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Santa Rosa, CA: Christina Ness-Hawks

Fast facts
Practice type: Private
Specialties: Allergies, back pain, headaches / migraines, musculoskeletal pain, stress
Styles: Dr. Tan’s Balance Method, Master Tung acupuncture

Why did you become an acupuncturist?
Acupuncture changed my life, twice. I was really sick with allergies, sinus infections, and a poor immune system from ages 11-25. After trying everything else, acupuncture turned things around for me. I was finally able to lead the active life I always wanted to.

Several years later I went back to school to study Chinese medicine, but the stress of grad school started affecting my health. A good friend told me, “If you can’t reduce your stress, you’re going to have to quit school. It’s making you sick.” So I started getting regular acupuncture again to reduce my stress.

I learned that there are times in life that we all need some extra support, and that not only did I want to become an acupuncturist but I knew I needed to inspire people to take care of themselves so they can live the life they dream of.

What distinguishes you from other acupuncturists?
I make the treatment process both comfortable and approachable. On the physical level, I am a gentle practitioner, committed to providing relaxing treatments. On the intellectual level, I have a strong background in Western science and will explain things in relatable terms. On the emotional level, I am a good listener and it is my priority to make sure patients feel heard and comfortable.

I ask all my patients to be actively involved in setting treatment goals and priorities. I believe everyone has innate wisdom and health. I want to help you figure out how to let it shine through more often. I put just as much into giving patients a fabulous acupuncture treatment as I do helping them figure out ways they can take care of themselves. I’ve come to think of myself as a wellness cheerleader—probably the most down-to-earth cheerleader you’ll ever meet.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love it when I use a few acupuncture points to relieve someone’s pain and they get a look of relief and wonder that they can feel good instantly. Or when patients get up from the table and tell me they feel relaxed and present. Or when patients tell me they have more energy and hope. This is the place where people are able to access their innate wisdom and health and make real changes for themselves. I feel privileged to be witness to this and find it fascinating and inspiring.

What is the biggest misconception you hear about acupuncture?
Did you know there are lots of different styles of acupuncture? Probably not—most people don’t. That’s because, as a whole, acupuncturists are not very good about communicating this. If you had a deep-tissue massage and it was too painful, you would know to ask for a Swedish massage next time.

If you didn’t like how your acupuncture treatment felt or the results weren’t what you were looking for, ask your acupuncturist if they can do something different or refer you to someone who practices a different style. Thanks to more publicity and sites like AcuTake, I hope people will know to give acupuncture a second chance if the first time doesn’t work for them.

How do you stay healthy in your own life?
My health mantra is “everything in moderation, including moderation sometimes.” I’m not perfect or rigid in my self care but here’s what keeps me happy: I get most of my exercise outdoors, hiking or mountain biking, but I also do strength training and yoga.

I think food is the original medicine and my husband and I love food. We avoid processed food, and we make most of our own food with lots of local ingredients from the farmers market and our garden.

I like to blow off steam on the dancefloor. I’m always looking for time and space to cultivate a quiet mind in the moment. To balance it all out, I get regular acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage.

Do you have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?
I’m always amused when people ask me if acupuncture really works. I’ve dedicated my life to this medicine because I’ve seen it work. It’s been around as a primary medicine in China for thousands of years because it works. Animals get acupuncture and it works.

I know it’s hard for people to wrap their heads around this medicine because science can’t agree on how it works. The good news is that I practice a style of acupuncture that is known for quick results—as soon as the treatment starts, you feel changes. I’ve turned many skeptics into believers.

Learn more and get in touch
(707) 527-0868

3412 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95403