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At Zócalo Wellness we offer comprehensive care based in East Asian and other traditional medicine. Many things can be addressed with our services, including pain, tension, anxiety, depression, insomnia, menstrual and digestive issues, and more. East Asian medicine is very good at addressing chronic and poorly-understood illnesses like long COVID and complex pain from trauma. For a more detailed overview of the current evidence-based recommendations of what acupuncture treats and the theories on why it works from a biomedical perspective, check out the Evidence Based Acupuncture website

Below is a description of some of the East Asian and other traditional modalities we might use in a session. Check out our blog for ways we offer acupuncture, bodywork and herbal consults to make your care as affordable as possible.

Overview of Chinese and East Asian Medicine

Traditional medicine in China has been developing for millennia as a system of medicine very different from modern biomedicine. It works primarily with the functionality of the body as a complex, dynamic and interrelated ecosystem. Diagnosis is made by using detailed observation, including using the complexion, tongue, and pulse. Since it utilizes diagnostics from a completely different paradigm than conventional allopathic medicine it can treat ailments that are poorly understood or stigmatized in Western medicine.

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Acupuncture is a very old modality in Asia, with historical texts dating its origins back 2,000 years, and archeological data potentially as far back as 4,000 BCE. It involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body that regulate the person’s “Qi.” Loosely translated, Qi is energy and function. The places where the needles are inserted are called points and lie on channels that regulate certain functions in the body. The needles stimulate the points, which regulate the functions. Much like rivers in nature, when these channels are obstructed—due to accidents, foods that don’t agree with your body, or other environmental factors—the rivers become compromised and pain or disease result. Acupuncture restores function to the natural terrain of your body using your own resources.

In order to make services more financially accessible, we offer group acupuncture treatments in addition to private acupuncture sessions. The main difference is that group acupuncture is done in a communal setting and is offered at a lower price point to make it more affordable. Group treatments can be used in conjunction with insurance coverage to give you more visits in a year.



Cupping involves creating a vacuum inside a glass, silicone or plastic “cup” and placing it on the body to draw up the skin and form a suction. These cups are either left stationary on the body or moved around depending on what your body needs.

Cupping has been used widely in many cultures from all over the world as far back as 3,000 BCE. In Chinese medicine it is used to break up stagnation and eliminate the cause of disease, treating a wide variety of problems including muscular tension, injuries, and the common cold. It can be used alone or in conjunction with the other modalities listed on this page.

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In conjunction with acupuncture we use a variety of bodywork techniques to open the channels and release musculoskeletal tension in your body. This may include Tuina (Chinese acupressure massage), myofascial release, craniosacral work, and Mayan abdominal massage. Each of these systems works in slightly different ways, but all gently open and unwind the body and are very effective for the deep release of pain and illness.



The herb mugwort, a kind of artemisia, is used topically and internally in Chinese medicine for many kinds of ailments. When leaves are shredded into a fluffy “wool” and burned near or on the skin it is called moxibustion. It is especially good to warm the body and move stagnation, making it especially useful in addressing conditions of chronic pain and gynecological issues.

Herbs in the artemisia family are known in Asia, Europe and the Americas with strong spiritual properties and as important allies in gynecological ailments.



Food is medicine. With all the fad diets and concern over weight in modern culture, navigating our relationship to food can be difficult and stressful. We never push dietary changes on my clients, but can offer nutritional advice using traditional Chinese dietetics combined with modern food options that work for your life.


Herbal Medicine

Herbs are nature’s pharmacy. Most drugs are derived from a plant, distilled down to a few chemical constituents that are considered to be the active agents. When using a whole-plant approach we primarily consider the energetics as understood within a traditional framework. Herbal medicine in our practice means using formulas or single herbs for a more focused approach (versus using foods) to help your system regain its dynamic balance. We have practitioners who employ both traditional Chinese and Western herbology, as well as flower and gem essences.