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Acupuncture Blog

Acupuncture in Lafayette

I’ve made a couple of significant changes to my practice of acupuncture in Lafayette that I’d like to tell you about:

  1. Additional location in Lafayette: I’ve opened another acupuncture office in Lafayette on Wednesday mornings from 9am-2pm at Radiance Family Wellness! It is just a couple of blocks further South from my other office on Dewing Ave.

  2. Closing San Ramon: As of the end of June, I will no longer be a part of PIFM and will be closing down the San Ramon branch of my practice. I’ve found it to be just too far away for logistical reasons, and have therefore decided to increase my hours in Lafayette.

Radiance Family Wellness is a relatively new integrative health center in Lafayette, located on the Southeast corner of Dewing Ave and Brook St. In addition to Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, there are practitioners that do Osteopathic Medicine, Yoga and Mindfulness classes, Ayurvedic Medicine, & Talk-Therapy.

This will be my new weekly schedule starting July of 2019 for acupuncture in Lafayette:
Mondays 1pm-8pm: Lamorinda Healing Arts (961 Dewing Ave)
Wednesdays 9am-2pm: Radiance Family Wellness (914 Dewing Ave)
Fridays 12pm-8pm: Lamorinda Healing Arts (961 Dewing Ave)

My Lafayette acupuncture practice continues to grow and evolve as I continue to study and incorporate new learning and modalities. I feel blessed to be able to do the work that I love, and I look forward to doing this work with you with you with my new expanded hours doing acupuncture in Lafayette. Click here for more info.

As a gentle reminder, here is a brief overview of how Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine helps people heal:

Three Levels of Healing in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine:

  1. Addressing current symptoms, such as pain, that negatively affect quality of life;
  2. Bringing the body back into balance to optimize and harmonize physiological function; and
  3. Maintaining balance with regular ‘tune-ups’, with the frequency depending on the number of stress or ‘balance-disruptors’ – this could be weekly, monthly, seasonally, or annually.
Acupuncture in Lafayette: Radiance Health Waiting Area
Radiance Health Waiting Area

Stages of Care in Acupuncture

Stages of Care in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

I’m often asked how often one needs acupuncture. Here is a short synopsis:

Stage 1: Acute Care
This stage focuses primarily on treating the chief complaint, i.e. the pain or illness that affects quality of life. During this stage, treatment is usually 1-2 times per week, and I usually recommend a series of 4-6 treatments to start.

Stage 2: Helping the Body Rediscover Balance
In Oriental Medicine, health complaints result from a life out of balance. Because it is holistic in nature, we can diagnose these imbalances and provide a treatment plan that addresses them. During this stage, treatment is usually every 1-2 weeks, and there is often an accompanying herbal formula.

Stage 3: Maintenance of Balance
While ideally we strive for a life that creates its own balance, the reality is that the stresses of modern living have a way of challenging us, and it’s often helpful to schedule regular ‘tune-ups’. These can range anywhere from once per month, change of seasons, or year – ultimately this is an individual decision. For myself, I get acupuncture once per week and find it invaluable.

As we enter into the Fall, it’s worthwhile to consider doing a whole body tune-up strengthen our immune system and better prepare ourselves to absorb the bountiful yin energy of coolness, contemplation, and consolidation that comes with Winter.

I hope this post helps you to understand the stages of care in acupuncture. If you have questions, please call, text, or email.

Lafayette Acupuncture Video

Check out yours truly talking about Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine!

To read the full text of the video, click on the button below.

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Lafayette Acupuncture:
Experienced Acupuncturist & Herbal Medicine
for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord,
Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton,
Contra Costa & Alameda Counties,
and the Greater East Bay Area.

Do suction cup marks indicate a Stephen Curry injury?

For those of us enjoying the Golden Sate Warriors’ amazing 2015-2016 season, Stephen Curry in action is a sight to behold. Not only is he a phenomenal shooter, but his looseness, quickness, self-confidence, and basketball acuity, creativity, and grace as he moves up and down the court also make him a fan favorite. He’s the second strongest player on the Warriors team, able to deadlift 400 pounds (181kg). And he has suction cup marks on his shoulder!

A lifetime of training and practice created his amazing body and skill set. What you may not know is that he takes care of himself by using medical modalities that have been practiced and developed over thousands of years. Believe it or not, Stephan Curry gets suction cup therapy!

San Ramon Suction cups Lafayette

Suction cups are a traditional therapy for many cultures, dating back to the classical medicines of Greece, Persia, and China. From a traditional Chinese perspective, suction draws stagnation out of the body and improves the circulation of qi (energy) and blood.

Here in the United States, suction cups are a primary modality with licensed acupuncturists and increasingly with physical therapists. They function as a type of reverse deep-tissue bodywork, where the skin, muscle, and fascia are pulled outward in addition to being pushed inward. As with acupuncture, micro-trauma caused by suction spurs a cascade of healing reactions that also affect and heal injured tissue.

Fascia are sleeves made of collagen protein that attach, separate, stabilize and enclose muscles and internal organs. When impacted by trauma, fascia can develop adhesions that hinder the function and mobility of muscles. Suction cups, acupuncture, and other forms of bodywork can break up these adhesions and promote healing. The pulling effect of the suction cups resets the relationship between fascia and the muscles and skin to which they attach, returning function to a healthy state.

Suction Cup Steph Curry
Suction Cup in Action

Based on my experience, my guess is that Stephen Curry has a rotary cuff issue with his left shoulder—which was injured during his horrible fall while playing against the Memphis Grizzlies—and that he is getting treated in part with suction cups. While he is right handed, an injury to his left shoulder could still affect his shooting, and may help explain why he has not been shooting as well this series.

According to Licensed Acupuncturist John Kokko, the Warriors officially hired two acupuncturists who are on the road with the team right now. If suction is strong enough or if there is a lot of stagnant superficial blood, the force can cause the kind of bruising seen on Steph Curry’s left shoulder. These are superficial bruises, similar in nature to hickeys, and take a week or so to resolve. With repeated treatment, incidences of bruising lessen as stagnant blood is drawn out and put back into circulation.

Given that Stephen Curry played relatively well in Game 1 of the NBA Finals when he had suction cup bruises, and not so well in Games 2-3 when suction cup marks were not observed, he and the Warriors may do better getting more suction cups!

Steph Curry Suction Cup Bruises
Steph Curry Suction Cup Bruises

UPDATE: Go Warriors—NBA Champs! Steph Curry continued to improve in games 4-6, which supports the thesis that he was playing injured and got better as his body healed. While the media hasn’t followed this line of thinking yet, this type of information tends to come out in the week following the finals. It was in the team’s interest to keep this information secret in order to maintain the Cleveland Cavaliers’ focused on Curry instead of other talented team members, including Andre Iguodala—the series MVP.

Lafayette Acupuncture Acupuncture:
Experienced Acupuncturist & Herbal Medicine
for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord,
Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton,
Contra Costa & Alameda Counties,
and the Greater East Bay Area.

Eastward Ho! – Acupuncture in San Ramon

Acupuncture San Ramon Acupuncture
Benjamin Dierauf, LAc, San Ramon Acupuncturist

I am pleased to announce that my acupuncture practice in the East Bay is expanding. In addition to providing services in Lafayette, I will soon open a practice in San Ramon, where I am teaming up with an MD and two nutritionists to create a center for integrative and functional medicine.

The expansion is happening in two stages. Beginning in February, I will practice Thursdays at La Spa Petite, 2551 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Suite 221. If you would like to book an acupuncture appointment with me at this location, please call, email, or schedule online.

Dr. Nathalie Berra-Miller, the MD with whom I am now collaborating, is also practicing Functional Medicine at La Spa Petite until our new space for acupuncture in San Ramon is ready in early March. I will see clients there on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (more info to come), while maintaining my acupuncture hours in Lafayette on Mondays, Fridays, and every other Saturday.

If you know people in the San Ramon area (or Lafayette) who could benefit from acupuncture, please tell them about us.

With many thanks,


Benjamin Dierauf, LAc
Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Click here to Schedule Online

(925) 297-4785

Pacific Integrative & Functional Medicine: Acupuncture San Ramon
210 Porter Dr. Suite #230, San Ramon CA 94583

Lamorinda Healing Arts
961 Dewing Ave.
Lafayette CA 94549

Acupuncture and herbs for:
Pains & Aches, Stress Reduction, Insomnia,
Fatigue, Digestive Issues, Chronic Illness, 
Allergies, Men’s and Women’s Health


Acupuncture in Lafayette / Acupuncture in San Ramon:

Experienced Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord,
Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton,
Contra Costa & Alameda Counties,
and the Greater East Bay Area.

Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis - Acupuncture Lafayette
Regions of Plantar Fasciitis

By Benjamin Dierauf, LAc

I’ve recently had a string of patients seeking acupuncture for plantar fasciitis, a debilitating foot pain that is usually at its worst upon waking in the morning.

At its root is inflammation of the fascia—a sheath that surrounds muscles on the bottom of the feet—usually caused by recent trauma to the feet. Even something as commonplace as switching to a new pair of shoes or orthotics can initiate the condition.

Conventional Western medicine doesn’t have much to offer this condition. Anti-inflammatory drugs can provide temporary relief, but they do not address the underlying issue. The same goes for the next level of intervention, steroid shots. While I don’t have a problem with the occasional anti-inflammatory for treating acute pain, these drugs have their drawbacks when taken long term. Steroids can weaken the body’s immune system and ability to heal. With plantar fasciitis, risks of corticosteroid injections include ruptured plantar fascia, skin infections, nerve or muscle injury, and atrophy of the plantar fat pad.

Aspirin can damage the stomach lining and lead to internal bleeding and other complications if taken over a long period of time. At higher doses, Tylenol becomes a liver toxin, and is the leading cause of liver failure in the Western world. While recent studies show that sustained use of ibuprofen can lead to higher rates of kidney cancer, the larger risk with ibuprofen is stomach and intestinal bleeding and perforation.

Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM), however, provides a unique lens for diagnosing plantar fasciitis and choosing the treatment that will reduce inflammation and support the healthy repair of the plantar fascia.

In addition to reducing inflammation, increasing circulation of qi (roughly translated as energy) and blood, and promoting the repair and growth of healthy fascia, acupuncture for plantar fasciitis also treats the underlying imbalance that invited the condition. These systemic/holistic benefits are effective preventative medicine that promotes health and well being.

For example, one of my patients, George, had an underlying condition of Dampness that blocked his body’s ability to heal his plantar fasciitis. While Dampness usually takes some time to treat with AOM, his condition improved dramatically after just three acupuncture for plantar fasciitis treatments.

Another patient, David, had an underlying Liver & Kidney Yin Deficiency that affected his body’s ability to provide cooling anti-inflammatory support to his plantar fascia. It took six weeks of treatment with acupuncture for plantar fasciitis and Chinese herbs for his condition to improve.

Another interesting treatment for plantar fasciitis that has worked for my patients and myself is to make a ‘sock’ out of aluminum foil, wrap it around the foot with a seam down the middle so that it can be taken on and off easily, and sleep with it on for 3-7 nights. It also helps to have a light sock under the foil and sleep with the foot outside of the covers. The aluminum foil helps to reduce the inflammation in the foot.

If you know someone with a case of plantar fasciitis that isn’t getting better on its own or with conventional medical treatment, please refer them to a licensed acupuncturist who can assess and treat them effectively.

Lafayette Acupuncture Acupuncture:

Experienced Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord,
Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton,
Contra Costa & Alameda Counties,
and the Greater East Bay Area.

Treating Warts with Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM)

Periungual wart treated with Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine.
Periungual Wart

While most of us know that Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AOM) effectively treats conditions such as neck pain, lower back pain, and migraines, it is actually a highly evolved and fairly complete system of medicine that applies to a wider than imagined range of symptoms.

By addressing underlying imbalances that allow conditions to persist, AOM—usually a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs—helps the body regain balance and heal itself. Besides resolving the ailments mentioned, AOM can also remedy skin conditions as a stand-alone treatment or in tandem with conventional Western medicine.

Meet “K”

K, a new client, recently arrived in my office with a large periungual wart on her finger. Half of it was under her fingernail. Tricky.

For more than two years, she had suffered through a variety of Western treatments. A daily application of apple cider vinegar achieved nothing. Neither did a dermatologist’s regular scraping of the wart with a specialized razor blade. Having it frozen with liquid nitrogen proved fruitless. Taking DPCP (diphenylcyclopropenone) and SADBE (squaric acid dibutyl ester) compromised her immune system and triggered horrible rashes over her entire body. K also endured four excruciating Laser Genesis sessions. As a result of these treatments, she developed several infections/abscesses. Most of them required oral and topical antibiotics, one of which entered her lymph, sending her to the ER.

Otherwise fairly healthy—though a little energy deficient and stressed from raising three young children and working part-time—K also had neck and shoulder pain from carrying kids for seven years.

Using Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine to treat her wart

I knew that it might take a while for my treatments to work. K agreed to a course of herbs and 12 acupuncture sessions.

Acupuncture would regulate her immune system—referred to in Oriental medicine as her ‘defensive qi’—and improve her blood and energy circulation. To help K nourish her blood and regulate her liver, I prescribed herbs to take internally. Because I also attended to her neck and shoulder pain, K’s health insurance covered the acupuncture treatments.

Half of K’s wart was under the fingernail, so I hit the books and developed a custom herbal formula for direct application. I went to Chinatown in Oakland to buy raw herbs. When I ground up my mixture of them and added cider vinegar, there was an exciting explosion of bubbles. Although my formula smelled and looked potent, alas, after three weeks the wart had not changed.

We switched gears and applied a single herb, Ya Dan Zi or Fructus Brucea. Usually prescribed for malaria or dysentery, it is considered toxic and should not be used internally unless under the care of a licensed acupuncturist.

Twice daily, K ground a single seed of Ya Dan Zi, mixed it with a drop of water, placed it on her wart, and covered it with a bandage. After doing this for a week, she reported a clear discharge and pain where the wart was. We switched from mixing the herb with water to mixing it with antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.

Amazing results

The next week, K’s wart was significantly smaller. A month later, it was gone.

K is ecstatic. Even though the type of wart she had typically disappears on its own after three years, she believes that Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine really made the difference for her. Her insurance company must be delighted, too. It paid over $10,000 for ineffective “solutions” and their side effects before the problem was solved by treating warts with Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine.

Lafayette Acupuncture Acupuncture:
Experienced Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord,
Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton,
Contra Costa & Alameda Counties,
and the Greater East Bay Area.

Acupuncture vs Back Surgery?

Lower Spine MRI

By Benjamin Dierauf, LAc

Here’s an interesting story about something that recently happened at my Lafayette acupuncture office. I had a new patient with excruciating low back pain and sciatica radiating all the way down to her toes.

She was scheduled for back surgery in a couple of days and wanted to get acupuncture to help prepare her body for surgery and recover from it more quickly – something I facilitate often. I am pleased to report that after front and back treatment with acupuncture and suction cups, my patient’s low back pain was reduced by 80%.

This came as a complete surprise to her, and all of the sudden she was faced with the dilemma of what to do about her scheduled surgery. She was a health professional and understood that back surgery requires a surgeon, an operating room and a team of highly specialized personnel, all of whom were scheduled just for her.

She asked me what I thought about acupuncture vs back surgery, and I advised her to wait and see. “You never know how back surgery will work out and it shouldn’t be done unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you’re feeling this much better after one treatment, you’re better off at least waiting on the surgery to see if you continue to feel better.” And I added, “You should talk to your surgeon as well – if they’re good they’ll say the same thing.”

The next day her back still felt better, so she called her surgeon to talk about it. He was a good surgeon and agreed to cancel the surgery. My patient came back for her next round of acupuncture treatment and her pain was reduced by 90%. After four treatments 2x/week, her back pain was completely gone. Six weeks later, it is still gone.

She’s now getting acupuncture once every two weeks and will drop to once per month to get preventative/restorative tune-up acupuncture for her back if all continues to go well. Given that the typical back surgery cost ranges from $50,000 – $150,000+ these days, and considering the risk involved (some of my most difficult cases are patients who have already had back surgery), it’s imperative that patients, in addition to getting at least a couple of second opinions, try a variety of less invasive care for their back pain before they go on to surgery. These may include different types of bodywork such as Feldenkrais, massage, cranial-sacral therapy, chiropractic and most importantly — in my biased opinion — Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine.

Sadly for my patient, her health insurance does not cover acupuncture (although it does cover the $50,000 – $150,000+ cost of surgery), so she will have to pay out of pocket for her acupuncture care. The cost of her Chinese herbs included, if all goes well she will  be paying about $1200/year – a great deal for safe, effective and preventive care (that her insurance really should cover).

I love reporting these kinds of stories and look forward to sharing more of them.

Lafayette Acupuncture Acupuncture:
Experienced Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord,
Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton,
Contra Costa & Alameda Counties,
and the Greater East Bay Area.

A sincere thank-you

Acupuncture Appreciation!
Acupuncture Appreciation!

As summer hits full stride and I begin my second year of acupuncture practice in Lafayette, California, I wish to extend my appreciation to all.

After 10 years in academia, this has been a year of amazing growth for me. I am very impressed by the vibrancy of the Lamorinda community and all that it has to offer. And I’m especially excited by my patients’ commitment to improving their health through Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

What’s new
On August 15th, my rates will increase by $5 per visit:

$85 for a returning acupuncture session
$125 for an initial intake and session

To help offset the impact of this increase for you, I am discounting treatment packages:

6 returning acupuncture sessions for the price of 5 ($425 = $70.83/visit)
12 returning acupuncture sessions for the price of 9 ($765 = $63.75/visit)

Free acupuncture consultations
Your referrals are welcome and appreciated. I offer free 15-minute consultations by phone, Skype or in person.

People outside of the area can take advantage of my personal connections with hundreds of acupuncturists around the country. And if I don’t know anyone in a particular location, chances are I know someone who knows someone.

Why people choose Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Combined, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have the ability to harmonize physiological function. Many patients use it in a preventative manner to keep their bodies tuned up and healthy.

Whether you choose weekly, biweekly, monthly or seasonal sessions, acupuncture is great for smoothing your rough edges and revitalizing your energy. My treatment packages are a cost-effective way to help you integrate acupuncture into your life.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are holistic in nature and work on both the root and branches of what is going on in your body. The branches are the acute symptoms. The root is the underlying constitution that allows the symptoms to develop.

So before you start taking medications or opt for surgery, consider acupuncture and oriental medicine. They should be the primary treatment of choice for many conditions because of their safety and effectiveness.

Moving forward
Again, I sincerely thank you for making the past year one of amazing growth. Here’s to a new year of health and well-being.

Wishing you the best,


Lafayette Acupuncture / San Ramon Acupuncture:

Experienced Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord,
Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton,
Contra Costa & Alameda Counties,
and the Greater East Bay Area.


Acupuncture Points Research: Combining CT Scans with Synchotron Radiation

By Benjamin Dierauf, LAc

While its fairly common knowledge that acupuncture works great for a wide variety of conditions – pain, numbness, stress, and gynecological, immunological, respiratory, and digestive issues, much of the basic science on how it actually works has yet to be discovered. For example, it’s been difficult to identify physiological structures that make an acupuncture point different from other parts of the body. But thanks to the creative use of new technologies, acupuncture points research may be starting to change.

I had just gotten my acupuncture license in the early 1990’s when I shared a house with my buddy Tom, an engineer working on the construction of the Advanced Light Source (ALS) housed in the large domed building near the top of the Berkeley hills at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. While my life was focused on learning and practicing a relatively esoteric medicine thousands of years old, his was focused on the cutting edge of technology. We often tried to merge paradigms and discuss questions like “Hey Ben, when I put my head between the poles of these super powerful magnets I feel kind of dizzy – what’s happening to my qi?

Acupuncture Points Research
Advanced Light Source

The years passed by and the Advanced Light Source (ALS), one of the few large scale pure science projects funded during the Reagan years at a cost of $300 million, went on from being what Tom once described as a “high-tech flashlight”, to become one of the most prodigious producers of scientific papers in the world, and probably produces more PhD’s/square foot than any other building in the world!

What the ALS does is accelerate electrons around a circle by powerful magnets to almost the speed of light. One section of the ring forces the electrons through an undulating series of magnets that make the electrons emit bundles of light and x-rays – but a thousand times more powerful. This is called synchrotron radiation.

Speed forward 20 years, and researchers in China are now using synchrotron radiation in conjunction with CT scans (computerized tomography) to study the anatomy of acupuncture points. CT scans use a series of x-rays to create cross-sectional images of biological tissue. The addition of synchotron radiation creates x-rays with such a high level of brightness, collimation (level of parallel light waves), and polarity, that the resulting 3-dimensional images of biological structures have a level of detail that goes down to the molecular level.

Chinese researchers focused their CT scans on the acupuncture points Stomach 36 and Stomach 37 – found on humans approximately 3 and 6 inches below the patellae and half an inch lateral to the lateral border of the tibia, and found significant differences in tissue from non-acupuncture point regions

At these acupuncture points the CT scans revealed fine, high-density microvascular structures 15-50 micrometers in size with bifurcations that can clearly be seen around thicker blood vessels that were several dozen micrometers in size. Non-acupuncture point regions displayed a few thick blood vessels but none of the fine, high-density vascular structures.  Researchers also noted that the size of an acupuncture point could be determined by the diameter of these micro-vascular structures.

While other research has determined that there are higher densities of nerves and blood vessels in the regions where acupuncture points are present, it had not been scientifically determined if there are unique features specific to acupuncture points. This research, published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, challenges that determination.

Science creates many more questions than it answers, and questions about the physiological purposes of these highly vascular structures and how they might this relate to the practice of acupuncture abound and are yet to be answered. And eventually it may even help answer Tom’s question about what happens when he sticks his head between those high powered magnets.

Related Links:

Lafayette Acupuncture:
Experienced Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
for Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Concord,
Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton,
Contra Costa & Alameda Counties,
and the Greater East Bay Area.