Acupuncture is part of Clinic’s comprehensive care

October 10, 2023

At Venice Family Clinic, we are proud to be a nonprofit community health center that offers high quality, comprehensive health care, ensuring that patients – no matter their ability to pay – get the care they need.

For some patients, this comprehensive care includes acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves placing needles in specific and strategic locations on the body to stimulate the body’s natural energy flow. Acupuncture can help alleviate issues such as pain, insomnia, anxiety and stress.

Provided by a team of master’s and doctoral degree students from Yo San University and Emperor’s College, acupuncture can complement the Western medicine practiced by the Clinic.

“Offering acupuncture to our patients to treat their pain and other issues is an example of the Clinic’s commitment to providing comprehensive care at the community level,” said Lisa Cederblom, FNP-C, clinical lead for Venice Family Clinic’s Integrative Medicine program. “Some of our patients experience coexisting conditions that compound their discomfort, and having acupuncture as a treatment option is a huge benefit to them.”

Seeing results

Acupuncture can offer relief after one or two visits, usually for acute issues. For chronic conditions, several visits may be needed to see improvement. Under the supervision of a licensed practitioner, acupuncture students may also recommend treatment plans to enhance acupuncture sessions, including diet changes, sleep pattern adjustments or mindfulness practices.

“The patients we see at Venice Family Clinic want to get better. They follow our treatment plans, which is a significant part of why they do get better. In some cases, we’ve seen drastic improvements in patients’ health,” said Dr. Shannon Lawrence, a volunteer clinician from Yo San University who oversees students performing their externships at Venice Family Clinic.

One patient who has benefited from acupuncture has several health issues, including pain in her knees and hip and breathing problems stemming from long COVID. Her primary care clinician suggested she try acupuncture in part because she has problems with her liver, which can be damaged by pain-relieving medications.

“When I first started getting acupuncture, I couldn’t walk because of arthritis. I was also very, very sick [with long COVID],” the patient said. “But when I get acupuncture, I feel so much better. I have less pain now and can breathe better so I sleep better, too. It’s still hard for me, but now I can walk. Acupuncture helps me a lot.”

Healthy communities

Dr. Lawrence, who has been supervising acupuncture students at Venice Family Clinic for close to two years, said she continues to volunteer at the Clinic because she believes in our goal of creating healthier communities.

“We have to be able to treat everyone in the community. When a community gets sick, the entire city gets sick,” Dr. Lawrence said. “Our students want to help the community and often say how inspiring Venice Family Clinic is and how it reminds them why they do this work in the first place.”

Venice Family Clinic holds a weekly acupuncture clinic at our Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center in Santa Monica. Patients are eligible to receive acupuncture treatment with a referral from their primary care clinician, though there is often a waitlist for the service. Clinical lead Cederblom said that patients often request and benefit from acupuncture, and the Clinic would like to be able to offer the treatment to more patients.