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Acupuncture & Traditional Herbs

Acupuncture works through your body's connective tissue, called fascia.

Laguna Beach, CA

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practice that originated thousands of years ago. It is based on the premise that a blockage or disturbance in the flow of the body's life energy, or “qi,” can cause health issues. Acupuncturists insert hair-thin needles to specific acupuncture points throughout the body to restore the flow of qi, balance the body’s energy, stimulate healing, and promote relaxation.

According to TCM theory, there are over 1,000 acupuncture points on the body, each lying on an invisible energy channel, or “meridian.” Each meridian is associated with a different organ system.


Acupuncture is said to be useful in addressing a variety of health conditions, including:

Chronic pain (such as headaches, back pain, neck pain)
Sinus congestion
Stress and anxiety

Tremors (See Dr Rhi's Published Paper on Tremor Treatment)
Weight loss

Dr Rhi also uses acupuncture to promote fertility. It is also used to quit smoking and as a component of the treatment for other addictions.

Cosmetic acupuncture, also known as facial acupuncture, is used to improve the appearance of skin.

Check out this article in The Observer with Dr Rhi


If needles give you the heebie-jeebies, they probably aren't the first things that come to mind as the antidote for your chronic knee or back pain. But even the most poke-averse person may find relief from the teeny needles that are an acupuncturist's tool.

(Trust me on this one. I once passed out getting a shot, but have no trouble with acupuncture.)

Dr. Rhiannon Hutton, a chiropractor and acupuncturist, says she treats patients for migraines, anxiety and depression, infertility, kidney disease and all types of other pain and nerve problems.

Here's how acupuncture works, according to Hutton: A tiny needle is inserted at special points that follow "meridians" or special pathways of connective tissue. The tissue actually changes shape at the needle site, producing a sensation sometimes described as tingly, warm or heavy.

"When this happens, pain signals are interrupted, inflammation is modulated and circulation is improved. This activates and speeds up the body's own self-healing process," says Hutton.

Hutton says that besides addressing specific pain, acupuncture treats your entire body by increasing energy, lowering stress and inflammation and restoring balance in your nervous system. Hutton has practiced in 32 countries and says her goal is to help as many people as she can feel better and achieve total body wellness.

Weight Loss

Acupuncture can help with weight loss by regulating neuroendocrine function, improving the metabolism, optimizing digestion, reducing inflammation, suppressing the appetite, lessening water retention and optimizing other bodily functions that are related to obesity and weight loss.

Reduces Appetite
Leptin and ghrelin are the hunger hormones in the body; ghrelin tells the body that it is hungry, while leptin tells the body that it is full. Acupuncture can modulate the levels of these hormones to reduce appetite and curb overeating and snacking habits. [2] [3]

Improves Digestion
Using points along with the stomach and kidney channel systems, it is possible to improve the function of the digestive system, which can increase the number of nutrients absorbed by the body. By improving digestion and gut health, one can address symptoms such as constipation and bloating, as well as other gastrointestinal issues that lead to weight gain.

Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation in the gut, muscles and other tissues of the body can slow down the metabolism which can strain the immune, cardiovascular, and digestive systems. By modulating inflammation and regulating the immune response of the body, acupuncture for weight loss can reduce oxidative stress and optimize weight loss. [4]

A measuring tape beneath three needles with a white background
Acupuncture for weight loss Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Reduces Fluid Retention
By stimulating the endocrine system, acupuncture is able to help reduce fluid retention in the body. [5]

Hormone Production
When hormone levels are out of balance, many body systems can be negatively impacted, from digestion and cognition to healing and immune function. Acupuncture, along with Chinese herbs, is highly effective in balancing hormone levels, particularly for perimenopausal women who have experienced abdominal weight gain. [6]

Boosts Metabolism
Acupuncture is able to stimulate the thyroid and pituitary glands, which are key players in relation to metabolism. By stimulating these endocrine glands, acupuncture can increase baseline metabolism to improve fat-burning, making exercise and daily activities more effective, resulting in more calories burned and potential weight loss. [7]

Improves Mood
Acupuncture is able to induce the release of endorphins in the body, which are feel-good hormones that can reduce stress and anxiety. Many people overeat when they have high levels of stress hormones or are feeling overwhelmed. Acupuncture can help to eliminate those urges. [8]

Benefits of Acupuncture for Weight Loss
One of the best reasons to use acupuncture for weight loss is that it is able to provide long-lasting relief without the need for crash diets, invasive surgery, dietary medications, or excessive exercise. It requires a small amount of energy, a moderate amount of time, and a willingness to trust in traditional medicine. Acupuncture helps to align the body with your weight-loss goals, namely through its effects on metabolism, inflammation, and hormones, but it doesn’t replace the need to eat properly and exercise regularly. [9]

Sensitive Points for Acupuncture

When it comes to acupuncture for weight loss, there are a number of key areas on the body that should be focused on. The areas related to digestion and food intake are particularly important, such as the spleen, stomach, and kidney channel systems as well as auricular (ear) points related to the mouth and thus appetite. Acupuncture aimed at stimulating the neuroendocrine system to ensure proper Qi flow in the body can help improve appetite and metabolic rate.

Auricular Therapy

In recent years, a number of studies have revealed auricular therapy (acupuncture performed on the ears) for weight loss as most effective. The ear is considered a homunculus, or tiny map of the body, and has been used since the Stone Age across the globe to address a myriad of health concerns.

For weight loss, there are two main approaches – a single needle for appetite control or a five-needle technique for more comprehensive effects on the body.

1-Needle Therapy – The simpler of the two popular ear therapies, this single-needle therapy is intended to quell your hunger. By applying a needle at the area that controls hunger and appetite, aka the “mouth” point you can help to reduce cravings, which can help eliminate between-meal snacking and aid weight loss. This single area is near the bottom of the tragus, the hard cartilaginous area of our inner ear that is closest to our facial skin.
5-Needle Therapy – This approach is more comprehensive than the single needle for hunger. This approach treats your ear like a microcosm of the entire body and requires the insertion of needles at key nerves on the ear that affect hunger, endocrine function, the spleen, stomach, and shenmen (reduces stress and boosts energy).
Required Diet

As with any weight-loss strategy, a single change in lifestyle or behavior is not likely to deliver desired results. Even though acupuncture can effectively alter your metabolic rate, immune function,  and hormone levels related to weight loss, it is recommended that one should complement such treatment with proper diet and regular exercise. A few acupuncture sessions each week doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want, nor does it mean that you should stop going to the gym or being physically active 4-5 times per week.

The best diet for weight loss consists of eating simple whole foods, that are easy to digest, nutrient dense, and not overly processed or high in sugar. Ideally, one would eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains, while reducing the number of dairy products, refined sugar, saturated fat, and soy-based foods.

Pain Relief

Sunlighten infrared sauna owners love to tell us about the pain relief properties of their sauna sessions. You too can toss the pain pills and step into one of our healing infrared sanctuaries to relieve tension and relax muscles. Sunlighten infrared sauna heat works by penetrating joints, muscles and tissues, increasing circulation and speeding oxygen flow. By reducing soreness on nerve endings, our infrared heat reduces muscle spasms and helps the body heal itself naturally.

For years, doctors have recommended Sunlighten saunas because of proven relief from sports injury, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis and other chronic pain conditions.

A 2013 study conducted at the Auburn University at Montgomery compared stretching in a Sunlighten mPulse 3-in-1 sauna compared to a typical training room environment. Participants completed a series of hamstring stretches in random order with 48 hours separating the sessions. Results showed that acute flexibility increased up to 3x in the mPulse sauna than without! Benefits to the increased range of motion include joint mobility, less friction in the joints, enabling of joint function to diminish stiffness and joint relaxation.

A recent Japanese study published in the journal, Internal Medicine, showed that chronic pain patients experienced a significant reduction in pain levels (nearly 70%) after the first session of infrared sauna therapy. Pain scores also decreased significantly and remained low throughout the observation period. Researchers concluded that infrared heat therapy is effective for chronic pain treatment.


Dr. Mark Hyman, New York Times bestselling author and editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed medical journal Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, owns a Sunlighten sauna and says, “Sunlighten saunas improve circulation, help with weight loss, balance blood sugar and improve detoxification.”

“If you analyze the peer reviewed data, full spectrum infrared sauna therapy would be a multibillion drug if it came in a pill. The ability to heal endothelium and improve symptoms and prognosis for congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease is remarkable. Sunlighten saunas are the only infrared saunas clinically shown to lower blood pressure and reduce belly fat, both contributing factors to a healthy heart.” Dr. Joel Kahn, America’s healthy heart doctor.

Natural Anti-Aging

1) Stress Reduction

We all are exposed to stressful situations in our lives. When the stress is extreme, or if it lasts a long time, our physical health begins to suffer. Some common stress related illnesses are: irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, stroke, migraine, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases.

Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation effectively treats stress to reverse aging by unblocking stuck energy and allowing it to flow properly throughout the body. As our tension is relieved, so are our symptoms. Acupuncture releases stress reducing, natural pain killing chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.


2) Improve sleep

Ruminating thoughts, hormonal imbalances, anxiety, depression, and overstimulation are a few of the reasons why we can have trouble sleeping at night. One of the immediate gifts of acupuncture is its ability to calm the mind, lift the spirit, reset our body clock and allow us to get our restorative “beauty sleep” — all elements that help reverse aging.

3) Younger Looking Skin

Celebrities such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Angelina Jolie and Julianne Moore have used Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation as a way to reverse aging and maintain and improve their appearances. Cosmetic Acupuncture represents natural method to promote youthfulness and enhance natural beauty and can take 5-10 years off the look of your skin.

Acupuncture facial rejuvenation requires no downtime and is safe and painless. As you age, the 57 muscles in your face gradually lose their tone causing the sagging, deep wrinkling and tired look associated with aging. Acupuncture stimulates the muscle function, and the face lifts itself; returning the face to a healthier, revitalized, and youthful appearance.

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture for Rosacea

4) Better sex

Acupuncture can bring back the spark in your sex life too! The needles can help to allow for a smoother flow of energy and blood to the genital area, thereby increasing pleasure and desire. Additionally, acupuncture can balance your hormones back to a more youthful state, increasing estrogen and testosterone levels. This can result in a reduction in prostate enlargement, less vaginal dryness and many other benefits.

5) Reduce Pain

On a physical level acupuncture reduces pain by improving blood flow and releasing pain-relieving endorphins and serotonin. Pain that is chronic can be mentally and physically exhausting. Our emotions can wear us down, and cause us to be weak and unable to heal. It is impossible to effectively treat chronic conditions without addressing a person’s state of mind. Acupuncture addresses the negative emotions (such as anger, and fear), thereby decreasing stress hormones, which cause pain.

Facial Gua Sha CEU Classes
facial gua sha
6) Stronger immune system

Acupuncture can help to naturally boost your immune system. Scientists have been able to determine that acupuncture enhances the production of natural killer cells, which is the primary defense mechanism against organisms that make us sick. It also regulates white blood cells directly linked to the fight against infections, allergic reactions, and even autoimmune disorders. Regular acupuncture treatments are a great preventative measure to ward off colds and flu.

7) More energy & vitality

Although the immediate effect of acupuncture treatment is very relaxing, the long-term effects are more energy, and vitality. The reason for this has to do with a concept in traditional Chinese medicine called Jing, the energy of the Kidneys. It is the power that keeps us going. How much Jing you have determines your energy levels, how you will age and how healthy you will be. If your kidney energy is deficient it can lead to premature aging, dried up wrinkled skin, and dark circles. Additionally it can affect your head hair and bones, so osteoporosis and premature greying are signs of kidney imbalances.

Acupuncture…anti-aging medicine for over 5,000 years.

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