Santa Barbara, CA
What is Acupuncture?
Often, my clients in Santa Barbara will ask me how acupuncture works on the body. The ancient Chinese believed that a universal life energy called Chi or Qi is present in every living creature, and that this energy circulates through the body along specific pathways called meridians. This Qi affects the flow of blood and the health of all things.
As long as energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once flow is blocked, the system becomes disrupted and pain and illness occur. Acupuncture works to restore normal bodily functions by stimulating certain points along the meridians in order to free up Qi.
Acupuncture is believed to have originated around 100 BC in China, around the time The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine (Huangdi Neijing) was published. 1 Some experts suggest it was practiced even thousands of years earlier and handed down as an oral tradition. 2
"Terra is a gifted acupuncturist and healer. She is also kind and attentive. I came to Terra seeking nutritional advice and wellness after getting a sub-optimal blood panel. Her knowledge in both areas is wide ranging and deep, resulting in a holistic approach that can source different modalities and provide you with the one that best suits your needs."
John Kamps, screenwriter, cyclist, dad
What does acupuncture treat?
My acupuncture sessions can help you with the issues below:
National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies have shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment for the following:
Nausea caused by surgical anesthesia and cancer chemotherapy
Dental pain after surgery
Low back pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Stroke rehabilitation (especially if used immediately after a stroke)
Terra Wellness Treatments:
I have several ways that I treat clients using acupuncture meridian systems. My treatments may involve using several of these healing modalities below:
A Terra Wellness session consists of several different healing modalities. Along with acupuncture, Chinese Medicine includes the use of herbal remedies for health and healing. I use herbal remedies, nutritional supplements, homeopathy, and Bach Flower Remedies, depending on which is the best choice for the conditions being treated.
A full session with me is generally 50-60 minutes. During and after treatments, people typically share that they feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
My suggestions for what health and wellness products to give clients is based on my assessments done in-person or through Telemedicine Zoom sessions. I use intake questions, tongue analysis, and palpation that either you, or I, can check on your body. I also use functional medicine assessment tools of urinalysis or blood lab tests, as well as nutritional intakes and assessments.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments needed differs from person to person. For complex or long-standing chronic conditions, check-ins once or twice a week for several months may be recommended. For acute issues, we start with once a week and taper down to fewer more quickly. It is common to need 5-10 sessions for treating most acute issues. An individualized treatment plan is suggested after our first intake.
Your treatment may include several of these modalities:
1. Acupuncture needles are used on specific, scientifically-based points on the body that correlate with meridians and organ functions. I primarily use Japanese style, which includes the use of extremely thin
needles that are used superficially and are surrounded by a guide tube (a seventeenth-century invention adopted by China and the West.)
2. Acu-Therapy Magnets involves the use of small, powerful, high-tech Neodymium magnets. These are given to clients in-person and for self-treatments on their hands (in between our sessions) to treat corresponding areas in the body for all the same treatments that acupuncture needle points are used for. Some people prefer them over needles!
3. Moxabustion, an incense-like stick made of Mugwort (also called Ai Ye), is used in Chinese Medicine practices to warm the areas of acupuncture points and stimulate them above the skin.
4. Certified, Pure, Therapeutic-Grade essential oils are chosen using meridian theory. They are placed on meridian points if this is a preferred treatment method over other options. 4
5. “Tapping” as a stress relief and trauma tool utilizes techniques developed as part of the “Emotional Freedom Technique” (EFT) trainings. Additionally, stress release points that are commonly used in acupuncture treatments are given as a tool for releasing tension and emotional holding patterns. 5
6. Cupping Therapy is an ancient Chinese medicinal tool in which a local suction is created on the skin using cups. This mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing. 6
7. Auricular Acupuncture is commonly known as ear acupuncture and dates back to ancient China. It involves inserting needles to stimulate points on the ears. The modern approach was developed in France during the
early 1950s, and I've studied both traditions .
8. Therapeutic Massage supports the deeper release of tension for relieving stress, increasing blood flow, and preparing specific parts of the body for acupuncture or magnet treatments. In Telemedicine Zoom sessions I teach certain self-care practices using palpation as well.
9. Yoga Therapy involves specific scientifically-researched postures, breathwork, and meditation practices designed to promote health and healing. Yoga therapy dates back at least 3,000 years, though most of
the postures we use today were fine-tuned within the last 100 years. As a Certified Yoga Therapist within the International Association of Yoga Therapists, I specialize in stress- and trauma-informed practices, respiratory disorders, and digestion disorders. I have taught yoga for specific conditions for 25 years.
10. Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP) Tools As an accredited practitioner of Integrative Body Psychotherapy from the Rosenberg-Kitaen School for over 15 years, I teach skills for embodying deep healing for the nervous system using yoga therapy and somatic psychotherapy practices. 7
11. Foundation Training Practices Having trained in Foundation Training for structural integration and rehabilitation strengthening for over a decade, I offer home practices both in person and by Zoom to support sustained strength and healing. 8
"From the minute we started working together I could tell this was going to change my life. She has a deep knowledge for the human body and her inner wisdom to know exactly how to help/heal me was apparent from the start. In just a few sessions with her I was already feeling much healthier and my back pain wasn't the first thing on my mind.
I'm not sure if it was the Acupuncture, the herbs or the simple daily exercises she recommended, but within a couple months I felt like a completely different person."
Greta Krieger, make-up artist, kids yoga teacher, mom
How does acupuncture work?
Based on the current Western Medicine perspective, acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. As a result, chemicals are released into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes can structurally and chemically stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities as they promote a state of emotional wellbeing. 3
Our bodies are electrical. Current science has used devices that measure electrical currents in the body, and these devices show that when you place the device up to meridian points in the body, they conduct more electricity. When we use acupuncture, we tap into these electrical currents and can re-direct these flows, just like we do with electricity grids on the planet.
Does acupuncture work for health?
Hundreds of clinical studies prove that acupuncture can be highly effective in treating a variety of health issues. Visit our acupuncture resource section. Using acupuncture treatments for pain, health issues, and disease can be highly effective for reducing harsh symptoms while also helping to treat the underlying issues. We know that acupuncture points on the body and the magnet treatments on the hands go to the same receptor sites in the brain, causing a change in blood flow, lymphatic flow, and nerve flow in the area being treated. Using the treatments creates a balance of functional forces around disease issues or pain, allowing us to set a new behavioral pattern that overrides old habits that create pain or disease.
Is acupuncture painful? Are any of the modalities I use painful?
Most people feel no or minimal discomfort as the needles, magnets, cups, or bodywork are gently placed. The needles or magnets are usually in place for 20-30 minutes.
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses four diagnostic methods: inspection, auscultation and olfaction, inquiring, and palpation.
Inspection includes observation of the whole person but mostly focuses on the face and particularly the tongue. Through analysis of the tongue size, shape, tension, color and coating, and the absence or presence of teeth marks around the edge, I can tell many things about the internal health of specific organs, the blood flow to certain areas of the body, and more.
Auscultation and olfaction involve listening for particular sounds, such as qualities in someone’s voice, as well as observing body odor.
Inquiring involves focusing on the "seven inquiries": chills and fever; perspiration; appetite, thirst and taste; defecation and urination; pain; sleep; menses and leukorrhea.
Palpation is focusing on feeling the body for tender "A-shi" points and feeling someone’s pulse. 9.
1. Ernst E (February 2006). " Acupuncture--a critical analysis". Journal of
Internal Medicine. 259 (2): 125–37
2. 2.White A, Ernst E (May 2004). "A brief history of
acupuncture". Rheumatology. 43 (5): 662–3.
Read more about research showing acupuncture's benefits here.