Acupuncture Theory is a complex system of diagnosis that views the person as a whole. While presenting symptoms of two patients may seem equal, the underlying causes for the manifesting symptoms may vary greatly between the two cases. Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine take into consideration the physical, mental, and emotional factors that contribute to a certain condition in order to diagnose and treat the body holistically. In doing so, the root of disease can be targeted instead of merely masking symptoms.  And because the whole body is observed and the underlying cause is treated, the concern for side-effects of treatments or need to see numerous specialists is eliminated.  Even the strongest modern drugs usually can only mask symptoms, not induce healing. True healing is only possible when your body heals itself.

That’s what makes our Acupuncture and Chinese herbs so powerful. They work by assisting your body’s self-healing mechanisms and correcting biochemical imbalances. 


Cupping has been used in TCM since the third century B.C.  Traditionally, cupping involves using an open flame with a rounded "cup" made of glass, pottery, or bamboo, so that a vacuum is created and cups adhere tightly to the skin.  In recent years, other forms of cupping have developed such as manual pneumatic pumps, or electronic cupping devices which are less abrasive to the skin.  Several cups may be applied at  one time to a particular part of the body.

The jars are left in position for 10 to 15 minutes while the vacuum inside the cup produces  suction on the skin and increases the blood flow and circulation. Cupping is particularly helpful for conditions such as inflammation, lower back pain and stiff neck and shoulders as it increases circulation and the mobility of affected areas.  Cupping is also effective for respiratory issues like common colds or asthma.  For more information on cupping in Torrance and Redondo Beach, CA contact us.


Dry needling is a technique used specifically for musculoskeletal issues.  Needles are inserted directly onto muscle fasciae to loosen up adhesions (knots) that result from inflammatory factors and toxins that build up from chronic pain, injuries, and/or overuse.  This is a very effective technique with significant results for pain conditions.  Dr. Kim uses dry needling in conjunction with her traditional acupuncture treatments, which produces even quicker results, as the whole body is treated along with the affected areas for faster healing.


In accompaniment with acupuncture treatment, massage therapy may provide further benefit for specific conditions. In such cases, massage may be prescribed for an additional charge. Massage therapy can cover a variety of techniques which includes Swedish, trigger point release, traction, or lymphatic drainage, depending upon what is most suitable for the issue being addressed. These specialized techniques that target the patient's needs set massage therapy apart from a generalized massage session, and patients will notice more effective results for their particular ailment. While acupuncture is the main healthcare modality at our office and the predominant treatment during your visit, massage-only sessions can be booked in advance in limited availability.


TCM has a history of herbal formulas that date back to more than 3000 years.  Herbal formulas are composed of different parts of plants (in some cases, animals) to address just as much as a wide variety of issues as acupuncture can treat.  In contrast to most synthetic prescriptions, herbal formulas are all-natural and contain none or minimal side effects if administered properly.  Our office prescribes formulas mostly in pill or powder form so that they can taken easily, without the inconvenience of cooking the herbs at home.  Herbal treatments go hand-in-hand with acupuncture sessions and when used together, patients will notice their synergistic effects as treatment effects become retained and they notice improvements in their systems as their body is re-balanced from the inside-out.    


Does insurance cover acupuncture?

Many insurance policies include acupuncture coverage today.  While acupuncture is a covered benefit by many carriers, herbs are not a covered benefit with any insurance policy at this time.  If you’d like for us to verify your insurance benefits, please contact us with your insurance information and our billing department will be happy to verify your coverage for you. 

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

Most people barely feel a thing when needles are inserted. Some people feel a slight pinch, and others ask, “Is it in yet?” The reason acupuncture needles don’t cause the painful sensation you might expect is because they’re very, very thin in comparison to the hypodermic needles used to give injections. Hypodermic needles are hollow by necessity so that the shot can be injected. They also have a very blunt point (actually a wedge shape) in comparison to an acupuncture needle.

There are certain sensations associated with the therapeutic effects of acupuncture, which are known as de qi (pronounced “day-chee”). These may include slight cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling or electric sensation traveling along a meridian. If any discomfort is experienced, it is usually mild.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture needles are extremely safe, because they are pre-sterilized, individually packaged, and disposable. Every practitioner gets extensive training in anatomy so as to avoid accidentally inserting a needle in a place that can cause damage.

How does acupuncture work?

In Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works by balancing the body’s vital energy called Qi. Qi can be described as a form of bioenergy (electromagnetic fields) that runs along 12 major meridians. If Qi gets blocked, it shows up as an imbalance or illness. Basically, if you have a health condition, some part of your body’s system is out of whack. Chinese medical theory allows us to diagnose the imbalance… and balance it.

In Western medical theory, acupuncture appears to work by stimulating parts of the brain. It also stimulates the body to release natural biomolecules such as neurotransmitters, vasodilators, and hormones. The exact mechanisms which bring this about are unknown, but the effects are measurable.

What should I expect on my first visit?

During your first office visit, we spend a lot of time getting a complete picture of your health and lifestyle. We examine the condition of your tongue (is it cracked, coated, excessively pink? etc.), and check your pulse on both wrists (the quality of your pulse gives information about possible imbalances). We’ll also ask questions about your emotional state, and any specific symptoms you may have.

This is done because we treat the whole person instead of focusing on the symptoms of your condition. The first visit can last up to an hour and a half, including an acupuncture treatment along with the consultation.  Your subsequent visits will be much faster – usually an hour long. We’ll make a short review of your progress followed by an acupuncture treatment.