Acupuncture for PTS(D)

Written by Sophia Chang, DACM, LAc

Posted on: September 4, 2020

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Acupuncture for PTS(D), image of a man struggling with PTSD and sitting on a bench

Drop the D

First off, there is a significant importance of dropping the D from “PTSD.” By doing so, it reduces the stigma around a person’s experience that would be “a normal reaction to the very serious set of events in their life”[1]. If it’s a normal reaction, it should not be seen as a disorder, because it’s not, especially for our veterans. According to the Army’s top mental-health advocate, General Peter Chiarelli, “the use of D suggests that the ailment is ‘pre-existing,’ when in reality it is a predictable reaction to combat stress” or other stresses induced by being in the military [1]. This name change from PTSD to PTS is crucial to helping more veterans to seek help sooner, especially since less than half the veterans with any diagnosis of a “disorder” receive treatments [2].


What is PTS?

PTS is characterized by “the persistence of intense reactions to reminders of a traumatic event, altered mood, a sense of imminent threat, disturbed sleep and hypervigilance” [3]. In practice, patients have reported constant night terrors and insomnia, persistent anxiety, triggered by things such as a door opening too rapidly or even inability to feel emotions due to the fact that they have numbed themselves in order to “not experience the trauma again.”

Long term use of medications such as SSRIs could cause sexual dysfunction, weight gain and sleep disturbances [4] as compared to the mild “adverse” effects of acupuncture, such as bruising and bleeding [5]. In a study of over 60,000 acupuncture treatment sessions, no serious adverse events were reported [4,6,7].


How Can Acupuncture Help?

According to a research study published by the VA, “veterans with PTS that have been treated with acupuncture report better sleep with fewer bad dreams, improved mental clarity, less anxiety and a reduction in stress” [4]. Another study recently published in April 2019 examined the survivors of a major earthquake in Italy. In that study, nearly 70% of patients reported PTS symptoms. After the third acupuncture treatment, both the physical and mental symptoms from the trauma significantly improved within 60% of the patients with no serious adverse events being reported.




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Immunity Tonics to Strengthen Your Immune System

Written by Sophia Chang, DACM, LAc

Posted on: May 11, 2020

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immunity tonics, image of a mason jar with lemon and honey

Happy May! Hopefully, everyone is doing well and enjoying some of the warmer weather and still staying safe. Yes, we have been open and serving our community through COVID-19 and we are still practicing increased disinfecting and screening protocols, limiting the number of patients and people in the office at one time and closely following the guidelines of the CDC, WHO and local authorities. We kindly ask when you come in for your appointments to wear a mask or face coverings, use provided hand sanitizer or wash your hands upon entering and do not linger in our waiting room so that we can continue to keep everyone safe.

Dr. Chang has gotten a lot of questions about easy things patients can do at home to help with the immunity system and general health. Below are two things, a lemon ginger tea and chicken bone broth. These recipes are courtesy of Dr. Yuan Wang, a long time mentor and friend of Dr. Chang. Enjoy!

Lemon and Ginger Tea


– 1 inch long slice of peeled fresh ginger

– 1 tsp honey (optional)

– 2 slices lemon

Directions: Place ginger and lemon in a mug. Pour in 12oz of hot water and let brew for 5 minutes. If desired, add honey to taste. Drink every morning as an immunity tonic.3

Chicken Bone Broth


– 2lbs bone-in chicken (dark meat is preferred due to the size of the bones)

– 1 white or yellow onion, halved

– 2 carrots cut into large chunks

– 2 inch long piece of peeled fresh ginger

– salt to taste

Directions: Bring 12 cups (or however much fills your favorite pot) of water to a rolling boil. Add all ingredients to the pot and lower heat to simmer. Allow to simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. Strain the broth. If you like, you can add the chicken meat back in. You can also add other fresh vegetables and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Do not eat the vegetables that you made the stock with; their nutrients and vitamins have been boiled into the broth.
Sip the hot broth whenever you’re feeling a chill or to soothe your stomach after dinner. Dr. Chang likes to have a cup for breakfast sometimes to wake up the digestive system and the body.

This recipe can be made in an instant pot in about half the time.

If you enjoy these recipes, Dr. Wang has a book filled with recipes according to Chinese medicine ailments and patterns.


If you would like to schedule an appointment click the button below to get started.

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COVID-19: What to Do About Masks and Proper Use of Gloves

Written by Sophia Chang, DACM, LAc

Posted on: April 15, 2020

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COVID-19: What to Do About Masks and Proper Use of Gloves, image of a woman in a mask

What to Do About Masks

I have been getting several inquiries regarding where to find masks and how to obtain one. Although I wish I could supply all of my dear patients with masks, it has been hard to find them myself. Thankfully, one of our fellow community members, Rosemary, has graciously shared her research on how to sew masks. Thank you, Rosemary!


Rosemary has made these masks herself and they are big so can be worn over an existing mask if needed and they curve for a better fit. Click here to see this link.

Craft Passion:

Several of Rosemary’s friends have made these and say they like the fit, it has various sizes and one friend made an even bigatdger size for her husband by enlarging the pattern with her printer. Click here for this method.

Kaiser Permanente:

This is the pattern endorsed by Kaiser for donations. Easy to make because it’s a rectangular shape, some friends have been batch-sewing these to donate to nurses. There are also links on how to wash your hands and other information. Click here to make them yourself or to donate to nurses.

Hopefully these links are helpful. Remember to wash your masks after use. If any of you have Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and are uploading homemade masks, be sure to follow and tag us so that we can see what our community is doing!


What About Proper Glove Use?

Have you noticed that a lot of people and workers are wearing gloves? This is a great first step. However, what concerns me is the cross-contamination that is occuring with a lot of glove wearers. This video, courtesy of UCLA, is a helpful one to watch and explains what we can do to stay safe.

Personally, I wear one glove on my right hand and I keep my left hand ungloved but in my pocket. This is so that if I have to do things that I want to protect, such as use my phone, pick up things that I will eventually bring into my home or use my credit card at the checkout line, I have a free hand. I’ve found this gives me the most freedom to have one hand gloved and one hand free so that I don’t have to constantly change my gloves in between touching a surface and my personal items.

Watch this video to help understand how to prevent cross contamination:

If you are wearing one glove, use the method as seen in the fold and tuck to safely remove the glove.

Remember though, the important thing to do is to always make sure you NEVER get into your car with the gloves on because then you’ll be driving the germs home. This is called cross contamination, as explained in the video. Also, ALWAYS wash your hands after taking off your gloves. Proper hand washing is still the best way to prevent the spread.

Take care everyone. Remember, we are open and ready to serve you and your loved ones during this time. Always feel free to email us or call 619-220-0878 if you have any questions or concerns.

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How to Start a Healthy Lifestyle With These 5 Steps

Written by Sophia Chang, DACM, LAc

Posted on: February 14, 2018

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How to Start a Healthy Lifestyle With These 5 Steps

Change, transformation, a fresh start—these things and similar desires to want to start something over or start something new doesn’t happen overnight and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It is a big commitment and will take a lot of work but it will be well worth it. Are you ready to take control of your life and commit to a healthy lifestyle? Read on to see how to start a healthy lifestyle with these 5 steps.


1. Change Your Mindset

Aside from your heart, your mind is one of the most important and powerful tools you own. Cultivating a positive mindset is also an important step in how to start a healthy lifestyle. Most of the time we could be our own worst enemy because we create our own misery with our mind and fail to see how our negative thoughts can affect our mood and life. Eddy from Tiny Buddha shares 10 simple ways where we can cultivate a positive mindset, which can help you start a healthy lifestyle or positively enhance your already healthy lifestyle. The top tips from Eddy would include challenging your old negative thoughts, consuming positive media and acknowledging your small successes daily.


2. Set Goals

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~ Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Goal setting helps to keep us motivated and gives us a plan for reaching our goals. Forbes states,“ you can’t manage what you don’t measure and you can’t improve what you don’t manage.” According to Forbes, setting SMART goals will trigger more positive behaviors, help us focus, sustain momentum and ultimately help us succeed.


3. Set Aside Time for Self-love

Webster defines “self-love” as “regards for one’s own happiness.” What does it mean to love self? According to Caroline Kirk, “self-love requires you to be honest about your current choices and thought patterns and undertake new practices that reflect self-worth.” What does that look like to you? Does it mean pampering yourself by receiving acupuncture on a regular basis to lower your stress and increase your health? Does it mean going to the gym regularly? What about giving yourself permission to do whatever you love without worrying about wasting time? Tiny Buddha has provided 20 ways for us to be good to ourselves that go beyond pampering physically and focus also on being present in your own life. Self-love means being able to take care of yourself so that you can better take care of those around you (pets and plants included!).


4. Practice Meditation and Gratitude

Many studies have linked meditation with both physical and mental health benefits. Meditation studies have even linked it to help reduce depression and anxiety and improve overall health and immunity1. In a video by Huffpost, Carolyn talks about how one can train the mind to do the
impossible and optimize the brain in a way that increases happiness and empathy and
changes the structure and function of the brain. Gratitude will change your life, literally and figuratively. According to Psychology Today, giving simple thanks can help to reshape your neural pathway. If practiced regularly, gratitude will help to keep you happier and healthier, lower depression and anxiety, help you sleep better, and increase your optimism2.


5. Stick With It

Most importantly, stick with it! The most important step in how to start a healthy lifestyle is to keep with your steps so that you transform your habits to success. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, talks about how habits are not a destiny but rather a science that we can harness to transform all aspects of our lives. In case you’re still a believer in “it takes 21 days to form a habit,” read this post backed by science to see why that’s not the case.


Ready to take control of your life and commit to a healthy lifestyle or want to enhance the one you already have? Need assistance on where to start or where to go? Call or text Pure Health Alliance 858-529-1899 today so we can be a part of that process by providing you with services such as acupuncture and sound healing.



Let us help you achieve your perfect lifestyle so you can live the fulfilling life you deserve.


1. Gregoire C. How You Can Train Your Mind To Do The Impossible. The Huffington Post. Published August 5, 2013. Accessed February 10, 2018.
2. Korb, Alex. “The Grateful Brain.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 20 Nov. 2012,

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How to Identify Signs of Depression in Men and Women

Written by Sophia Chang, DACM, LAc

Posted on: February 1, 2018

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Signs of Depression in Men and Women, sad face poster

Do you or someone you know experience a loss of interest in work, family or once pleasurable activities or hobbies? Are you tired and irritable or feeling angry and aggressive, sad or worthless often? Do you have trouble sleeping or oversleep? Do you feel tired, sad, anxious, hopeless or “empty”? Have you been feeling like this for weeks or months? If so, you or someone you know may have depression. The following post contains an overview of signs of depression in men and women. It is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a guide for making medical decisions without discussing it with your doctor.


What are some signs of depression in men and women?

Even though more than 5 million men in the U.S. experience depression each year, men tend not to seek help for depression, largely due to the stigma that surrounds the subject1.

It’s normal to feel sad or irritable or have trouble sleeping occasionally. These feelings most likely pass after a couple of days and don’t interfere with daily living. However, when someone has depression, he or she has trouble and interference with daily living and loss of interest in anything for weeks at a time.

Everyone is susceptible to depression, from children all the way to elderly. Both men and women get depression but signs of depression in men, although they could be similar to those in women, can be experienced differently than women. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, men may be more likely to feel irritable and lose interest in their daily lives such as hobbies, work, and family. Some other signs of depression in men that could be different would be that they have more difficulty sleeping than women who have depression2. Women tend to experience depression more commonly than men likely due to biological, hormonal and social factors unique to women, such as postpartum depression, perimenopausal depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder3. This hormone-related depression could cause women to have more drastic changes than men in mood and emotions and may not be “just a mood swing.”

According to Dr. Cook, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, symptoms to diagnose depression are the same regardless of men or women but the chief complaint can be different among men and women. For example, some signs of depression in men that could be chief complaints would be fatigue, stomachache, backache, irritability, stress, anxiety, substance abuse, and sexual dsyfunction3. Often times what happens is men tend to come in with a chief complaint of one of these symptoms and often times the root of the problem to a group of symptoms could be depression and not necessarily digestive upset or stress.


How can acupuncture help with depression? What about anxiety?

Acupuncture has been found to be highly effective for depression, mainly mild to moderate depression. One new study has found that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine has been as effective as antidepressants, while other studies have found that it can help with medication side effects or have a synergistic boost in the effectiveness of the treatment of depression, especially for severe depression where medication is prescribed4,5. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that electroacupuncture, which is acupuncture with a mild painless electric current transmitted through the needles, was just as effective as Prozac4. Most also experience anxiety with depression and according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, managing severe anxiety can be tricky and not provide results for several months due to the fact that most treatment includes therapy and drugs with undesirable side effects6. Dr. Marcellin supported a paper that stated that acupuncture is a way to manage anxiety that works faster than therapy and keeps drugs out of the picture. This is due to the fact that acupuncture affects the part of the brain that regulates emotions, which means that it naturally reduces anxiety faster and more effectively than drugs6. In other words, acupuncture helps you to take back control of your own body, which brings a better quality of life.


I’m ready to take back my life. What are my next steps?

Do you or someone you know compromise your quality of life due to depression or anxiety? Imagine a life without depression or anxiety. Call or email Pure Health Alliance today to schedule your next treatment. We would love to help you take back control of your life and live the thriving life you wish to live.




1. 7 Surprising Signs Of Depression That Prove It's Not All About Sadness. Men's Health. depression-in- men/slide/1. Published
May 19, 2017. Accessed January 30, 2018.

2. Men and Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. and- depression/index.shtml. Accessed January 30, 2018

3. Depression in Women: 5 Things You Should Know. National Institute of Mental Health. women/index.shtml. Accessed January 30, 2018.

4.12 Signs of Depression in Men.,,20521449,00.html#what-depression- looks-like-1. Accessed January 30, 2018.
5. Stern TRV. Can Acupuncture Treat Depression? Scientific American. treat-depression/. Published July 1, 2014. Accessed January 30, 2018.
6. Li J. Acupuncture Alleviates Depression and Anxiety, Boosts Paxil. HealthCMi CEUs. Education-News/1678- acupuncture-alleviates-depression-and-anxiety. Published September 11, 2016. Accessed January 30, 2018.
7. Hohman M. Why Acupuncture Works for Anxiety Relief. works-anxiety- relief/. Published August 21, 2014. Accessed January 30, 2018.


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How Acupuncture for Athletes Helps With Athletic Performance

Written by Sophia Chang, DACM, LAc

Posted on: January 3, 2018

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acupuncture for athletes, working out, lifting

According to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), performance-enhancing drugs (PED) can be extremely dangerous and even deadly in certain situations1. There are ways to train the body naturally and utilize the body to its maximum athletic and performance capacity without the use of dangerous and ethically questionable PEDs. The most commonly practiced and known method is through many hours of training the body, mind and spirit in relation to the sport along with dedication to taking care of the body through nutrition and wellness. However, how would you feel if you could gain a natural competitive advantage? Acupuncture for athletes and fitness enthusiasts could be your solution.

It’s well known that the “burning” sensation many of us feel during the middle of a workout is because working muscles demand oxygen and the lack of oxygen causes muscle fatigue. Acupuncture for athletes has been a scientifically proven method in improving athletic performance, especially in increasing local oxygenation and blood supply to a muscle during and after an acupuncture treatment2. Surely any athlete training would appreciate an extra boost of energy to help increase oxygen and blood flow in order to hit maximal athletic performance naturally.

Acupuncture is widely used by many elite athletes such as Olympians and NFL players. The New York Times featured an article where acupuncture for athletes like NFL Jets players Tony Richardson and Pittsburgh linebacker James Farrior say that acupuncture has a significant role in their athletic performance. Acupuncture is used to help increase blood flow and relax tightened muscles and help the athletes perform at their best.

Inevitably, injuries will happen with being active and fortunately, acupuncture can be an extremely effective solution for dealing with sports injuries. Many injured athletes use acupuncture for sports injuries3 such as ankle sprains, muscle soreness, tendinitis, low back pain and knee pain. Although it is most effective to use acupuncture for athletes with acute injuries, acupuncture for athletes with chronic injuries is also just as effective4,5.

Ready to take the next steps in naturally reaching your maximal athletic potentials? Call Pure Health Alliance at 858-529-1899 to see how we can help you achieve your athletic best.


1.Effects of Performance-Enhancing Drugs | USADA [Internet]. U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). [cited 2017Dec28]. Available from:

2. Ohkubo M, Hamaoka T, Niwayama M, Murase N, Osada T, Kime R, et al. Local increase in trapezius muscle oxygenation during and after acupuncture. Dynamic Medicine. 2009;8(1):2.

3. 5 Ways Acupuncture Can Fix Your Health Problems [Internet]. Men’s Health. 2015 [cited 2018Jan2]. Available from:

4. Starkey LAJ. Pain-Relief Guide: Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine [Internet]. The Dr. Oz Show. The Dr. Oz Show; 2016 [cited 2018Jan2]. Available from:

5. Nahin RL, Boineau R, Khalsa PS, Stussman BJ, Weber WJ. Evidence-Based Evaluation of Complementary Health Approaches for Pain Management in the United States. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2016;91(9):1292–306.

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