A Holistic Approach to Medicine

With my holistic therapy, patients claim to feel relaxed and renewed after each session. I’m trained in psychological techniques, so I tailor your session to work on your specific goals and needs. I love showing my patients how just a few treatments can make an enormous difference to their health.


Acupuncture Physical Medicine (APM) is a modern approach to acupuncture developed over the past twenty-five years. Inspired by French and Japanese meridian styles of acupuncture, and the trigger point teachings of Dr. Janet Travell, APM assessment and treatment takes as its basis a patient's actual experience of illness or distress. Rather than a theoretical textbook diagnosis, APM assessment of a patient focuses on palpation of the body for myofascial constrictions.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the general term for the style of acupuncture which most acupuncturists are trained in and the style which most people practice. There is a broad range of techniques used and treatment protocols. Most recent clinical studies regarding acupuncture usually use treatment techniques and/or protocols based on TCM Theory. According to TCM, the human body exists in a dynamic state of equilibrium between itself and its external environment, and among internal organs and their functions. Disease develops if the body is unable to adapt to changes imposed. Whether an illness arises depends on the strength of the body and its organs.

Japanese Style Acupuncture utilizes a systematic palpatory method designed to provide instant feedback. Using this approach, a Japanese Style practitioner follows a palpation sequence, establishing both a diagnosis and treatment options. The needling methods are shallow and virtually painless, using the smallest gauge needles.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a rich history of using herbs to support treatment. Herb plants produce and contain a variety of chemical substances that act upon the body to treat numerous illnesses and to assist bodily functions.

Herbal medicine is the substantial counterpart to the energetic medicine of acupuncture. Many conditions can greatly benefit from the use of Chinese herbal therapies alone, or with acupuncture. Modern research proves that herbs are powerful medicine and can have safe, healing effects when properly applied by a licensed herbalist.


Cupping is a technique that uses heat and a glass cup. The practitioner temporarily lights a flame inside the glass cup to remove the oxygen from it, quickly removes the flame from the cup and gently places the cup on the surface of the skin, which causes a suction effect. The cups are placed on specific areas of the body (usually the back, shoulders, arms and legs) and can be left in place (stationary) or moved across the skin (gliding). The purpose of cupping is to draw up congestion and stagnation from deeper in the body and release locked tension. This allows qi energy to move freely through the meridians, alleviating pain.


Portland Massage Therapy Experts GuaShaGua Sha uses a porcelain Chinese soup spoon (traditionally), or other curved, smooth-edged object, to gently scrape along the surface of the skin in areas where tension, scar tissue, adhesions or other types of congestion exist in order to remove restrictions of circulatory flow in the area. Contrary to cupping, which creates “reverse-pressure” by suction, Gua Sha clears stagnation and assists qi flow from the top down. This method applies pressure from the surface of the skin to affect deeper layers.


How can these therapies help me?

Cupping and Gua Sha are particularly useful in helping to alleviate and reduce:

  • Chronic pain

  • Respiratory and/or sinus congestion

  • Scar tissue from previous injury or surgery

  • Systemic inflammation

  • Stagnation of fluids (blood and lymph)

  • Acute muscle tension


Does it hurt?

Cupping creates a unique sensation of suction on the surface of the skin that is unlike anything you may have felt before. It may initially feel like a tight, intense, pulling sensation. As the cups remain on the body, this tight sensation usually softens and becomes very enjoyable and relaxing.

Gua Sha (刮痧)

Gua Sha (刮痧)- literally "rub/scrape sand" or "to scrape away fever" is also known as ‘coining’ - due to the common use of coins for this technique in Asia. Gua Sha is the therapeutic use of friction applied with a blunt edged hand tool to the skin, either over muscle tissue, joints or specific acupuncture channel pathways. Cupping and Gua Sha are cutaneous techniques which encourage circulation of blood, lymph and Qi and the removal of metabolic waste in the skin and superficial muscle tissues.


Gua Sha "Clears Wind and Heat" from the surface (skin, superficial connective tissue, & muscle layers) and "Dredges Qi and Blood" in the Channels & Collaterals to treat various painful conditions - especially muscle, tendon, ligament, & connective tissues disorders, sports injuries - and is used to enhance the immune response when fighting colds & flu.


Gua Sha tools may be made of plastic, porcelain, stone (often jade), and even animal horn or bone are traditionally used. Various sizes and shapes accommodate differing needs and anatomies.


Practically, the tool is rubbed or scraped with the addition of a thin layer of oil or balm (we prefer coconut oil for it's scentless and anti-inflammatory properties) on the affected areas or channels. This causes mild extravasation of blood from the peripheral capillaries and may result in sub-cutaneous blemishing (ecchymosis), which, depending on intensity and duration of treatment will fade in minutes to days. The color of sha varies according to the constitution and nature and severity of pathology, appearing from a dark blue-black to purplish to light pink, but is most often a shade of light red.


The sensation of Gua Sha is memorably strong - many also find it feels similar to certain massage techniques - and a treatment leaves one feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.