The Seasons and Your Health:
Winter, a time of waiting and replenishment - Classical Acupuncture & Blazing Valley String Band
Classical Acupuncture Practice


 My Writings About Health & Healing

Articles about the Seasonal Energies and how to use them to benefit yourself and your health:

The Seasons and Your Health:

-Fall, the time of inspiration and letting-go

-Winter, the time of rest and replenishment

-Spring, the morning-time of the year

-Summer, the time of maximum light

-Late Summer, the transitional time of sweetness and satisfaction

 More articles about Healing and Energy:

Healing and Politics: Using the Neutrality of the Energetic Realm for Mental and Emotional Balance

Audio Version:

How I See the World Through Energy-colored Glasses: An Introduction to the Five Elements

What Is an Emotion?
Help With Emotional Balance from the World of Energy

Audio Version:

Classical Acupuncture is a deep and comprehensive form of healing based upon the diagnostic/philosophical system known as the Five Elements. I write on numerous topics, including how seasonal energies affect you and the five elements. Click on one of the links above to access some of these writings.

Questions and/or comments about these writings are welcome!

 What is classical acupuncture, anyway?

Let’s go back through the mists of time: My first brush with the wacky world of Chinese medicine came in 1981 when a close friend, a woman of high intelligence and common sense, told me that she had begun seeing an acupuncturist. I remember thinking, “What in the world happened to her? Too much sun? Sun spots?” In other words, why someone would choose such a bizarre route to better their health was beyond my comprehension. My concept of acupuncture at that time was that you went to get better and that there were needles, which of course meant that it had to hurt and probably a lot - but I didn’t know why there were needles or what the connection between them and getting better was. It was just too weird - in other words, something that forced me to look beyond what I acknowledged as being valid. But I was torn, because not only was my friend very smart and down-to-earth, the treatments were helping her to a miraculous degree. A couple of years later, I had my first acupuncture treatment and the rest, as they say, brings us to the present moment.

What is acupuncture, then?
There are actually many forms of acupuncture. The form that I practice, classical acupuncture, is probably the oldest - about five thousand years old - and, in both philosophy and practice, it’s very very different from all other forms. Classical acupuncture is a form of healing. It works on a person’s energy, their life force, their qi which in animate beings runs in channels through the body. Everything in the universe is an expression of energy. From a purely mechanistic point of view, then, symptoms of pain and/or illness are signs, messages from the energy system that something is amiss. The needles are more like wires a hair or two thick in diameter. (I use pre sterilized, disposable ones.) They allow me to actually touch the energy in the pathways that run just below the skin and, with both the needles and my consciousness, to manipulate this energy back toward health, back toward harmony. And, yes, there can be sensation when the needles contact the energy, usually an achy sting. Some clients feel that it’s painful, some don’t, but in any case, it lasts a heartbeat or two and then it’s gone.

What is healing?
Well, you cut your finger, and it goes through a process of healing during which it stops bleeding, granular tissue starts to fill up the cut, a scab forms and then falls off, it finally stops feeling sore, and then it’s just a memory, with or without a scar. The body does this all on its own, which is a miracle considering the complexity of the process and the coordination needed to complete it. But the mind, the emotions, and even the spirit know how to heal themselves, too. Classical acupuncture facilitates the innate ability of the body, the mind, the spirit, and the emotions to heal themselves by working on the bottom line - the energy system. As a healer, I see my role as that of midwife to the natural healing process. In other words, healing is something that we already know how to do; I am the facilitator of that process. The client and I establish a healing partnership, a team, and with the needles and my own consciousness, I try to hear and see exactly what it is they are asking for and give this to them.

From a more whole-person point of view, healing is a process of inclusion. Pain and illness occur in the part of the self that we see as not fitting in with our vision of who we should be - in other words, the part of the self that we have trouble accepting. Sometimes this part is a certain level of the energy system - the emotional level, for instance: lack of acceptance could manifest as depression, PMS, and irritable bowel syndrome, for example. Sometimes it’s one of the many aspects of the self that we can’t find a place for. Someone who expects himself to be a hardworking, cheerful do-bee come rain or shine, for instance, may be unable to accept the part of himself that is unmotivated and crabby. In the unique landscape of his energy system, the back and knees may be the areas associated with these issues and his inability to accept the tired, irritable part of himself may manifest as back pain and arthritic knees.

How classical acupuncture works to heal symptoms:
These are just examples; any symptom can come from anywhere, which is why I could have fifty different clients with asthma and these fifty clients would have fifty different underlying reasons (i.e., configurations of their energy systems) for having asthma, and I would have fifty different plans for treating them. When I was looking for a form through which to do healing work, I wanted something which would let me get to the root causes of pain and illness, and I chose classical acupuncture because it’s an extremely effective vehicle for doing this. I wanted to help people heal and to feel good, to get as much as possible out of their lives, and to me this meant working at the deepest level of a person’s imbalance and letting the effects percolate outward, so to speak. I didn’t want an approach that focused on getting rid of symptoms. I wanted an approach that focused on healing symptoms by getting down to the root cause and bringing harmony and balance there, at that level. Being a healer is like being a detective, and, as any detective knows, you don’t get rid of the evidence until the mystery is solved; you work with the clues because they speak to you, because they’re the trail of bread crumbs that lead you home. Symptoms are messages from a person’s body, mind, spirit or emotions that tell you, if you listen well enough, what’s wrong. And, because I like being seen for who I am, I wanted to practice a form of healing that acknowledged the specialness of each person and treated them that way.

Surgery is the process of cutting away, of exclusion; it’s the process by which we remove the part or parts of the self that we see as not fitting in with our image of who we ‘should’ be. Sometimes surgery is necessary, and it’s one of the things that western medicine does so well that it makes you want to fall down on your knees and weep with joy and thankfulness. But healing is the process by which we say, ‘All this is me.’ Healing is not a streamlined process in which we categorize and stack things up in nice neat little rows and cubbies. On the contrary, healing, like life itself, is more like the shoebox into which we’ve tried to stuff more than it can hold so that the lid doesn’t fit very well and a few things are sticking out because of all the commotion inside.

 What does treatment with me have to offer clients?

My style as healer:
As a vehicle for healing, classical acupuncture works at a very deep level and can have profound results. It has the ability to go to the place where the symptoms of pain and illness originate and work at that level to change the energy system toward harmony and peace so that the body, the mind, the spirit, and the emotions can begin to heal themselves. As a healer, my own personal style is to work with clients who want a partner as their healer: I’m the expert on acupuncture, they’re the expert on themselves. As we go through the treatment process, I tell them what I see happening in their energy system and what I’m doing to help it change, and we discuss what I see and what types of things they can do to support and continue this process in between treatments. After doing classical acupuncture for 20 years, I’ve found that the most satisfying, sustainable, and profound healing takes place when clients change the way in which they treat themselves. Diet, exercise, drinking enough water, expression through creativity, job/professional and relationship satisfaction are all important as well; but, if the client doesn’t change the way in which he or she approaches him- or herself, the changes are short-lived and, ultimately, not that satisfying.

The compassionate approach.
What in the world am I talking about? I’m talking about compassion and my basic approach as a healer is a compassionate one. Compassion is not sympathy; it’s actually a more objective process - the acknowledgment without judgment that something exists. Approaching oneself with compassion means that, while you may not like the crabby, low energy part of yourself, it’s there, it’s not going anywhere, you can’t remove it or send it off to live on Mars - though you can try ignoring it and, like many people, end up with ulcers or depression or uncontrollable rages. It’s like air pollution: No one (I hope) likes it but the first step in restoring the air to something that is invisible, breathable, and harmless is acknowledging that air pollution is a reality.

When someone comes to me for help, what I’m actually doing, first with my consciousness and then with the needles, is saying, ‘I see you. I see the part of yourself that you can’t accept, that you can’t make room for within yourself.’ It’s very powerful to be seen and not judged, and, as part of healing process, I try to help clients learn to be their own healer, their own compassionate listener and acknowledger, the internal helper who seeks to give them what they need rather than what they think they should need. And since treatment is focused on individual transformation and compassion rather than symptom eradication, it has the capability of addressing anything - from asthma to chronic fatigue syndrome to PMS to panic attacks to infertility to the physical, psychological, emotional and spirit-level damage done to one in childhood through abuse, to name a few things. Anything on a mental, physical, emotional, or spirit level can be addressed with treatment. And, because each of us is unique, so are responses to treatment.

Treatments are created for you, not for your symptoms. I want your symptoms to go away. But at the same time I don’t do cook-book acupuncture. In other words, I don’t have points for back pain and points for menstrual cramps. I don’t start at the outside and work my way in. I focus my treatments at the deepest level of who you are - the energy level - and try to bring balance there. Because energy is the bottom line of everything that we are and because each of us has an innate intelligence when it comes to healing, once balance and harmony are restored at the energy level, the body, the mind, the spirit, and the emotions can begin to heal themselves. One of the great strengths of this kind of medicine is that it not only sees each of us as unique, it has the ability to treat us that way. I spend a lot of time during the history and during each treatment learning all about each client, about their individual energy systems, about how and where they are out of balance and I use all that information to construct specific treatments for specific clients to bring balance and healing to each of them in the ways that each of them needs.

An ethical footnote.
I chose to practice classical acupuncture because it is so effective and I’ve seen it do miraculous things. But please understand that I cannot and am not making any guarantees as to its effectiveness for any specific person or his or her symptoms.

 What should you expect when coming to see me?

My credentials.
I’ve been practicing acupuncture since 1986. I am licensed by the State of California and I’m proud to say that I have a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute in Columbia, Maryland (now called Tai Sophia).

The treatment process.
The first visit is an hour-and-a-half history during which I’ll ask you to tell me (a) what you want from acupuncture; (b) what other things you want to change in your life; (c) your medical history; and (d) about yourself as a person in as much detail as you are comfortable. The history is not just about fact-gathering, even though that is vital. During the history, we establish the rapport necessary for us to do this kind of work together, and I get the information I need that allows me to see you as a whole person instead of only a bag of physical - or mental or emotional - symptoms. The first treatment can take up to two hours, but after that, treatments will be about an hour long. Most people come once a week for several weeks and then, as the energy holds for longer and longer periods of time, the treatments are spaced farther apart - usually at ten, then fourteen, and then twenty-one days. When they reach the point where they feel they’ve stabilized, most clients then establish some kind of maintenance schedule, whether it’s every four or five or six weeks. Some decide to come when the seasons change (and, in Chinese medicine, there are five seasons). And some clients decide that they will just call when they feel they need to come in.

How long does it take to feel results?
Most clients feel better after the first or second treatment - sometimes during the first or second treatment. For others, it may take two or three treatments before they see results. The important thing to realize is that, just as with a cut finger, healing is a process. And most people don’t just have a reduction or cessation of symptoms; they actually start feeling good (What a concept!). In other words, because treatment focuses on healing the whole person, the sky’s the limit and you can see results that you didn’t expect, such as a greater sense of well-being, more energy, more resilience on all levels, improved sleeping and appetite patterns, greater clarity, etc. Some clients even report feeling more loving toward their fellow homo sapiens sapiens.

Feel free to call me with any questions.

At the risk of making it sound like an expedition to the North Pole, working with me entails a commitment of time and money. I’m more than willing to discuss your case with you over the phone in order to help you decide whether working with me is what you want. Everyone has different needs, and that’s why there are different kinds of healing modalities and healers with different styles within each modality.

Even though I have a website, call me. Because I want to preserve your privacy and because this self-selection process can take ten to twenty minutes, I prefer the phone rather than e-mail. 916.452.5995

I look forward to speaking with you.

I always try to return calls the same day. Please know that I rarely answer the phone when I’m in the office because I am with clients. But leave me a message and times to contact you and I will call you back.