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A Natural Way to Deal with Irregular Menstruation

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A Natural Way to Deal with Irregular Menstruation

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A Natural Way to Deal with Irregular Menstruation

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Acupuncture for Arthritis: Benefits and Treatments

acupuncture for arthritis


Arthritis getting you down? You can try a new solution and consider undergoing acupuncture for arthritis pain relief. It can be a great option for those who want to try a medication-free way to manage pain, or those who are looking for natural complements to their usual treatment regimen.


The Santa Barbara Herb Clinic can help you manage pain and other issues related to arthritis. Arthritis is something of a common disease, though it can also be quite complicated. There are more types of arthritis than one might expect, and the disease can also affect different people in different ways.


What’s common in the different types of arthritis is that they all cause swelling, stiffness, and pain. Acupuncture can help patients manage these symptoms in a natural, medication-free way that has benefits beyond pain relief.



Arthritis: An overview

Arthritis affects 53 million adults, as well as 300,000 children, in the US alone. It is also one of the leading disabilities in the US. Though it is more common in women and the elderly, it can affect people of any age, sex, or race.



Common symptoms

In general, arthritis hits the joints. People with arthritis may experience swelling, stiffness, and pain in their back and neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers, hips, knees, ankles, feet, heels, or toes. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can also get worse as the years pass. Arthritis can also cause permanent changes to the affected joints, including permanent stiffness and swelling, which can cause difficulties in mobility.


Primary physicians are typically the ones to make a diagnosis for arthritis. They make the diagnosis by performing physical examinations as well as blood tests and imaging scans to figure out what specific type of arthritis they’re dealing with.



Types of arthritis

There are over a hundred distinct types of arthritis known today, from Adult-Onset Still’s Disease to Wegener’s Granulomatosis. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which affects about 31 million people in the US. Arthritis is also a symptom in diseases such as gout, lupus, fibromyalgia, Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disease (CPPD), Kawasaki disease, and Lyme disease.


Photo by marniejoyce on BY


Acupuncture for arthritis

It seems that scientific research hasn’t yet come to a consensus about how acupuncture can benefit those with arthritis. Some studies have found that acupuncture can relieve pain due to arthritis to a limited degree, but not enough to recommend acupuncture as treatment for arthritis pain.


However, this doesn’t mean that acupuncture is conclusively not that effective. There is still a dearth of high-quality research into the subject, which means that the information we may have is still incomplete. There are also suggestions that acupuncture may have a placebo effect. Even so, some doctors say, it still means that it can help stop pain signals from reaching the brain.


There seems to be little to no risk if you undergo acupuncture for arthritis as a way to alleviate some of the symptoms of the condition. Thus, it’s definitely worth trying.



How does it work?

Acupuncture has been an important feature of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. According to TCM, an individual’s wellness and health are governed by his or her life force, or qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi flows through 20 meridians in the body, and when this flow is blocked or disrupted, it results in pain, illness, or other problems. Acupuncture seeks to help treat these issues by restoring the proper flow of the individual’s qi.


So how does acupuncture work? Simply put, it involves the insertion of fine needles into your skin. The needles are inserted at specific acupuncture points and are meant to restore the proper balance of qi in the patient’s body. It’s also possible that acupuncture is able to divert pain signals, as well as induce the production of endorphins and other pain-relieving hormones.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, we have Tram Pham as our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist. She has a Master’s in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University and has a wide scope of experience.



Does it hurt?

The needles used in acupuncture are very fine, and it’s rare for them to cause pain. However, you can expect to feel a tingling sensation or a sensation of heaviness in the spots where the needles are inserted. This isn’t a cause for alarm; in fact, it’s taken as a good sign that the acupuncture is taking effect. Undergoing acupuncture for arthritis is actually quite low-risk, but the payoff can be more than worth it.



Is acupuncture right for you?

Before you book an appointment at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you should first consult with your doctor. It’s also best if you have the details of your medical history as well as the medication you take on hand. Acupuncture is tailored to the individual, not the specific condition. This means that our Licensed Acupuncturist will need details of your medical history to be able to tailor a regimen to your needs.


Nearly anyone can undergo acupuncture for arthritis. However, if you have blood disorders or are taking blood thinners, you should avoid acupuncture. Acupuncture is also generally safe to undergo during pregnancy, though there are certain acupuncture points that your Licensed Acupuncturist should avoid. Thus, if you are pregnant, you should definitely make it known to the clinic.


If you are unable to take medication for your arthritis, acupuncture is a good alternative that can help you alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

Dr. Jean Yu founded the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic in 1986. Since then, the clinic has been serving Santa Barbara’s acupuncture and all-natural healing needs. Our Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram, has years of experience in addressing various health issues, not just arthritis.


Get in touch with us to make an appointment and experience acupuncture for arthritis in Santa Barbara. You can call us at 805-563-0222 or email us at If you’re not in the Santa Barbara or Goleta area, that’s not a problem! You can also call us to schedule a video or phone consultation with Tram.




Acupuncture Needles: Why You Shouldn’t be Afraid of Them

acupuncture needles
Photo by Antonika Chanel/


Many people may find acupuncture needles to be somewhat intimidating or maybe even terrifying. After all, for those who are not familiar with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), these kinds of treatments may seem outlandish. However, there is actually nothing to fear from these needles, and you’ll find out why.



What acupuncture needles are for

To understand the function of the needles used in acupuncture, you first need to familiarize yourself with the principles of TCM. According to the principles of TCM, good health results from the balance in the life force that flows through each individual, called qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi flows along markers called meridians. When the flow of qi is disrupted, or is blocked in certain meridians, ill health can occur.


There are a number of ways that a TCM practitioner can help a patient restore the normal flow and balance of their qi. One of these ways is acupuncture, a practice that’s thousands of years old. Acupuncture entails the use of needles, which a practitioner inserts into the acupuncture points related to the patient’s symptoms. The needles are meant to correct the flow of qi by stimulating the right combination of acupuncture points.


Photo via Pixabay


Are the needles safe?

Generally, yes. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) holds acupuncture needles to the same standards that it holds medical equipment like syringes and surgical tools like scalpels.


Acupuncture practitioners should sterilize their needles and use them only once on a single patient. There is very low risk of infection, but you have to make sure that you go to a licensed acupuncturist with a good reputation. There are probably unlicensed acupuncturists that sterilize their needles and use them only once, but you can never really be sure. Licensed acupuncturists, at least, are bound by safety standards. They ensure that their needles are clean and disposed right after use.


It’s important to be discerning about the acupuncturist you choose. Research has found that acupuncture and the needles themselves are generally safe. However, the side effects related to the treatment seem to have something to do with the lack of hygiene and care by the acupuncturist. Even so, side effects are rare, and often occur accidentally or due to careless or unskilled practitioners.


Tram Pham, a Licensed Acupuncturist, owns and operates the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic. You can expect safe and effective treatment in her hands. She has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles, and she also has years of experience that have helped her hone her skills and techniques.


If you’re unsure about acupuncture and would like to learn more about TCM, you can schedule a consultation with Tram and get a feel of acupuncture as a practice. However, before you make an appointment for acupuncture, make sure to consult with your doctor first. You should also bring your medical records to the clinic so Tram can figure out the best way to help you.



What to expect

Your first acupuncture session may yield some surprises, but there are some things that you can expect to happen. The acupuncturist will likely ask you to lie on your back, stomach, or side, depending on which acupuncture points need stimulation. The needles generally don’t hurt or prick like other needles, but you may feel a stinging or tingling sensation when your acupuncturist inserts the needles into your skin. You can have anywhere between 5 to 20 needles in one session.


It’s also possible that you’ll feel some numbness in the insertion sites. You may also feel a sensation of heaviness after the session, but these are normal. Even so, try to communicate the things you feel or experience to your Licensed Acupuncturist. This way, in the off chance that something has gone wrong, your acupuncturist can fix it right then and there.


Once the acupuncturist has inserted the needles into your skin, you can expect them to stay there for 5 to 30 minutes. However, just one session is also usually not enough to address symptoms. You may need to come back for several more sessions until the treatment is over.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

Acupuncture needles are nothing to fear as long as they’re in the right hands. At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, they are. The clinic has been around since 1986. It was founded by Dr. Jean Yu, and grew for many years under the lat Dr. Han’s care. In 2016, ownership passed to Tram, and she has been continuing the clinic’s good work ever since.


You can get in touch with us and book an appointment by calling us at 805-563-0222. You can also email us at Our clinic is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm. For your convenience, you can also have a consultation with Tram over the phone or via video call. Contact us today to learn more about acupuncture by experiencing it yourself!




Acupuncture for Orthopedics: Common Orthopedic Issues Among the Elderly and How Acupuncture Can Help


Aging isn’t a walk in the park, but you can help yourself age more gracefully with acupuncture for orthopedics. When our golden years hit, our bodies just won’t work as well as they used to. Our hearing and eyesight will worsen, our hair will turn gray, and our skin will wrinkle and sag. Aging can also be quite hard on our bones, making it more difficult to move around and go about our business.


Luckily, however, acupuncture can help with orthopedic issues related to aging. While acupuncture will not be able to reverse the aging process, it can help make it so much easier.


acupuncture for orthopedics
Photo by Val Ves/


Common orthopedic issues in aging

There are a number of orthopedic issues that may arise as we grow older. The elderly are more prone to medical conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, as well as issues like fractures and dislocations. In the case of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, acupuncture for orthopedics has been found to be an effective aid in managing and even possibly preventing the two diseases.

Osteoarthritis can hit you in the joints, while osteoporosis weakens your bones and makes them more susceptible to fractures. Both can be manageable, though once they develop, the process can no longer be reversed.




As the most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis is known to affect millions of people across the globe. It is common among the elderly, especially among women. Risk factors such as genetics, obesity, injuries in the joints, bone deformities, and having an occupation that puts stress on particular joints can all make you more susceptible to developing osteoarthritis.


You may have osteoarthritis is you have pain and stiffness in any joint. The joint may also feel tender and inflexible, giving off a grating feeling when try to flex or bend the joint.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, which means it can get worse as time passes. Unmanaged osteoarthritis can cause pain and stiffness in the joints, eventually preventing people with the disease from working or accomplishing many daily activities.



Osteoporosis is quite different from osteoarthritis. Where osteoarthritis affects the joints, osteoporosis affects the bones themselves. Another difference is that osteoporosis doesn’t have telling symptoms; people with osteoporosis may only discover the disease when their bones experience a fracture.


This is a disease that causes bones to weaken and lose density, thus making them more susceptible to fractures and breaks. A doctor can take x-rays of your bones and measure their density to figure out if you do indeed have osteoporosis.


As in the case of osteoarthritis, women are more prone to developing osteoporosis. However, there are also other risk factors. Genetics, a history of fractures during the adult years, a history of rheumatoid arthritis, and a family history of osteoporosis are all risk factors. Things like smoking, high alcohol consumption, a low birth weight, a sedentary lifestyle, and a lack of calcium and vitamin D can all increase the risk of osteoporosis as well.


acupuncture for the elderly
In what ways can the elderly benefit from acupuncture? Photo by Lukas Budimaier/


Acupuncture for orthopedics

For many people, acupuncture may not be at the top of the list when it comes to remedies for the symptoms of various illnesses. This may be because people don’t know much about acupuncture, or they haven’t heard about it much. They may also feel intimidated by the use of multiple needles, or maybe the procedure and the principles it’s based on are just too unfamiliar.


However, acupuncture isn’t difficult to understand, and it’s also generally painless. Acupuncture needles don’t prick the way that other needles do, since they’re very fine and aren’t meant to pierce through veins. At worst, you may have some bruising around the areas in which needles are inserted, but acupuncture is generally low-risk if you go to a licensed and skilled practitioner.



Acupuncture in a nutshell

Acupuncture is an integral component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which views health and healthcare differently from Western medicine. According to the principles of TCM,  our physical emotional and mental health is governed by an energy source called qi (pronounced “chee”).


Qi should flow through the body along markers called meridians. However, when this flow is disrupted or gets bunched up around certain meridians, it can result in symptoms of ill health.


TCM practitioners use a variety of techniques to restore the normal flow of qi, and these techniques include acupuncture. Acupuncture entails the use of needles, which the practitioner inserts at acupuncture points relevant to the symptoms of the patient. These needles simulate the acupuncture points and induce qi to return to its healthy flow.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you can learn more about how acupuncture works from Tram Pham, the clinic’s owner and resident Licensed Acupuncturist. Tram has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles. She also has years of experience patients using the principles of TCM.



How acupuncture can help

Scientific research has shown that acupuncture for orthopedics can be quite effective, and can help manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Studies have shown that acupuncture can help reduce pain in the joints, thus helping patients become more mobile. Acupuncture can also have advantages over nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and other pain medications. Acupuncture is all-natural and low-risk, while NSAIDS and other types of medications can have a plethora of side effects.


In the case of osteoporosis, studies have also found that acupuncture and herbal medicine can make drug therapy for pain relief more effective. A combination of calcium carbonate, vitamin D, and Calcitonin-Salmon was 80% effective in managing pain. However, a combination of electroacupuncture, herbal medicine, vitamin D, and Calcitonin-Salmon was 92.5% effective.


Acupuncture for orthopedics can be an alternative treatment, but it can also work quite well with Western medicine. Make sure to consult with your physician first before you book an appointment for an acupuncture session.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

The Santa Barbara Herb Clinic has been providing the city of Santa Barbara with all-natural and holistic healthcare since 1986. With us, you can be sure that acupuncture for orthopedics is safe and effective.


You can book an appointment with us by calling us at 805-563-0222 or emailing us at You can also have a consultation with Tram over the phone or via video call. The clinic is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm. Contact us now and start your path to natural and low-risk pain management.





Acupuncture for Joint Pain: Benefits, Information, and More


Undergoing acupuncture for joint pain can be a good alternative for those who are for any reason unable or unwilling to take pain medication. However, acupuncture isn’t just an alternative. It also works very well as a complement to Western medicine, as long as you consult with your physician first before booking an appointment with the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic.


acupuncture for joint pain
Photo by Ant Rozetsky/


Our joints are particularly important part of our body. They allow for different types of movement, such as bending, walking, and kneeling. While joints are essential to efficient movement, they can also be where various types of pain can occur. Joint pain can impede movement and thus make even the simplest daily tasks more difficult. This means that finding ways to help treat joint pain is essential.



The nature of joint pain

Joint pain is actually quite common, and many of us experience it at least at one point in our lives. Usually, injury and arthritis are the causes of joint pain, though there are other possible causes as well. As we age, pain in the joints can become more and more common, especially for those who develop osteoarthritis.



Common causes

We put our joints through quite a lot. For one thing, we use them every day — basically every time that we move. When we walk, reach up to a shelf, type on our phones, grab our keys, we use our joints. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of things that can cause our joints pain, other than injury or arthritis.


Things like inflammation, the overuse or over-exertion of a joint, or cartilage damage behind the kneecaps can cause joint pain as well. Inflammation in particular can result from an injury that has healed, but has suddenly become painful again.


Injuries such as fractures or torn ligaments can cause bleeding in the joint, especially if the injury is to the knee. If the joint begins to swell, feel warm, and develops stiffness soon after the injury occurs, you may be experiencing something called haemarthrosis. It’s important to keep in mind that if one of your joints begin to swell too much, you have to see your doctor and get it checked out.


There are also certain viral infections that can lead to joint pain. Viral hepatitis and rubella are both infections that can cause joint pain as well as fever. While viral infections necessitate the use of medication, you can undergo acupuncture for joint pain itself.



Pain relief

When you’re experiencing pain in the joints, you can take pain relieving medication such as NSAIDS, which can also help reduce swelling. Rest is also vital, though it’s also important to have the appropriate amount of exercise. Stretching, massages, and even warm baths can be helpful to painful and swollen joints as well.


Remember that acupuncture can also be a viable option that can work well with other types of pain management techniques. As a bonus, acupuncture for joint pain also has other benefits aside from pain relief.



Acupuncture for joint pain

Photo via Pixabay


Acupuncture has been around for millennia, though it’s only recently that science has turned its lens to the centuries-old practice. There is still a lot more to explore about the scientific workings of acupuncture, though it has been practiced for a long time to help treat a variety of symptoms.


The human body has over 2,000 acupuncture points, all connected to the body’s life energy (called qi). The stimulation of these acupuncture points with the use of acupuncture needles can redirect the qi and help alleviate pain. Other than that, it can also help stimulate the production of endorphins, which can help relieve pain the natural way.



Acupuncture basics

Acupuncture entails the insertion of fine needles into your skin at the acupuncture points where your qi may be out of sync. After you speak to the acupuncturist about your symptoms, he or she will be able to identify the acupuncture points that need simulation.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you’ll be treated by our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram Pham. Tram has years of experience under her belt, as well as a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University. She’ll be able to evaluate your symptoms and come up with an effective plan for you.


The difference between traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine is that TCM bases treatments on the individuals themselves, not the particular ailment they have. When you make an appointment with us, you’ll be in good hands.




Acupuncture is definitely worth a try, especially in cases such as pain relief. It’s basically something that can help you relieve pain without the need for medications that can be addictive and can have harmful side effects. Of course, like most other treatments, acupuncture has possible side effects as well. However, the most serious of acupuncture’s side effects are very rare. Other side effects, however, may include headaches, slight dizziness, fatigue, and “emotional release.” Usually, the side effects should only last for about two days.

At least, however, your reactions to acupuncture will likely be immediate, and will occur with your acupuncturist in the room with you. Thus, you will likely be taken care of right away, and the side effects will likely be dealt with right then and there.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

In 2016, Tram took over the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, some time after the untimely and tragic death of Dr. Henry Han. Dr. Han bought the clinic in 1991 from its founder, Dr. Jean Yu, who opened the clinic in 1986. Tram is continuing the clinic’s 30-year tradition of providing Santa Barbara with acupuncture services and more. The can provide acupuncture for joint pain as well as for other issues.


Call us at 805-563-0222 or email us at to make an appointment. You can come in any time on Mondays to Fridays, between 9am to 5:30pm. Proximity is also not a problem when it comes to consultations, since Tram can do them over the phone or over video calls. Make an appointment today and get on the road to all-natural holistic health.





Acupuncture for Menstrual Cramps: Causes, Symptoms, and Acupuncture Benefits


Acupuncture for menstrual cramps may be a new and effective way to help women with menstrual troubles. Unfortunately, a majority of women experience menstrual pain and discomfort. However, there aren’t many long-term treatments with low risk of side effects. However, acupuncture may be helpful in providing relief from menstrual pain and other related symptoms.


menstrual cramps
Photo by Pablo Guerrero


An overview of menstrual cramps

A whopping 9 out of 10 women experience pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, and other symptoms during menstruation. Many women have normalized experiencing dysmenorrhea and discomfort during their periods, basically treating it as something that is as much a fact of life as having periods. However, painful menstruation, period cramps, and other forms of discomfort don’t have to be something that you just have to power through.


You can always deal with monthly period cramps by taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or one of the various forms of birth control. However, you also have the option of undergoing acupuncture for menstrual cramps, which has been proven to be effective in helping ease the dysmenorrhea and other symptoms.



Menstrual cramps and pain can range from mild to severe, and usually occurs in the lower abdomen and lower back. It can last for two to four days, though if the pain lasts longer and becomes extreme, you should seek medical attention right away.


Pain in the lower abdomen and lower back isn’t the only symptom that you may experience during menstruation. Other symptoms such as constipation, loose bowels, bloating, dizziness, nausea, a general feeling of discomfort, and headaches are also common. Normally, these symptoms won’t lead to complications, but they can make things inconvenient and can disrupt your school, work, or personal life.



Menstrual pain is common largely because of the mechanism that enables menstruation to happen. During menstruation, the contraction of uterine muscles enables the expulsion of blood and excess uterine lining. When this happens, it involves a hormone-like substance called prostaglandins, which are associated with pain.


However, there are also other conditions that may cause dysmenorrhea. Endometriosis, uterine fibroids, cervical stenosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and adenomyosis can also lead to menstrual cramps.


Other than these conditions, there are risk factors that can make it more likely for you to experience dysmenorrhea. If you smoke, get stressed a lot, have a family history of dysmenorrhea, have a heavy period, or have an irregular menstrual cycle, you’re at a higher risk of menstrual cramps.


When to see your doctor

Menstrual cramps can be a normal thing for many women — a natural consequence of a natural process. However, when menstrual cramps become severe or extreme, they can be indicative of an underlying medical condition that will likely need further treatment and medical attention.


It’s normal for women who began having their periods at an age younger than 11 to experience dysmenorrhea. However, if you’re over the age of 25 and you only just started having menstrual cramps, you may need to see your doctor to see if there’s anything wrong. Also, if your cramps have begun to get progressively worse, you should undergo medical examination.


If your dysmenorrhea isn’t caused by an underlying symptom, it tends to lessen in severity as you age. It’s also likely to get better once you have given birth.



Acupuncture for menstrual cramps

acupuncture for menstrual cramps
Let acupuncture help release you from discomfort during your period. Photo by David Hofmann/


While it may seem like NSAIDs and contraceptives are the only effective ways to deal with menstrual pain, there are actually other changes you can make to make your periods somewhat easier to endure. There are certain lifestyle changes you can make, like quitting smoking or eating healthier. However, acupuncture is also an effective way to make menstrual cramps a thing of the past.


The basics of acupuncture

Acupuncture is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It works on the premise that each individual has a life or energy flow called qi (pronounced “chee”). When the flow of qi is disrupted, or is concentrated in certain areas of the body, it can result in various kinds of illnesses.


Qi flows through points in the body called meridians. To restore the natural flow of qi, acupuncturists insert fine needles into acupuncture points known to be related to the specific symptoms the patient is experiencing.


While having needles inserted into your skin can be intimidating, you actually have very little to fear from acupuncture. When side effects occur, most of them are due to careless or untrained acupuncturists.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you can rest assured that we take utmost care in treating our patients. We use only single-use, sterilized needles. Our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram Pham, has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University and has years of experience in TCM. With us, you’ll be in good hands.


How acupuncture can help

Researchers have found that acupuncture for menstrual cramps can be effective at providing relief that can last for a period of 12 months. Multiple acupuncture sessions may be necessary, but this is something that you can discuss with your licensed acupuncturist. There is evidence that the more sessions you undergo, the more significant the improvements will be.


Thus, acupuncture can be a new form of treatment that can help women relieve menstrual pain. Researchers have also found that women have normalized menstrual pain perhaps too much. Women actually consider even severe or abnormal symptoms to be something they shouldn’t worry about. Even so, going to your doctor and to the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic for a consultation may be worth the trouble.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

The Santa Barbara Herb Clinic has been providing the Santa Barbara and Goleta areas with holistic and all-natural health care since 1986. Our Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram, took over the clinic in 2016. While she has extensive experience in treating various kinds of ailments, she also specializes in women’s health. Thus, you can trust her to be skilled in providing you with acupuncture for menstrual cramps and other symptoms.


You can call us at 805-563-0222 or email us at to make an appointment or schedule a consultation with Tram. Tram can also conduct consultations over the phone or via video call. Contact us now and begin your journey to holistic health.




Acupuncture for Back and Neck Pain: An Uncommon Treatment for a Common Ailment


Have you ever considered acupuncture for back and neck pain? It may not be one of the more common pain treatments, but acupuncture does have a lot to offer. If you’re a little intimidated by the prospect, or you want to learn more about how acupuncture can help you with neck and back pain, read on to find answers to your questions.


back and neck pain
Photo by Chris Slupski/


Back and neck pain: What you should know

Literal pains in the neck can be just as bothersome as the metaphorical ones. Some causes of back and neck pain can be obvious, but some can surprise you. The sensation of pain also isn’t the only thing that you can expect to feel, as there are other sensations that may accompany it.



The usual causes

It can be difficult to determine the cause of back and neck pain, even with the technology available to us now. It also doesn’t help that there is a plethora of possible causes. This kind of pain can result from things like overuse, lifting heavy loads, and improper posture while sitting down for long periods. Arthritis can also affect your back and neck, aside from other joints.


Injury, muscle tension, sprains and strains, and a pinched nerve can also be the source of pain in the area. The effects of a poor lifestyle, such as obesity, can also put a strain on the back and neck. Smoking, while not as obvious as the other causes, can also lead to pain.




Aside from pain, there are also other symptoms that may arise from back and neck pain. If the pain is in your back, you may also experience some tingling or numbness in your leg. You may also feel shooting pains go from your back all the way down the back of your thighs, calves, and even toes.


As for neck pain, you may also experience headaches, numbing or tingling in your arm, and shoulder pain.


However, there is also the possibility that the symptoms won’t simply stop there. If your life is significantly affected by pain, or if that pain is accompanied by other symptoms, please consult with your doctor before seeking out alternative and complementary treatments like acupuncture.



Acupuncture for back and neck pain

There are a number of ways to treat back and neck pain, including the use of hot or cold packs, exercising, stretching, medications, and braces. While these solutions can be effective, you can also consider undergoing acupuncture. After all, acupuncture doesn’t just just relieve pain. It can also help you improve your health from the inside out.


The Santa Barbara Herb Clinic can provide you with acupuncture as well as other services. Our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram Pham, has been running the clinic since 2016. She also has years of experience in the long-standing practice of acupuncture and herbal medicine, and has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University.


acupuncture for back and neck pain
Find all-natural pain relief in acupuncture. Photo by Jon Flobrant/


How acupuncture works

Acupuncture is quickly becoming more and more recognized in the US for its abilities to help treat a variety of ailments. However, it’s been practiced in for thousands of years in China, where it originated. The rest of the world is catching up, though perhaps just a tad late to the party.


So how does it work? Basically, an acupuncturist inserts fine needles into the patient’s skin. However, these needles have to be situated in acupuncture points for them to be effective. Licensed and experienced acupuncturists will be able to have the skills necessary to pick out the correct acupuncture points based on the patient’s individual needs.



Massage vs acupuncture

When it comes to back and neck pain, we can’t say that acupuncture is the only option. But is it the best option? There are other things you can do to relieve back and neck pain, and most of them don’t include needles. A common way to deal with body pain is massage, which can also be quite effective. The question is, which is one is better? Acupuncture or massage?


This, actually, is probably an unfair comparison. Both can be effective in relieving back and neck pain. Research on which one is more effective than the other has mixed results, and it may be safe to say that both options can be equally viable. Those who have a fear of needles, or have health conditions that may make undergoing acupuncture impossible, can experience pain relief through massage.



The acupuncture points for back and neck pain

Tram practices the balance method of acupuncture, also known as distal healing. She learned it from its creator, Richard Tan, during the last years of his teaching. Distal acupuncture never involves putting needles where the pain is. Thus, your acupuncturist will insert needles into the  dorsal aspect of your hand and along your forearm to treat back pain, and in the ankle and wrist to address neck pain.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

The Santa Barbara Herb Clinic has been providing Santa Barbara and nearby areas with holistic health care since 1986. Customers can come to the clinic for acupuncture, herbal medicine, and other treatments that fall under traditional Chinese medicine. Tram, our owner and licensed acupuncturist, has experience in various holistic and age-old therapies that can help with a number of ailments.


If you want to make an appointment with the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you can call us at 805-563-0222 or email us at Tram also offers consultations over the phone or via video call. Contact us now and begin your journey to better health.





Pediatric Pain Disorders: How Acupuncture Can Help


Acupuncture can be an effective alternative treatment to pharmaceutical drugs for a wide range of ailments. This is why parents go for this natural healing method in treating their children. If your child is medication-sensitive, try acupuncture as a treatment for your child as it doesn’t have the side effects of regular medication. Moreover, studies have shown that the adverse effects of acupuncture are mild, and any sensation felt during or after needling are brief.


Parents tend to be okay with the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach of acupuncture to help treat their children’s disorders. However, children need to be primed or convinced that acupuncture can be fine for them. There are also extra gentle treatment protocols that guide children’s acupuncture treatment. At times, all the acupuncturist needs to do is to gently insert the needle in and out, with no need for the needles to stay on the skin for a long time.


pediatric pain
Photo Source: Alexander Dummer, Unsplash


Studies on Acupuncture for Pediatric Pain Management

According to a National Health Statistics report in 2007, there were around 150,000 children in the United States who received acupuncture treatment for cases such as abdominal pain, headaches, migraines, anxiety, and musculoskeletal problems. Another related treatment, which is acupressure, doesn’t involve needles, is often used to help children undergoing cancer treatment.


A study by Dr. Yuan-Chi Lin from the Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital found that children who received acupuncture reported relief from a variety of illnesses such as headaches, back pain, stomach ache, and other chronic complaints. The children experienced less pain after getting acupuncture compared to their condition before the treatment. The children also reported improved sleep, increased school attendance, and more participation in extracurricular activities with the help of acupuncture therapy.


An earlier study at the Children’s Hospital also found that 70% of patients experienced pain relief from acupuncture. The conditions that were treated included endometriosis, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and migraines.


Learn more about how acupuncture can help your child.



Acupuncture Treatment Method For Pediatric Pain Management

Acupuncture for children varies with age. If a child is under 6 years old, the treatment would just be around 10 – 15 minutes. For ages 6 to 12, it would be 15 – 20 minutes. For 12 to 16 years old, the treatment would span around 30 minutes.


Tram Pham, our licensed acupuncturist, would usually ask children to point out where the pain is, and what is the current pain level on a scale of 1 to 10. As Tram puts the needles in, she will ask the child to mobilize the area to help bring back the energy there. She then re-checks their pain level to see if it has moved to any secondary locations. The treatment continues up until the pain level has at least decreased to 50%.


Tram may also prescribe herbal remedies to treat pediatric pain disorders. This can be a tea which they can drink after meals. She can also recommend one of the many topical pain relievers available in our in-house herbal pharmacy. Children and adults find that our affordable and easy to use plasters and oils are of great help in relieving pain.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Is Acupuncture Safe for Children?

An article published by the journal Pediatrics presented peer-reviewed studies confirming that most adverse effects of acupuncture are mild. Dr. Sunita Vohra, director of the CARE Program for Integrative Health and Healing at the University of Alberta, stated that pediatric acupuncture is safe under trained hands.


During an acupuncture session, a practitioner will insert needles into different points on the body. This creates a stimulating or calming effect that can reduce certain symptoms. It can also encourage the release of endorphins in the body, which is why there’s a relieving or relaxing effect after the treatment.


If children are afraid of needles, they can undergo acupressure. Acupressure doesn’t involve needles and only involves applying pressure on certain acupuncture points in the body. The procedure can also be taught by a licensed acupuncturist to children, or administered by parents in cases where there’s a lot of anxiety around needles. Acupressure therapies, when done correctly, can provide relief from certain symptoms.



Does an Acupuncture Treatment Hurt?

Acupuncture treatments are relatively pain-free. The most that children will experience after an acupuncture treatment is a dull ache or slight tingling feeling around the base of the inserted needle. There are instances that a child may cry during the treatment, but the sensation will go away quickly. Your acupuncturist may give a little massage after taking out the needles to lessen the numbing.



Take the Next Step By Consulting with a Licensed Acupuncturist

Acupuncture is a natural, safe and effective treatment for pediatric pain as well as a variety of ailments. It tackles the root cause of your child’s health concerns and holistically heals the body. Book an appointment now by calling 805-563-0222 to get a consultation and treatment which are specific to your child’s health needs. Our licensed acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner, Tram Pham L.Ac, also conducts phone and video consultations. We also ship herbal prescriptions from our in-house pharmacy to wherever you are in the world.





Acupuncture For Kids | Children’s Health Team – Cleveland Clinic,


Is Acupuncture Safe For Kids? Catherine Pearson –


The Benefits Of Acupuncture For Children | PCOM –




Acupuncture for Muscle Strain and Other Injuries

acupuncture for muscle strain
Photo by Hanna Postova/


Muscle strain is a common occurrence. It’s almost an accepted reality with athletes. It can also result from everyday activities, like lifting heavy objects or simply sitting on an office chair for hours on end. As such, most people think that they should just endure mild to moderate pain. If the pain becomes too great, some people also think that simply popping painkillers will erase the problem. However, acupuncture for muscle pain may be a more viable option.


But the latter only deals with the symptom, it does nothing for the root cause of the condition. For example, pain killers don’t directly address the internal tear or the overstretched fibers within the muscle. Thus, the inflammation which painkillers or other first aid methods like RICE alleviated can return. If a person persists on using that body part despite the injury, it could only worsen the condition and may result in chronic strain.



Muscle strain: can acupuncture help?

Pain management and relief is one of the top reasons why more and more people worldwide seek out acupuncture. In China, however, traditional healing modalities have been an integral part of medical practices for several millennia already. It’s what martial arts practitioners have been employing for the aches and injuries they accumulate from their respective disciplines. Acupuncture has also been known to help improve their body’s movements and thus can enhance their performance. Acupuncture for muscle strain, meanwhile, can help with more specific issues.


Traditional Chinese medicine and, in particular, acupuncture’s momentum couldn’t have lasted to this day and age if it didn’t deliver a measure of the results that people hope for, and those who want more tangible evidence would find no shortage of research conducted on the efficacy of acupuncture, not just for managing pain but also for a whole range of physical, mental, and emotional concerns.



A brief on using acupuncture for muscle strain

How exactly can acupuncture for muscle strain help you? Generally speaking, the licensed acupuncturist would first need to perform a thorough consultation and examination in order to pinpoint the nature and location of the injury. Tram Pham, L.Ac., the clinic’s owner and lead acupuncturist, performs acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic. She practices the distal healing system known as the Balance Method, which she learned directly from its pioneer, Master Richard Tan, during the last years of his life. This distinct acupuncture system is then what the acupuncturist would employ, along with a seamless blend of other traditional healing modalities, to commence treatment.


Acupuncture can help you restore balance in your body. Photo by Patrick Hendry/


The Balance Method involves inserting ultra-fine needles in acupuncture points that seemingly have nothing to do with the injured site. For instance, if the injury is on the right elbow, the Balance Method practitioner would stimulate the distal points of that injury. This often means that the needles could be inserted anywhere on the left side of the body.


This can indeed appear counterintuitive to the layperson. However, distal healing puts a heavier emphasis on holistic healing. The more common acupuncture technique of inserting needles in or around the actual injury isn’t as important. This is largely because the Balance Method of distal healing seeks to treat not just the specific injury. It also seeks to treat other possible issues within the body.



How acupuncture works

What happens next may be familiar to most. Stimulating acupuncture points would activate the flow of “Qi” throughout the body’s meridians or energy pathways. Qi blockages may be the root of muscle strain and other things that cause injuries. Practitioners open up these blockages in order to restore proper energy flow and return balance throughout the body. Having this happen can result in the promotion of the body’s own self-healing mechanisms. Other than this, acupuncture can also directly improve the patient’s mental and emotional states.


That last benefit might just prove invaluable for professional athletes who have suffered critical injuries that may require surgery. Acupuncture for muscle strain can greatly aid in the rehabilitation process by speeding up recovery and giving a much-needed boost to the athlete’s morale. Fortunately, the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic has vast experience in this issue. Our lead acupuncture practitioner has treated many athletes, both on the local and the international stage.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


About acupuncture in Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

People seeking relief from pain might find the prospect of having multiple needles pricking their skin more than a little daunting. This type of pain might be nothing for athletes who accept pain as a regular part of their regimen. However, it’s a different story for children and perhaps the elderly as well. Acupuncture treatments here in Santa Barbara Herb Clinic use premium Japanese acupuncture needles which are sharper and thinner—patients would feel them a lot less than they would regular needles, and their use comes at no extra cost.


The clinic also offers other traditional Chinese therapies, including fire or dry cupping, moxibustion, and tui na or acupressure. You can experience all these along with acupuncture for muscle strain, the clinic also operates an Herbal Pharmacy which stocks a wide range of powders, pills, teas, and therapeutic herbs. Herbal remedies are highly recommended for recovering patients and athletes as well, and the clinic offers the options of receiving your prescribed herbs through mail and of consultation via phone or video calls for those living outside the Santa Barbara and Goleta areas.





Acupuncture for Managing Pain and Treating Sports Injuries

acupuncture for sports injuries
Photo by Braden Collum/


Most types of sports involve strenuous physical activities on the pitch, ring, court, track, and even water. As such, injuries can happen anytime, whether during a competition or while training. It’s also not limited to professional athletes. People who run regularly or lift weights as part of their regimen can also develop chronic pain or suffer an activity-related accident. Even with great care, repeated movements using specific parts of the body could still result in problems. These can include strain, sprain, inflammation, and at times outright injuries. While an athlete battling through pain might still be able to perform well, it comes at the cost of aggravating the condition.


Often enough, the pain could become simply too great to be endured, and it’s imperative that professional and amateur athletes alike take time off from exertion until they recover. For such driven and competitive individuals, that can be yet another blow altogether—this time to the mind and spirit—because taking too much time off could mean sacrificing some of the strength and skills they’ve already earned through sheer persistence.



How acupuncture can help with sports injuries

In sporting circles, managing pain and treating sports injuries using acupuncture has become increasingly popular over the decades, but the practice has actually been around for centuries already. Acupuncture is what martial arts practitioners have been employing not only to reduce pain and to facilitate a faster recovery but also to help improve their performance. Modern-day professional sports clubs, and even national teams, have warmed up to the idea of drug-less pain management through traditional Chinese healing modalities, many of whom have an acupuncturist as an integral part of their staff.


There are instances wherein the exact nature of their sporting injury isn’t clear to the patient; they only know that they’re in pain. After a thorough consultation, the acupuncturist would make a diagnosis and proceed to stimulate oxygen flow through the body by inserting ultra-thin Japanese acupuncture needles into specific distal points. Santa Barbara Herb Clinic and its lead practitioner Ms. Tram Pham, L.Ac. specializes in the acupuncture system known as the “Balance Method” which was pioneered and taught by Dr. Richard Tan.


Distal points refer to areas which are seemingly unrelated to the points of pain or injury, with heavy emphasis on “seemingly.” These points are all interconnected through the body’s pathways. Distal healing through the Balance Method focuses on achieving results by correcting the balance of a person’s body. It also improves blood circulation which could lead to reduced inflammation and a faster recovery.


Learn about how acupuncture can help relieve pain in the joints.



acupuncture for sports injuries
Photo by Mitchell Hollander/


Promoting mental and physical harmony

Aside from helping promote quicker healing of sports injuries, acupuncture can also have a direct effect on an athlete’s mentality. Acupuncture can induce the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating mood, sleep, and pain. Thus, acupuncture could simultaneously relieve possible side effects of a given injury, including insomnia and emotional disturbances. It also releases endorphins and other chemicals that are the body’s natural pain killers. Unlike taking medications for managing pain and treating injuries, athletes won’t have to risk an increased tolerance and other adverse side effects from this traditional treatment.


Managing pain from sports injuries using acupuncture can prove especially beneficial, and the Balance Method can be more so. Often, it’s possible that a particular body part is responsible for the chronic pain in another body part. Leg injuries in a runner, for example, can trace its origin to an ineffective posture or the misuse of the hips. Acupuncture can thus not only target the injured areas. It can also stabilize the functions of different body parts and harmonize the body as a whole to enable it to perform to its fullest potential.


sports injuries


About acupuncture in Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

Tram Pham, L.Ac. is one of Master Richard Tan’s last students. She has taken over the practice and ownership of the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic from the late Dr. Henry Han. She has performed acupuncture on many professional athletes, including some of the most prominent ones on the international stage. She combines a highly effective and fast-acting system of acupuncture techniques with a range of other traditional Chinese therapies, including fire cupping, also known as dry cupping, and tui na, which is more commonly referred to as acupressure.


The clinic’s Herbal Pharmacy also offers a substantial range of medicinal herbs, powders, teas, and pills. These offer holistic wellness while also helping to target specific types of pain and ailments. You can experience the clinic’s exceptional services even if you live outside Santa Barbara. Set an appointment and you can consult with us through a phone or video call. We can even mail prescribed herbal remedies to your door.






How Acupuncture Can Help with Migraines and Headaches


Around 12% of the world’s population suffer from migraines. Many more experience frequent headaches that range from mild to severe. There are various factors, symptoms, and indications that differentiate headaches from migraines. Migraines typically occur at least five times in a given month and last for hours or for days. They can also involve a “trigger,” which sufferers can recognize and feel on localized parts of the head. Headaches, meanwhile, have a frequency and intensity that can be just as terrible as or sometimes even worse than migraines. There is usually no perceivable pattern to when they occur or why.


Photo by Joanna Nix/


How acupuncture could help relieve migraines and headaches

The medical community hasn’t yet arrived at a consensus on what truly causes frequent headaches and migraine attacks. Its opinion is divided as well on whether or not sufferers should seek alternative treatments like traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, which might better serve their situations. On the other hand, there are organizations made up of people dealing with migraine on a monthly basis who advocate acupuncture. The Migraine Trust and the American Migraine Foundation in particular recommend that members and non-members alike should try acupuncture for their migraines and headaches. These treatments can be an alternative or complement to conventional treatments.


Research results back this up. There had been many clinical trials conducted over the years on whether acupuncture for migraines and headaches could be made an option for sufferers. Several researchers conducted a systematic review of these separate studies. What they found was that making acupuncture an integral part of treatment could significantly reduce the attacks’ frequency per month. As a bonus, there are also fewer side effects, and acupuncture’s overall impact is at least as effective as conventional medications.



The mechanics of acupuncture

It is thought that stimulating the body’s immune and circulatory systems could help root out the main cause of migraines and headaches. Acupuncture can help the body find the source of the pain and could eventually enable it to release natural painkillers. There’s a theory that one of the reasons people suffer chronic pain is that it is unable to perform that painkilling function properly, perhaps because of blocked signals in the brain and body’s pathways.


traditional Chinese medicine
How can acupuncture help restore the balance in your body? Photo via PxHere


You can choose to subscribe to the “meridians” and “energy” concept of acupuncture popularized in the West. You can also subscribe to the more medical Ancient Chinese understanding that these energy pathways are actually the blood vessels, and that this energy is the chemicals being transported through the blood. Whichever one you believe, it doesn’t affect the bottom line. Stimulating specific and individually relevant points along these pathways could have major effects on the human body as a whole.


Pain is the brain’s signal that something is wrong somewhere in your body. While it may manifest as headaches or migraines, the root cause could be another thing altogether. Because of this, holistic healing through acupuncture can prove crucial. It can reduce the pain felt during an attack as well as shorten its duration. It can also address the possible underlying issue that causes these attacks.


Learn about how acupuncture can help treat other common types of body pains.



About Acupuncture in Santa Barbara Herb Clinic



Tram Pham, L.Ac. is the lead acupuncture practitioner and the owner of the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, formerly run by Dr. Henry Han. She is a proponent of the distal healing technique known as the Balance Method, which she learned from its pioneer and Master Dr. Richard Tan during the last years of his life. In order to help patients achieve their optimal health, she combines this highly effective acupuncture system with other traditional Chinese medicine modalities (such us moxibustion, tui na or acupressure, and fire cupping), as well as with herbal remedies, which are readily available in the clinic’s Herbal Pharmacy.


The clinic also offers long-distance consultations through telephone or video calls. Whether you’re in Santa Barbara or Goleta area or farther away, you can benefit from the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic’s range of herbs, teas, powders, pills and more. We can mail all of these straight to your doorstep.