Practice type: Hybrid
Specialties: Asthma, chronic pain, depression, insomnia, skin conditions
Styles: Herbal therapy, Master Tung acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Why did you become an acupuncturist?
I studied massage and psychology, earlier in life, and left each behind because I was convinced they were only a small piece of what made a human being. I became an acupuncturist because I believe you cannot separate the mind from the body from the spirit, and to attempt to heal one while ignoring the rest is foolish at best. Also, admittedly, because I love solving mysteries and finding patterns, two things I get to do daily in this work.
What distinguishes you from other acupuncturists?
As an acupuncturist, I am always experimenting, always researching new ways to help people. I learned to read and write Chinese, so I can go back to the original source material, and I spent some time in China doing clinical rounds for dermatology and neurology. I tend to favor a more intense style of treatment with more immediate results, but I have an eclectic approach so I can adapt to the needs of my patients. I am also a dedicated herbalist, and believe that herbal medicine does much of the heavy lifting in treating serious illness. I know the classics pretty well, and frequently design custom formulas for my patients.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love the detective work. And I love how, with the right perspective, things that seem so complicated and so life-consuming, can be distilled into something so simple. And when that simple, core idea is understood, everything falls into place. It’s so satisfying to see that, and to help my patients see it, too. Every day I see my patients walk out the door looking happier and in less pain than when they arrived, and I just live for those moments. But even more so are the moments when understanding dawns on them, and they truly get the ways that they can live their own lives in more balanced ways.
What is the biggest misconception you hear about acupuncture?
Most often what I hear is the assumption that it can only treat the small handful of conditions that are accepted by the mainstream medical establishment, being pain, nausea, and headaches. To be honest, while there are number of things that Chinese medicine cannot cure, I have yet to encounter a single thing that it cannot help.
How do you stay healthy in your own life?
Living and eating with the seasons, everything in moderation (including moderation), regular exercise (rock climbing is my favorite), getting acupuncture and taking herbs, listening to my body and learning to understand what it’s telling me.
Armstrong Chiropractic: 22 Battery Street, #701, San Francisco, CA 94111
Laughing Buddha Acupuncture: 411 30th Street, #308, Oakland, CA 94609