was developed as an alphabet series on self-care. It can be kept simple by sticking to just AB&C or small portions of the alphabet series can incorporated over time. It is extremely helpful in staying positive in challenging times such as these.


Let’s start with the ABC’s–these are the things you CAN control: 

A is for Attitude. This is everything. A calm nervous system helps foster a strong immune system. I like the expression “Proceed as if it is not a problem” because we are super resilient human beings and many of us have been through challenges much larger than this in our lives. Check in with yourself and adjust accordingly.

B is for Breath. This is our best tool for keeping a calm nervous system. In through the nose, longer exhale through the mouth. This keeps our nervous systems strong and calm Even better? You do this, and you can help calm others down because you are modeling calm behavior (it goes the other way too, which is an even greater reason for being mindful of your breath). 

C is for Choice. You get to choose how you move through this situation. Everything can suck, or be full of panic or fear, or you can say yes to what is happening in the present moment and eliminate the friction by accepting the moment for what it is.

D is for Decide. It’s up to you determine what you are going to get out of this situation. You can complete projects at home, learn something new, read books you don’t normally have time to read, embrace one of your talents or skills such as painting, drawing, sewing, carpentry, etc. The possibilities are endless. It’s your decision on what you want to get out of this time in this given situation. 

E is for Exercise. Now isn’t a time just to be at home & be lazy. While it’s good to allow our bodies to rest, it’s important to exercise. Moving our bodies, even by just going on short walk while respecting social distancing with others, will help both your physical & emotional well-being. There are many resources to exercise online as fitness professionals are streaming live workouts. 

F is for Fun. We can have some fun. It’s a good time to take out a board game, work on a puzzle, take the dog for a walk with the family, etc. Allow yourself to have some fun. Life doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Some people are having fun posting memes regarding this situation. It’s not that they don’t take it seriously but are finding humor in the situation. Stress negatively impacts health, so you might as well have some fun. 

G is for Gratitude. Focus on the things you’re grateful for each day creates a positive mindset. Acknowledging gratitude for the little things on a bad day can help you appreciate how good your life truly is. It can be as simple as being thankful for a roof over your head, running water, & a bed to sleep in each night. List at least 3 things you’re grateful for before going to bed each day can have a positive effect on the way you think.

H is for Human. You’re human. It is okay to not be perfect. Even those people who seem to have it all together have their struggles & have worked through it. Don’t feel bad about your emotions or when you make a mistake on occasion. Your best is going to depend on how you are impacted by what’s going on in your life. Simply try to do your best & work on improving yourself each day. 

I is for Inspire. It’s possible to inspire others by being a positive influence. Something as simple as a smile or a compliment can inspire others. Focusing on the positive & not complaining generates a positive momentum that inspires others to do good. Pay it forward. How you act, treat others, & behave on a daily basis can inspire others because people appreciate the good things in life. 

J is for Joy. Take joy in the little things in life. When you appreciate the smaller things & find happiness from it, you are less likely to let the negative things bring you down. Finding the joy in life generates a positive mindset. Don’t let anyone or anything steal your joy. 

K is for Kindness. Be kind to yourself & as well as others. There is no point on being hard on yourself. By being kind to others, it can make yourself feel better. Paying it forward with kindness generates positive momentum in this world. We are all in this together might as well be kind to ourselves & others too. 

L is for Laughter. Laughter is the best medicine. There are numerous benefits from laughing. Laughter relaxes the whole body, boosts the immune system, reduces stress, & burns calories. It may even help you live longer. Do something good for yourself & enjoy the laughter along with its many benefits. 

M is for Mindset. You have control over your mindset. You can choose to be positive. Practicing daily rituals such as gratitude can create a positive mindset. Repeating mantras, meditating, deep breathing, exercise, getting enough sleep, & staying properly hydrated can also contribute to a positive mindset. Overtime, a positive, calm mindset comes naturally. A healthy mindset can help when dealing with challenges & various obstacles in life. It’s beneficial to have a positive, healthy mindset. 

N is for Nourishment. It’s important to nourish both the mind & body. How you treat your body with the food you consume & liquids you drink impact your health. It’s important to have a healthy diet that is part of your lifestyle & not just some fad. Your mind needs nourishment by exercising it with critical thinking, as well as relaxation & positive reflection. Reading, puzzles, positive thinking, meditating, etc. help nourish the mind. The nourishment that you provide your body impacts your mind just as the nourishment you provide your mind impacts your body. 

O is for Open. Open yourself to new things. When you are open to learning & trying new things, it creates new possibilities. Being open allows for flexibility in light of change & even challenges in life. An open mind has the ability to perceive more & can decrease the stress from being closed minded & unable to adapt when needed. It’s amazing what can happen when you are open to new things.  

P is for Patience. Whether you wait for something you look forward to or something you dread to end, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel can be long or short, making it hard to be patient. It’s important to step back, take a breath, & focus on the present. Being impatient will get you no where & can even slow things down. Have patience & focus on the here & now. 

Q is for Quality. It’s quality that has more significance over quantity. Make this quality time of productivity & down time. Do things of quality for your mental & physical body with exercise, meditation, sleep, diet, etc. The physical activities you partake in should be of benefit to your overall health. The food you consume should be quality to nourish your body. Enrich mind with quality activities that both exercise your brain & relax your mind. Choose things of quality. 

R is for Rest, Recharge & Reset. It’s important for your health to rest. Allow yourself to rest so you can recharge your mind & body. Once you have recharged, you are able to reset so you can resume activities. You can then take on challenges & tasks as needed. Give yourself a break to rest, recharge, & reset, so you can accomplish more & care for your health. 

S is for Simplify. Keep it simple. Not everything has to be complicated. Enjoy the simple things in life. Break down more complex tasks into simpler parts. When you keep it simple, things aren’t as hard, are less overwhelming, & become less stressful. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Often, the simplest solution is the best solution.

T is for Time. We all have a limited amount of time on this planet. The amount of time differs for each person. How we use that time is up to us. Somethings require our time that are less enjoyable. What we do with our free time matters. It’s beneficial to schedule our time when we can, so we can enjoy ourselves when possible, care for our wellbeing, & be productive when we can. It’s a balancing act on how we manage & make use of our time. 

U is for Understanding. Try to be understanding of others’ feelings & perspective. It doesn’t mean having to agree or that someone is right when they’re not. We all have different experiences that shape who we are as people. Being open to understanding others prevents conflict & judgement. Listening to understand others’ perspectives expands our knowledge, even if we don’t agree. We are then able to make more informed opinions & respond accordingly. 

V is for Visionary. It’s up to you to write your own story. Envision what you want for yourself & figure out what you need to do to make it happen. Creating a vision for yourself isn’t just your goal but how you get there as well. While you work towards your vision, be sure to enjoy yourself along your way. 

W is for Work. You can’t get what you want out of life without putting in some work to achieve it. While rest & self-care are important, it’s important to do the work. No one is healthy without putting effort into with proper diet & exercise. Work can become routine where it’s second nature. When possible, find the joy in the work you do. Not all work is pleasant, but it needs to be done. 

X is for Xenial. The adjective xenial is used to describe a friendly relationship between two parties. In all this chaos of this pandemic, it’s important be courteous & kind to members of your community. It’s not all about you. It’s about others & who they come in contact with as well. There have many great examples of others being helpful & kind to others in this given situation. Start now developing & working on friendly relationships with others.

Y is for YOLO. You Only Live Once. Each person is given one life to live. Enjoy it, nurture, & make the most of your life. You will get what you put into it, so do the work to care for yourself & create the life you want. Just make sure to not make it at the expense of your well-being. Have some fun to as you only live once. 

Z is for Zeal. When it comes to your life, have enthusiasm for the things you pursue. When you do what you love, it doesn’t always feel like work. Having zeal for what you do or the outcome you want to achieve, makes the work worth it.  Live life & work with zeal to achieve the benefits you desire. You got this!

Building a Healthy Immune System

Building a Healthy Immune System

Amid the pandemic, we need to continue to be mindful to take the necessary precautions. Preventative measures do not just mean only wearing a mask, social distancing, cleaning hands, & disinfecting but supporting one’s immune system. Here are some simple ways to support your immune system:

  • Nutrition
    • You are what you eat. That cannot be said enough. Treat your body well & nourish it with healthy foods. The less processed food & junk you put into your body, the better off you are. Eating plenty of vegetables, proteins, & a small amount of fat helps properly nourish the body. A balanced diet can supply the proper amount of vitamins & minerals to help support a healthy immune system. The best source of vitamins is from the foods you eat.
  • Health gut
    • A lot of health comes down to having a healthy gut. It’s a simple concept, if you think about it. Western medicine has you take pills that are swallowed & absorbed into your gut. It is better to avoid the need to take medications when possible by having a healthy immune system. Having a healthy gut helps you to absorb nutrients properly & build your immune system’s defense against pathogens. A good way to support a healthy gut are with probiotics & digestive enzymes. While these can be found in some foods, other options include taking them in the form of supplements as well.
  • Sleep
    • Getting the right amount of sleep allows your body to reset & recharge. Sleep enables your body to help heal itself. Now is a great time to set your body on a schedule to go to sleep & wake up around the same time. Having a sleep schedule is an optimal way to get the proper amount of sleep your body needs.
  • Stress relief
    • Reducing stress helps to support your body’s immune system. Three simple ways to reduce stress include deep breathing, exercise, & reflecting upon daily gratitude. There are multiple ways to reduce stress. It’s about finding what works for you & making it part of your daily routine.
  • Sunshine
    • Go outside for 10-15 minutes a day to soak up some sunshine. This will help your body produce Vitamin D which is important for immune health.
  • Exercise
    • Light to moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day cannot just reduce stress but help support your immune system. Exercise at a level that you are at when you start exercising. Listen to your body & stay well hydrated

Don’t Let Insomnia Adversely Impact Your Daily Life

Don’t Let Insomnia Adversely Impact Your Daily Life

Sleep is one of the most important things that people can do for their health. We all need our sleep, and many people often don’t get enough sleep. For so many people, being able to sleep properly can be a more serious problem than being too busy or having a poor sleep environment. Not getting enough sleep can adversely impact a person’s health and daily life. It impacts the immune system, the body’s ability to cope with stress, mental clarity, and influences one’s mood. Often people are prescribed medications or take something over the counter that leaves them feeling groggy and not well rested. Some of the natural supplements such as melatonin, valerian root, or magnesium are not always effective in helping people sleep. Whether its trouble falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, dream disturbed sleep, or waking early, there’s an underlying cause that specific to each person. The root cause of insomnia can be due to a variety of patterns, and when treated properly with acupuncture and herbs, a person can get a better night’s sleep that leaves them feeling rested instead of still being tired throughout the day. Acupuncture helps the body to produce the hormones that it makes naturally to promote sleep and helps the body readjust to a natural circadian rhythm. In addition, acupuncture treatments are extremely relaxing helping the body to destress and even allowing people to take naps their treatments. There is a wide array of herbal formulas that can helps promote a restful night’s sleep without the adverse effects of sleep medications. Because the cause of insomnia differs for each person, a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can be personalized to address an individual’s root cause of insomnia. It is possible to get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling rested through all-natural means with traditional Chinese medicine.

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Don’t Let The Pain Of Frozen Shoulder Stop You

Don’t Let The Pain Of Frozen Shoulder Stop You

The shoulder is the most mobile joint of the entire body, making it susceptible to various injuries. From frozen shoulder to tendinitis to bursitis to impingement to arthritis, there are numerous ways that the shoulder can be adversely affected. Shoulder joints are extremely complex. Each shoulder is made up bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that form the joint that allow it to move in numerous directions.  When one part of the shoulder is injured, it affects the entire joint. An injured shoulder isn’t just painful but can impair mobility making daily tasks such as carrying groceries or driving seem difficult. It can be impossible to even pick up one’s kid or grandkid without severe pain. Doing yoga, playing golf, swimming, playing tennis, or water skiing can all be impossible activities to enjoy due to shoulder pain. Injections may provide temporary relief, and surgery may not necessarily fix the problem and can result in reduced mobility. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the for of acupuncture and complimentary therapies can help to alleviate pain while e promoting healing. Acupuncture is extremely effective in releasing the body’s own natural pain killers and promotes circulation to help heal an injured shoulder. It also promotes the production of synovial fluid which helps to prevent friction of the articular cartilage within the joint.  In addition, cupping can help to increase microcirculation to reduce pain and promote healing as well. These TCM therapies can help with the various components that make up the shoulder joint. Often after just one acupuncture treatment, people experience increased mobility and reduced pain. With a personalized treatment plan, the shoulder can heal through all-natural treatments using acupuncture and cupping without adverse side effects.

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Stop Hiding Behind The Mask Of Anxiety And Depression

Stop Hiding Behind The Mask Of Anxiety And Depression

People aren’t just in physical pain these days. The emotional pain of anxiety and depression have become an all too common occurrence for millions of people. Many medications help mask the emotional pain while leaving people a shell of themselves and out of touch with reality. For some people the proper medications are crucial and after finding the proper balance of medications, they can function normally. Often the medications are meant to be temporary solutions that a person can be weaned from under the supervision of his or her doctor. Some people are content being on their medications but need some additional help in balancing their mood. Other people’s moods are affected but don’t feel comfortable with the medications, or their symptoms aren’t as severe warranting medications. The problem is that the body isn’t making the proper amount of the various mood hormones, that it makes naturally, or people easily become triggered into a constant state of distress.  People’s bodies just don’t know how to naturally return to that state of homeostasis. Fortunately, there are natural solutions without the harsh side effects of many medications. By stimulating specific points on the body, acupuncture helps to retrain the body to release the endorphins and various hormones naturally. Treatments are very relaxing and help the body to heal itself. Herbal formulas are another natural means of addressing the whole person and not just the symptoms of stress and anxiety. They help to get to the root of the problem instead of masking the symptoms. By addressing additional aspects of one’s lifestyle from proper diet, exercise, hydrating properly, and breathing, the body is further able to return to that proper state of homeostasis. A person can work with their medical doctor throughout the process to reduce or discontinue medications if they desire. Other people may need to stay on medications but could use extra help balancing out their bodies. The entire process of incorporating TCM is straightforward when following a properly laid out plan to an individual’s needs. Utilizing acupuncture and adjunctive therapies allow a person to not live behind a mask of anxiety and depression or that of the side effects from medications.

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Ice Not So Nice For Injuries

Ice Not So Nice For Injuries

Many of us were taught to ice an injury as part of R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevate). Grabbing an ice pack is usually one of the first reactions when someone gets injured. While icing an injury may help to numb the pain, research is showing that reducing the inflammation can inhibit healing. The healing factors that the body creates can’t reach the area of injury as readily because circulation is slowed down by the application of ice. Using ice doesn’t always reduce pain as some people experience increased pain when ice is applied to an injured area. Direct exposure to ice over time can cause a burn as well. Aside from recent research, the principles of East Asian medicine (aka Traditional Chinese Medicine) along with some of the basic laws of physics can explain why ice not beneficial to use on an injury. Not using ice on an injury is a widely accepted practice in East Asian Medicine. Pain occurs as a result of stagnation when circulation is inhibited. Since cold inhibits circulation, ice would ultimately inhibit the healing process.  This concept of temperature affecting healing can be applied using the basic principles of physics. When something is cold, it is moving more slowly, congeals, and becomes stagnant. While if something is warm or hot, it moves faster and more freely. By icing an injury, vessels contract reducing circulation and preventing the healing cells of inflammation from reaching the site of injury. While ice may help to numb the pain, ice ultimately slows down the healing process. It is more beneficial to not use ice on injuries in order to promote quicker healing times. Other treatments such as acupuncture and adjunctive therapies can help to alleviate the pain while promoting healing.

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Learn more on how ice inhibits healing:

Acupuncture Helps Heal The Source Of Chronic Back Pain

Acupuncture Helps Heal The Source Of Chronic Back Pain

Back pain has become so prevalent that if you don’t suffer from back pain, you likely know someone who has suffered from back pain in some point of their life. There are many causes to back pain. The truth is that a person can even have a strong core and use poor body mechanics, resulting in a back injury. Often the solution is medications that mask the symptoms as often there isn’t much else that can be done. The problem is that these medications don’t promote healing but mask the pain. Acupuncture is great for not just alleviating the back pain but promoting healing as well. Addition therapies, such as cupping or gua sha, can be used to promote the microcirculation and reduce the inflammation. Moxibustion is another form of therapy that can be implemented to warm the area while alleviating pain. Heat is beneficial to the healing process while ice should be avoided. More research concurs with East Asian medicinal theory and is showing that ice inhibits healing. The combination of acupuncture and complimentary therapies used during treatment is determined by assessing each individual person based on his or her specific needs. One of the problems with back pain is that people may have trouble lying in certain positions. Acupuncture treatments can be versatile by making sure each person is able to relax in a comfortable position during treatment. The points used don’t have to be located at the source of the pain to illicit a healing effect. The points and complimentary care utilized can be adjusted to the person without compromising the treatment. While back pain has become a prevalent problem, it can be resolved naturally while allowing the body to heal itself instead of just masking the pain.

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* Individual results vary. No guarantee of specific results is warranted or implied and your results will depend on many factors (full disclaimer).

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"Katrina's treatments are life changing. I highly recommend you making regular visits with her a part of your self care routine."

- Shani A.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"I can’t say enough about Katrina and her skills as an acupuncturist. I had major scoliosis surgery done 8yrs ago. Since then I have been suffering with daily pain in my SI joint area. I decided to try acupuncture to see if it could help. By my second appointment I was feeling like a different person. I literally had no pain in that area! Although I need to keep up with my treatment I can honestly say that was the first time I didn’t feel pain in years! I highly recommend seeing Katrina. She is a wealth of knowledge regarding Eastern medicine and it’s also an opportunity to relax and recharge in a soothing environment."


- Lisa L.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"Choosing Karma Zen Acupuncture is one of the best decisions I have ever made! Kat is knowledgeable, has a calming presence, is easy to talk to, and really listens to her patients. After only four visits I have noticed vast improvements in my health. I highly recommend Kat and Karma Zen!"


- Diane L.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"Katrina is professional and personable. She has treated me numerous times with great success. I find that she is very receptive to my thoughts and concerns. Her willingness to go the extra mile to make sure that I’m comfortable is greatly appreciated. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending her to my friends, family and colleagues."


- Michael B.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"Highly recommend Katrina- she is extremely knowledgeable and very easy to talk to. I had a pinched nerve in my neck, it was hard for me to even turn my neck. After 6 treatments, I can now return to yoga and exercise classes. I have had acupuncture from others and she is by far the best."


- Beth H.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"Kat is an outstanding Acupuncturist. Her technique and bed side manner is very warm. Kat treated me for low back and neck pain. After a couple of treatments, I was back to exercising sooner than usual. I know that her treatments made a huge difference in my quick recovery. I highly recommend Kat for any issue."


- Lisa P.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"I first came to Katrina at Karma Zen when my knee was badly injured. I received acupuncture for 2 months or so. Not only was my knee healed the experience was amazing for me! My ankle pain is gone my stress level went way down. I feel lighter with much more energy. Katrina has helped me and continues to help. I highly recommend KARMA ZEN!!"


- Jennifer R.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"Katrina is great. I highly recommend Karma Zen Acupuncture! I no longer have back problems, my energy has returned, the swelling in my knee is gone, I’m sleeping better.. I could go on and on! Thank you Katrina."


- Cheryl W.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"Dr. Giangarra is an amazing, PASSIONATE, healer that has helped me with migraines and insomnia. It took about 5 sessions with acupuncture and cupping, and now I am MUCH better. I highly recommend Karma Zen for ppl with headaches and sleep issues. You can thank me later!"


- Patricia L.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"It was about twenty-four hours after my first experience with Acupuncture to combat chronic allergies and rhinitis when noticed I hadn't sneezed in that amount of time.  She said it would help, and she knows what she's talking about and what she's doing!  Thanks, K!"


- Ned B.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"Katrina is a wealth of information and compassion. I first visited her acupuncture studio on a recommendation from a friend. I had never tried acupuncture and cupping before, but a testy elbow problem had been keeping me up at night. More than relieving the pain associated with the elbow, I needed to get a good night’s sleep again! After my first treatment, the pain abated, and mobility and strength improved progressively week after week. I’d say by the third or fourth weekly session the elbow was a non-issue. I continue to go to Katrina at Karma Zen for general wellness. I always leave much calmer and more collected than when I arrive."


- Jen M.

Personalized Care With Outstanding Results



"Kat is amazing! She has helped with a variety of different health issues I was having like pain and anxiety. Now I am feeling SO much better, my life has really transformed for the better and I really owe it to the treatments and Kat's attentive and geunine care."

-Kira R.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"Katrina is an amazing healer. I always feel seen and heard by her. Overall my health has improved so much since I started ssing her. I fully trust her with my healthcare."

-Martha E.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"Highly recommended!"

-Charles S.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"Katrina is a caring and compassionate practitioner!"

-Ann L.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"Serene atmosphere and great intuitional healer."

-Geno D.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"Very gentle and caring."

-Nancy W.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"Fantastic practitioner."

-Duncan F.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"Professional, compassionate and effective care. Amazing staff. That is what you can expect when you visit Karma Zen Acupuncture. Highly recommended!"

-Todd, G.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"Karma Zen Acupuncture is just like the name implies! Relaxing and healing. Kat is a wonderful practitioner. She is very knowledgeable and attentive. I highly recommend them!"

-Montserrat G.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"Kat is such a wonderful acupuncturist, very knowledgable, and ensures you feel at ease with the treatments. I highly recommend Karma Zen Acupuncture!"

-Christal D.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"Terrific practice, terrific practitioner!"

-Michael J.


Personalized Care With Outstanding Results




"As somewhat of a  "newbie" to the practice I was not sure what to expect from the session(s). I am now months into my scheduled weekly sessions and can feel the positive effects from those. Originally, the minor to worse aches and pains (hips, back, shoulders) were my focus in the treatment plan that Katrina helped me with. Now those  aches are minimizing. What I didn't expect  was how I responded to how acupuncture in the mental side of therapy, a sort of energy and mental shifting treatment. I love  how it helps me handle stress, to relax, motivating me in my exercise regimens and overall, the calming effects it supports and promotes. Katrina is a gifted practioner and is awesome!!Thanks! Mike"

-Mike W.


Your initial consultation is free. Come meet us in person and learn more.

Or, just call 512-766-3049 and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Read more about:  Our Philosophy | Our History | Our Awesome Staff | Testimonials and Success Stories

* Individual results vary. No guarantee of specific results is warranted or implied and your results will depend on many factors (full disclaimer).

How can we help YOU today?

Chronic Pain

Gain relief from the pain impacting your life.

Joint Pain

Don't let joint pain keep you from enjoying the activities that you love.

Hormone Imbalances

Free yourself of the hormone imbalances affecting you.

Digestive Disorders

Take control of your digestive health.

Back Pain

Resolve your pain and improve your mobility naturally.


Don't let sciatic pain control your life with all natural treatments.

Anxiety & Depression

Don't allow your emotional pain hold you back any longer.

Migraine Headaches

Reduce the severity & frequency of migraines naturally.

Carpal Tunnel 


Be able to use your wrists without constant pain.

Frozen Shoulder

Regain full range of motion without pain, naturally.

Tennis Elbow/

Golfer's Elbow


Lose the pain while regaining your swing with natural treatments.

Knee Pain

Improve your mobility while alleviating your pain.

Shingles Nerve Pain


Don't continue to suffer in constant pain and sensitivity due to shingles.

Plantar Fasciitis

Be able to stand up without the fear of shooting pain in your foot.



The pain of lupus doesn't have to keep you from enjoying the activities that you love.


Don't be stuck living with the pain and swelling due to gout.



Be active and go about your day without constant joint pain.



Live without constant pain and enjoy your day


Alleviate your pain, while improving your mobility.

Hip Pain


Achieve all natural relief from hip pain.

IT Band Syndrome

Be more active without IT band pain stopping you.

Pinched Nerve


Don't allow the pain of nerve impingement keep you from enjoying the activities that you love.

Cervical Radiculopathy

Take control of the pain, numbeness, & tingling caused by cervical radiculopathy.



Enjoy your day without burning pain, numbness, and tingling.


Regain mobility and and don't get weighed down by fluid retention.

Stroke Recovery

Regain your life back from the effects of your stroke.

Muscle Spasms

Be able to go about your day withou the pain of muscle spasms getting in your way.


Alleviate the pain and discomfort of your TMJ disorder naturally.

Neck Pain


Don't allow neck pain to prevent you  from enjoying the things that you love.

Urinary Incontinence


Regain control your bladder, so you can take back your life.



Don't let the problems of PCOS impact your life.

Perimenopausal Symptoms

Prevent hot flashes and night sweats from keeping you up at night.



Don't allow the pain of endometriosis keep you from time with your family and friends.


Your pain, mood swings, and fatigue can be controlled naturally each month.

Addison's Disease


Don't let the constant fatigue, nausea, & dizziness of Addison's disease prevent you from enjoying your life.

Adrenal Fatigue

Prevent the fatigue, pain, and aches of adrenal fatigue from controlling your life.

Cushing's Syndrome


Don't allow the fatigue, hunger, & excess sweating of Cuching's syndrome control your life.


The pain and heavy menstruation due to your uterine fibroids don't have to interfere with enjoying time with family and friends.



Get the family you always dreamed about having one day.

Thyroid Disorders

Balance your hormones with natural medicine.



Be able to fall asleep and stay asleep with all natural remedies.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Don't let restless legs prevent you from being able to sleep.

Ulcerative Colitis

Take control over your ulcerative colitis symptoms.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Alleviate your digestive problems naturally.

Gallbladder Symptoms

Don't allow gallbladder symptoms to impact your daily life.

Crohn's Disease

Take control of the pain and digestive upset of crohn's disease.


Don't let the world continue to feel like it's spinning around you.

Salivary Stones

Don't let the pain and discomfor of salivary stones disrupt your day.

Weight Loss


Increase your energy and boost your metabolism.

Smoking Addiction

Take charge of your life and don't allow withdrawal symptoms to control you.

Cedar Fever

Don't let your allergies prevent you from enjoying the great outdoors.

Immune Support

Boost your immune system naturally and effectively, so you don't get sick or recover quicker if you already are sick.


Allow your true complexion to shine through.

Facial Rejuvination

Allow your inner beauty to shine outward even more.

Your initial consultation is free. Come meet us in person and learn more.

Or, just call 512-766-3049 and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Read more about:  Our Philosophy | Our History | Our Awesome Staff | Testimonials and Success Stories

* Individual results vary. No guarantee of specific results is warranted or implied and your results will depend on many factors (full disclaimer).


Our unique blend of holistic medical therapies gets ALL your body's healing resources going in the same direction...


Calms stress, clears neuroendocrine pathways, affects neurotransmitters, and promotes circulation.


Promotes microcirculation, relieves tension, and helps release toxins.

Herbal Therapy

Transmits nature’s intelligence to heal damaged cells and tissues.

Gua Sha 

Breaks up scar tissue and connective tissue, reduces inflammation, and improves circulation.


Promotes circulation, alleviates tension, and helps reduce inflammation and swelling.

Relaxation & Stress Reduction   Focus on calming the mind and emotions to maximize your body’s healing resources.

Your initial consultation is free. Come meet us in person and learn more.

Or, just call 512-766-3049 and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Read more about:  Our Philosophy | Our History | Our Awesome Staff | Testimonials and Success Stories

* Individual results vary. No guarantee of specific results is warranted or implied and your results will depend on many factors (full disclaimer).


You'll always feel welcome and cared for here.

Dr. Katrina Giangarra, DACM, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.

Licensed Acupuncturist, Founder, & Clinic Director

Isabella (aka Izzy, aka Fluff Nugget) Giangarra

3rd Unofficial Mascot

Calliope (aka Callie) Giangarra

Unofficial Mascot

Esme (aka Ezzy or Ezzers) Giangarra

2nd Unofficial Mascot

Your initial consultation is free. Come meet us in person and learn more.

Or, just call 512-766-3049 and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Read more about:  Our Philosophy | Our History | Our Awesome Staff | Testimonials and Success Stories

* Individual results vary. No guarantee of specific results is warranted or implied and your results will depend on many factors (full disclaimer).

Located in Spicewood

Karma Zen Acupuncture is located in a serene spot off of Highway-71 in the Bee Creek Business Park as part of the Bee Creek Clinic. Whether you live locally in Spicewood or in the surrounding areas of Briarcliff, Marble Falls, Lakeway, Bee Cave, Austin, or Dripping Springs, we are happy to provide a peaceful and relaxing environment as we help you on your path to better health. The location is a hidden gem as it’s great for those locally, not wanting to travel far, and for those wanting to escape from the more chaotic and busier areas.

Your initial consultation is free. Come meet us in person and learn more.

Or, just call 512-766-3049 and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Read more about:  Our Philosophy | Our History | Our Awesome Staff | Testimonials and Success Stories

* Individual results vary. No guarantee of specific results is warranted or implied and your results will depend on many factors (full disclaimer).

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