What is Moxibustion, anyway?

by Douglas Eisenstark L.Ac.

Moxa or moxibustion is the placing of burning herbs either on/near the body or on an acupuncture needle.
moxa In China, the practice of acupuncture is know as zhen jiu which translate as acupuncture and moxibustion. This shows the importance of moxa to the entire practice of Acupuncture.
The herb used is primarily Ai Ye.
Patients can use a moxa stick on themselves at home.
It comes now in smokeless or non-smokeless types.
Moxa is used for just about any type of condidtion but is usually used to relieve pain and to tonify the body. 

Qi sinking theory

Qi sinking

Etiology (same as Xu)

Old age, diet, strain or stress
Insufficient anti-pathogenic qi
Symptoms (worse on exertion)

Bearing down sensation in Middle and lower Jiao
Prolapse of anus and uterus
Blurry vision
Dislike of speaking
Qi fails to guide blood normally

T: pale
P: deficient

office of Doug Eisenstark

Douglas Eisenstark L.Ac.

Acupuncture and Herbs

Safe, compassionate care

2001 S. Barrington Ave.

room 118
Los Angeles, CA 90025


      310- 403-7O18

          Safe, compassionate care

Welcome to Santa Monica Acupuncture and West Los Angeles Acupuncture, the website of Douglas Eisenstark. Douglas Eisenstark L.Ac. has had a decades long interest in alternative health, herbology and Chinese Medicine culminating in passing the National licence and the demanding California acupuncture license (L.Ac.) in 1996.

  • Licensed 1996 by Medical Board of California
  • Office currently in West Los Angeles
  • Professor of Chinese Medicine Emperors College
  • Clinic supervisor at Emperors College and Yosan University
  • Los Angeles Free Clinic
  • Venice Family Clinic
  • Turnabout ASAP 
  • Clare Foundation
  • Step up on 2nd – Santa Monica
  • 3 study trips to China (pain manangement, hepatitis, oncology, dermatology)
  • Published: Journal of Chinese Medicine (OCT 2010) Addictions and the 5 Spirits

Douglas joins a tradition of herbs and acupuncture that have been used in Asia for thousands of years. He teaches at local schools and has also undergone advanced clinical training overseas, first in the Chinese Medical University in Shanghai and then twice at the City Traditional Hospital in Beijing. He has had experience working at the Turnabout Acupuncture Center for Addictions, and supervising students at the LA Free Clinic and the Venice Family Clinic. He is a well-respected “go-to-person” about Chinese Herbs and Chronic Hepatitis C and has taught many classes on the subject to other acupuncturists in Los Angeles.

  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive issues and IBS
  • Pain
  • PMS and Menstrual disorders

Douglas believes that as well as an incredible healing modality, acupuncture can be a relaxing experience, smoothing out the jagged edges of modern life. With Douglas, the needling experience is not painful even with the most sensitive patients. The needles he uses are closer in size to the thin guitar string. They enter with a small sensation. Once the needles are in, patients often enter a Theta like state between sleep and dreaming. It is very pleasant.


New office

310- 403-7O18


Doug’s office is now at 2001 S. Barrington, room 118 in West Los Angeles in between Olympic and Santa Monica Blvds.The office is in a beautiful building called “The Garden”. His fees very reasonable for everyone and there are no additional charges for first visits. In general, unless by special arrangement, he will write you a bill that you can send that to your insurance company. Each visit is about an hour long. There is parking on the street around the corner for free. Parking on the street outfront is a one dollar per hour.


Douglas Eisenstark L.Ac.

For many years I had an interest in Chinese Medicine. This interest grew while living for 12 years in New York City’s Chinatown. After years of Taijichuan practice I read that a complete artist in Asian culture must also know the medicine as well. It was then that I resolved to go to school for this and I had my opportunity 25 years ago when I moved to Los Angeles. Since then I’ve made 3 trips to China and met a number of close friends and colleagues in the Chinese Medicine field. I’m now completely enjoying life as a “Chinese Doctor”.

* Graduate ECTOM 1996 – Emperor’s College Masters of Traditional Oriental Medicine
* Clinic Supervisor – Emperor’s College
* Instructor: Point Location, Chemical Dependence and CM, Herbs, Formulas, Case Review
* Turnabout Acupuncture Drug Treatment Program
* Herbalist: Yo-San University
* writer on Traditional Chinese Medicine Caregiver Magazine
* article in the book: The Compassionate Caregiver 2000
* Moderator: The Chinese Herbal Academy
* reviewer & past editor of
* Creator of Acuvideo: Finding the Acupuncture Points DVD with Huabing Wen
* 2 months clinical internship at Hua San and Zhong San Hospitals, Shanghai, China
* One month and 2 week advanced training: 1st Beijing Hospital

Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine PMPH Press 2014

Music for Acupuncture 1-5 available on iTunes and at

Owner of

* MFA: Art Institute of Chicago (film and photography)
* Whitney Museum Program (art)
* University of Kansas
* One person and group shows: film, painting, sculpture, video and photography: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles

about Chinese Medicine

What is Acupuncture, anyway?

by Douglas Eisenstark L.Ac.
“Acupuncture” as we know it in the West encompasses so many modalities it may be more appropriately called Traditional Oriental Medicine. At the heart of it is the concept is that there is Qi (aka: Ki, Chi), a physical “energy force” that exists in every part of the living world.

And what is moxibustion, anyway?
And what can acupuncture treat, anyway?
Fertility and TCM
Hey, what about sex?
Diagnostic notes
When Qi Rebels 
When Qi Sinks
When Qi Stagnates
When Qi ain’t there
5 Element Aspects
Just a few words about Buddhism

The flow of Qi in the channels of humans is familiar to anyone has seen the lines on the body of an acupuncture chart or model.
Most practitioners believe that these Qi meridians exist as a separate system although sometimes in conjunction with the nerve and blood systems. These Channels of energy are named after the body’s organs but do so only to describe a system of how one portion of the body works. For example, the liver in oriental medicine is described not as a physical organ as much as its role in moving Qi throughout the body.

Acupuncture, as we know it in the United States, is actually a mixture of herbology, acupuncture and other healing arts. Your practitioner may or may not use needles, herbs, magnets, crystals or his or her own Qi. Each of these modalities has its own rich tradition and it is not necessary for a practitioner to use all of them.

Acupuncture itself is the placing of very thin stainless steel needles into appropriate points around the body. The needle may go from 1/5 of an inch to 3 inches into the body depending on the treatment and the part of the body. We cannot say that this is always painless but it is certainly less than the hypodermic syringes we are all afraid of. Any pain usually dissipates within a few seconds. In its place may be a distending or slight heat sensation. The needles may go in the abdomen, arms or legs, head or in the ears.

There are two notable recent offshoots of traditional acupuncture. Ear acupuncture says that all the organ functions can be seen in the ear. Even smaller needles are precisely placed in different sections of the ear for treatment. Scalp acupuncture is used extensively in China and elsewhere for the treatment of stroke and other cerebral originating diseases. The needles are inserted horizontally (not into the brain!) and often vibrated to affect the different lobes of the brain.

What can I expect from my practitioner?
Oriental Medicine is the dominant form of medicine for much of the world’s population and has been so for thousands of years. To paraphrase Mark Seem (acupuncturist and writer), each patient seeks treatment on three levels. The first is for aches and pains, the second for systematic problems of the organs and the third for the deeper issues of life and existence. Oriental Medicine can address each of these and your practitioner may choose to treat you in any one, two or all of these levels. To generalize greatly: acupuncture is very good at pain, herbs at system “re-structuring”, while the deeper issues are best dealt with a combination of acupuncture, herbs and a skillful practitioner. Many people may be surprised that Oriental Medicine does indeed have a psychology. It posits that the functioning of the Qi on the organs can influence emotions, moods and personality and vice versa. As David Chan (OMD, L.Ac.) states, “Acupuncture is the hyphen between mind and body”.

How long does it take get better?
In the past practitioners got paid when they kept their patients well, not when they got sick. In general we say that treatment for chronic illness takes one month for every year that one is ill. Oriental Medicine is superior at preventative medicine. Acute diseases should see results in 3 or 4 treatments. In mainland China, patients are routinely given 10 acupuncture treatments and then they are re-assessed. After they have been cured of their original complaints, many people come back periodically for “tune-ups”. For this type of person, Oriental Medicine means a life-long commitment to keeping one’s body and mind in balance. Let it be emphasized that if you have an acute life-threatening situation you should seek the help of Western Medicine. Oriental Medicine is capable of treating many serious diseases but it does have limitations. If your life is on the line take advantage of what Western Medicine has to offer. X-rays, ultra sounds and blood tests have no parallel in Oriental Medicine. If you decide for surgery or radiation therapy continue to see a good Oriental Medicine practitioner. He or she can help to ameriolate side effects and to help re-build your energy. .

What is the modality of your practitioner? 
It used to be that one could only learn Oriental Medicine by being born into a family of practitioners or by sweeping the floors of the master’s clinic. Now Oriental Medicine Schools in the West have allowed many of us to practice who otherwise would not have the chance. Some of the best practitioners in the world are now in the West, spreading the traditions of their home countries. For example, acupuncture has a long history in France through the colonization of Vietnam. In a sense, all of Oriental modalities in the West are regional traditions which now have a chance to intermingle. It is perhaps a conceit that many Western practitioners feel that acupuncture will best thrive and grow outside the constraints and historical bondage of their home countries.

Below are brief descriptions of 4 of the best known ‘schools’ of acupuncture in the United States.

Traditional Chinese Medicine
Many of the schools in the United States follow Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a compilation of many Chinese traditions formed by Mao in 1956. TCM tries to reconcile the two separate branches of acupuncture and herbology in China. Western Medicine has been well entrenched in China since the turn of the century and TCM is very much aware of Western science. Although the TCM system has its limitations, it is a complete system that perhaps has the best chance of interfacing with Western Medicine.

Worsley School and “5 -elements”
This intriguing modality was developed in England. It is almost “homeopathic” in its approach. Patients are interviewed extensively to discover their Causative Factor (CF), the most earliest and deepest mental or physical trauma from which all other diseases spring. Patients do not take herbs and are discouraged from other modalities while undergoing treatment. Emphasis is placed on the patient taking responsibility for their own illnesses. Many Western practitioners on the East Coast were schooled in “5-elements”.

Korean Acupuncture
Probably least known among western patients, Korean acupuncture has a rich tradition. One aspect of it posits that by placing needles in the hand one can treat all of the organs. This is said to be a very powerful treatment modality.

Although there are hundreds of styles of Japanese acupuncture, in the west is best known through the energetic teachings of Keiko Matsimoto. She emphasizes physical touching of the body and in particular the abdomen for diagnosis. The treatment methods often follow the “extraordinary vessels”. Needles are often placed much shallower that in TCM. In Japan herbs can only be prescribed by a M.D. so acupuncturists must rely on intricate and sophisticated needling techniques.

Why is there so little research into Oriental Medicine and acupuncture?
More than anything Oriental Medicine is a clinical science. There are thousands and thousands of books written about Chinese Medicine. There are books about theory, herbology, acupuncture and case studies. Unfortunately for us, these books are written in Chinese and other Asian languages. There are other reasons why Oriental Medicine has yet to be accepted as a (Western) science.

1. In Asia it is considered immoral to withhold a treatment from a patient if it is believed it will help. For that reason there are few “control-group” studies in the 2000 years of Oriental medicine. The control-group is a mainstay of western scientific proof.

2. Oriental diagnosis does not neatly translate into western diagnosis. A disease category such as asthma has a dozen or more causes in Oriental Medicine. “Asthma” could be from Cold Excess, Heat Excess, Heat Deficiency, Excess Above-Deficiency Below, etc… Each of these has a completely different treatment strategy and uses different herb formulas and acupuncture points. The medicine itself demands that the treatment is modified according to each patient. In addition, the acupuncture or herbs change with the progression of the disease or cure.
It would be bad medicine to prescribe the same herbs over a series of treatments when the patients conditions change.

3. The constituents of the herbs are so complex that it will take years to analyze them. Most herb formulas use from 1-20 different herbs. These are used in differing amounts according to the signs and symptoms of the patient at that time. (Formula writing is one of the major signs of the superior Oriental doctor.) A single raw herb used in a formula may contain a dozen or more chemical constituents.

3. The constituents of the herbs are so complex that it will take years to analyze them. Most herb formulas use from 1-20 different herbs. These are used in differing amounts according to the signs and symptoms of the patient at that time. (Formula writing is the real art and science of the superior Oriental doctor.) A single raw herb used in a formula may contain a dozen or more chemical constituents.

Taichi links

Offered here are a number of links.

This Page was created a decade or so ago. Some links may have disappeared. 

Please respect their material by following any copyright restrictions they might have.

These links may be from organizations that are based on the skills, reputation and charisma of an individual or group.

It is’s opinion that there is no “best TaiQi” or “only way” to practice Acupuncture, Taichichuan, Taoism, Buddhism or anything else.

Be wary of those who might offer THE answer to all life’s questions.

Remember, “That which can be defined is not the Tao.”.

A good resource for articles and links:

Link to more links:> – -this one should keep you busy for a few weeks.

about some speculation on the Yin and Yang:

WU style tachi chuan  – For the German reading folks out there.

Some Wikipedia references:
about acupuncture:
about the Taichi
about the exercise:
for practitioners and students:
ITM ONLINE is a great resource for students and practitioners. Here is the page for acupuncture.

Remember the Palm Pilot- historical musings

Palm Pilot

This article is more than a decade old… how things change… how they stay the same.

Reviewed by Douglas Eisenstark, L.Ac.

Rule #1: Never trust an advertisement for a product that says “it will simplify your life”.

We here at the review section of have always had an uneasy relationship with technology. Color TV, electronic car door locks, 10 digit zip codes: are they really necessary? We were very wrong about the personal computer, having thought it a fad that would soon pass over like 8-track tapes.

However, I recently tried a Palm Pilot PDA for a week and then bought one for myself. This little miniature computer has been a great help for me. If you cannot carry it with you everywhere than it would be less so, even useless.

For those of you who don’t know, a PDA (Palm and Visor are the major brand names now) comes with a set of basic programs for organizing calendar events, telephone numbers and memos. Plug it into your computer at night and any new information is stored. All PDA’s share a common Operating System or file system so there are no compatibility problems between brands.

Now there are thousands upon thousands of programs that can run on a PDA. From cooking recipes to Medical calculators, a program is out there. Although data is stored on your home computer, the program itself is not itself generally accessible there (which is a bit of a disappointment).

Everyone suggested I buy an 8 meg model. These are starting to be advertised for $100 with a rebate, about half of what I paid for it just a few weeks ago. For more money, you can get email service, cameras, and MP3 audio devices. My friend has one inside his cell phone, but I think this is going overboard. I’m still convinced that cell phones will go the way of the 8-track tape.

Because my PDA fits in my pants pocket (and, yes, I am happy to see you), I can now schedule appointments at home, while doing my daily chores around town and more importantly, while retrieving phone messages from remote locations. Because my office staff consists of one person: me, I now have less fear of double bookings. For years I carried a pencil and a small notebook at all times but the PDA seems to work better. I never liked bulky “organizers”.

So try one out for yourself before you buy. It may not be for you. If you do make the purchase, you will soon find that there are many programs available (usually running around $15) and a few programs that are made for acupuncturists. The best sites for programs are,, and . Generally, PDA programs are smaller and more limited in their scope than what you might find in a desktop computer program. You will also probably have to get a program such as Jfile, which stores the information for many programs in your PDA. I also purchased a small fold up keyboard (Stowaway by Targus) ($ 99) to do major typing. This is a very worthwhile accessory.

There are several very nice programs for acupuncturists using a PDA. An most amazing piece of software is the Chinese Herbal Database by Mark Tryling of Meridian Harmonics. This is a fairly complete Chinese Materia Medica and it is really excels at integrating the computer with the herbs. I have used this in the clinic and it works smoothly. The herbs are organized by group (e.g. blood tonics), then by Pinyin name and gives all the information of taste, temperature, Latin, properties, actions and contraindications. Herbs in Latin or Pinyin, as well as actions, can be searched for within the Jfile format. Search for “tremors” for example and indeed ten herbs come up as possibilities. Mr. Tryling is finishing his studies at the Dallas Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and credits his teacher Pingping Zhang for her teaching and inspiration for the Herbal Database. This makes for another nice feature of the Database which is that additional comments are included. It is nice to have a different perspective about the herbs from Bensky/Gamble. For example, under Di Long there is a rather involved special note of the actions of this “herb” for bronchitis obviously reflecting his teacher¹s clinical experience. Comments can be added at the end of each herb. I await eagerly for Mr. Tryling to finish his TCM Formula Database. The Chinese Herbal Database is available at

Acupuncture and Command Point is a very nice program that provides the numbered and pinyin name of all the points. It shows both the “energetics” and the symptoms of the points in a concise form. As well, combinations are shown with a short explanation of the reasoning. All these sections are editable which makes it extremely useful for your own comments. The “Command” section displays the “antique” points of each meridian as will as the yuan source, luo, horary, entry and exit points, back shu, mu-alarm, xi-cleft, hours of activity and the lower he-sea points. One can create “new meridians” which will allow you to make new groupings of points. Each point displayed has a line for additional information that you can be added to. This is a neat and a must have program for PDA carrying acupuncturists. The program also makes use of the Jfile database system.

BodyEnergyPoint by Grace-Comp Systems is an interesting program that gives you the “point of the hour”, used in some non-TCM systems. For example, in turning it on now, it gives the present time and date and the point, Stomach 45, an English translation of the point name and a neat little drawing and description of the location. For those who use this system of optimal acupuncture times, it replaces wall calendars and books giving the same information. Search the Web for this program, I have little other information about it.

If you know of other useful PDA programs, let me know. I have looked at a few medical programs for tracking patients and some Chinese translation programs that frankly have been disappointing.

Acupuncture Point Combinations Ross Book

Acupuncture Point Combinations, The Key to Clinical Success
by Jeremy Ross

Jeremy Ross goes further than most books on the same subject.

Ross clearly states in the introduction that Acupuncture Point Combinations deals with deeper treatments involving the organ systems and constitutional issues and not with symptomatic point combinations. This decision reflects Ross’s depth as a practitioner.

In over 400 pages, Ross outlines different treatment methods including many styles of “5-element” and “Eight-Extra” treatments (although Japanese acupuncture is not addressed). He devotes a large section to a thorough discussion of the elemental personality types. At last, a writer has been able to present this concept in a coherent and useful manner. Later chapters are devoted to the organ systems and then to 45 individual syndromes often found in the clinic.

Ross’s willingness to address psychological issues are reflected throughout the book. Each of the chapters on the organs includes its emotional energetics. For example, his introduction to the Large Intestine points includes not just channel problems, heat in the blood, various stagnations and but also combinations of points to clear the mind. Much space is given to the function of the Kidneys on a psychological/emotional level. One can then look at Acupuncture Point Combinations as an expansion of the most intriguing aspects of Maciocia’s Foundations. While the latter book would admirably bring up in brief concepts of personality and treatment, Ross is able to do in-depth discussions of them.

The author shares his clinical experience and opinions about various treatment styles. Ross writes extensively about opening points, antique (transporting) points, 5 element and 8 extra treatments. Rather than seeing them as distinct and separate systems he is clearly able to describe the relationships between them and when best not and best to use them in combination.

The book presents a comprehensive review of the organ systems. Discussions about the Spleen, for example, include the organ both as a center of energy and as a functional organ. Kidney syndromes involving Jing, Qi, Yang and Yin are clearly differentiated. Relationships between the different organs lead to more of those famous graphs for which Ross developed in his previous book, “Zang-Fu”.

Acupuncture Point Combinations lives up to his name. For example, if you know that Ren (CV) 17 should be used, Ross provides tables with the functions of over two dozen other points that can be used in combination. This comprehensive book is both an in-clinic quick reference and night-time reading. Standard common sense combinations are presented along side more complex ideas. Acupuncture Point Combinations should assist many practitioners in enhancing their treatments.

Published by Churchill Livingston



The Chinese Way to Healing: Many Paths to Wholeness written by Misha Ruth Cohen with Kalia Doner

The Chinese Way to Healing: Many Paths to Wholeness is a consumer directed book with a difference. The author, Misha Ruth Cohen (with Kalia Doner) is an experienced practitioner and The Chinese Way to Healing fills a very important niche in acupuncture literature. This beautiful designed book will encourage your patients who wish to participate more fully in their own treatments. 

From acupuncture needles to Zang-Fu concepts, the book is instructive to the many facets of current American TCM practice. Although the focus is on TCM, Cohen writes of other modalities including homeopathy and Western Medicine. 

Using this book, the practitioner can refer their patients to comprehensive sections on diet, gynecology, western medical integration, self-massage and food diaries. As anyone who has struggled with patient brochures knows, clear answers to questions about acupuncture needling and raw herb preparation are a god-send in saving time in the clinic. 

The phrase “Wholeness = Dietary Guidelines + Herbs + Acupuncture + Qi Gong” is used as a guide to the different aspects of patient self-care. The section on Wei and Nei Qi Gong exercises should get your patient started on the right path. Also included is a recognition of the importance of the Qi Gong instructor. 

Unlike many others, this is not a “self-help” book. It states clearly that it is to be used with a practitioner not instead of one. Short case studies and testimonials stress the results of working with a professional acupuncturist. Practitioners will appreciate Cohen’s continual warnings against using self-medication when using herbs. 

Although I have been stressing that this book is for the consumer, I can easily imagine that The Chinese Way to Healing will be extremely helpful for the practitioner in the clinic. Here in one book, is a guide to diet, ear points and reflexology. While reading together with the patient,  I can see how I might be reminded of many aspects of treatments I might have otherwise overlooked. The dangerous down-side, of course, is that your patients may become increasingly more assertive and “difficult”. Humor aside, The Chinese Way to Healing will be an extremely effective “Workbook” that can be used in conduction with the practitioner and patient. The language and level of explanation is sufficiently high to give the patient an excellent education.  An enlightened patient means that the practitioner can be more open and will no longer have to “protect” the patient from complex concepts. 

Misha Ruth Cohen is an acupuncture “veteran” with a history including Lincoln Hospital, lectures in China, contact with the mysterious “W.B”,  to her current role in the important work of Quan Yin and Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine Centers in San Francisco. Both her experience and warmth in “patient-based” acupuncture come through strongly in this book. 

The Chinese Way to Healing: Many Paths to Wholeness may be the book that acupuncturists will want to stock for sale to their patients. As well, it may be the best book to refer to potential clients, friends and relatives when one is asked that dreaded question, “How does acupuncture work?” 

The Chinese Way to Healing: Many Paths to Wholeness  
written by Misha Ruth Cohen with Kalia Doner  
– 1996-  
A Perigee Book  
published by The Berkely Publishing Group  
200 Madison Avenue  
New York, NY  
$15 US 

Putnam Berkley-