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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.

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.

3 books on the Spirit

Soothing the Troubled Mind   Acupuncture and Moxibustion in the Treatment and Prevention of Schizophrenia  Translated by Thomas Dey

Published by Paradigm Publications

Lou, Pai-ts-eng, Lou Hsing-huang copyright 1999

ISBN 0-912111-60-7


  Transforming Emotions with Chinese Medicine  An Ethnographic Account from Contemporary China  by Yanhua Zhang

State University of New York Press


Shen Psycho-Emotional Aspects of Chinese Medicine  Elisa Rossi with Laura Caretto Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier  2007


ER- Acupuncturist, Psychotherapist and Private Practitioner in Chinese Medicine, Milan Italy

LC- Teacher and Translator in MidiCina, School of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Milan, Italy


ISBN 9780443101816


First published in Italian in 2002




These three books are different takes on Shen or psycho-spiritual-emotional issues in Chinese Medicine. Probably of most interest to the general TCM practitioner will be Elisa Rossi�s Shen: Psycho-Emotional Aspects of Chinese Medicine. This text should be a requirement for State and National Licensing Boards. So many students and practitioners are fascinated by the psychological aspects of treating patients. Even as this is often problematic, students should at least get a better introduction to the field than the allusions/illusions found in the current most of the available introductory books we now have. I will get to this impressive text in a moment but first I�ll look at two other smaller books.


Dey�s Troubled Mind is most direct if not the most modest, taking on the extremes of schizophrenia and its treatment in modern day China. At a little over 130 pages herbal and acupuncture treatments share space with a fair amount of classical background, cases studies and modern theory. This seems to have been a textbook for a class in China and Dey is listed only as a translator. The acupuncture treatments are very interesting and reflect the minimal yet potent style of mainland China practices. There are numerous classical citations which makes for a satisfying read as well as an important resource for further research. The publisher is Paradigm and they have generously provided a number of additional case studies at: The paperback lists for under $15 and is well worth it.


Zhang�s Transforming Emotions is a different animal altogether. Over the years I�ve realized the fascination that TCM has with anthropologists, linguists and sociologists. The structure of the clinic, the interpersonal conversations and the very well documented medicine is fertile soil for study. Yanhua Zhang is Assistant Professor of Chinese at Clemson University and I assume that this book is a result of her PhD and/or post-graduate studies. The academic element here is important and I love this kind of anthropological stuff. The value for practitioners reading Transforming Emotions is that Zhang relentlessly details each word and nuance of the process by which her subjects, Chinese doctors, approach emotional issues in the clinic. The emphasis is therefore not so much on the examination of the patient than of the doctors themselves and the context in which they practice the medicine.


I�ll quote one pagagraph. The book is very generous in its inclusion of both Pinyin and characters (which I will omit here for reasons of web encoding).


Chinese medicine has numerous words describing all kind of blockages and stasis in subtle differentiation. Yu is mainly stagnation of qi, which is invisible and which is closely related to disordered emotions: yu is stasis of tangible (youxing) fluids, such as blood; zhi is sluggish movement (of qi); ji is accumulation of something (shiji)is accumulation of food; jie is coagulation, sometimes in the form of a lump; zu is obstructions or blockage of the circulation passages. These physiological dysfunctions are often experienced by Chinese patients as tong (pain), du (blockage usually in heart or in one�s throat), men (stuffiness in the chest), and zhangman (fullness in the chest area). Yu (stagnation/blockage) occupies such an important role in the clinical manifestation of Chinese medicine that some famous doctors in the history of Chinese medicine insist that yu in the single most important factor that results in medical disorders. (p. 45)


This is nice stuff. For those who think that modern TCM is dry and soulless may want to check this book out for the descriptions of the personal interactions of the doctors and patients. It should also dissuade one from thinking that western acupuncturists have somehow invented or otherwise have a monopoly on psychodynamic treatments. For the practicing acupuncturists there might be little in the way of new treatments but will definitely introduce or remind one of many if not most of the terms and concepts involved in emotional work. This type of book, along with those by Elizabeth Hsu and Judith Farquhar among others, are aimed at a rather specialized academic population yet also give TCM practitioners a refreshing outside perspective.


Shen: Psycho-Emotional Aspects of Chinese Medicine was written originally in Italian by Elisa Rossi with assistance of Laura Caretto. The treatments are interesting in that they focus almost exclusively on acupuncture. The first section is basically a study of the terrain of the Shen. Here are long sections on the Po and Hun and other standard components of the CM emotions but rarely discussed in depth outside of the esoteric terms of Taoism. The first section of 70 pages on Hun, Po, Zhi, Yi and Shen are well worth the price of the entire book. The middle section of the book includes discussions on Constraint-yu, emotions and heat, agitation and restlessness, insomnia, diankuang, and classic syndromes. Section 3 includes excess and emptiness, classical texts and �the space shared by the patient and the acupuncturist�. The last part of the book is a collection of articles written by Barbara Kirchbaum, Qiao Wenlie, Julian Scott and others. Barbara Kirshbaum offers a chapter is on the tongue and emotional diagnosis. Julian Scott�s contribution concerns hyperactivity and ADD taken from his pediatric book.


Frankly, I like having mainly acupuncture treatments in this book. As the saying goes, � herbs are easy, acupuncture is hard.� There are many point combinations outside of the norm and discussion of common and some of the lesser used points. It has made me think a little more carefully about the actual syndrome and symptom being treated.


Shen is a remarkable book because it takes these Shen issues on the terms of Chinese medicine without transposing a western psychoanalytic terrain nor new age thought on to the discussion. This is not a book of obscure Taoist concepts and at the same time these are not just dry lists of the standard categories and disease names given in most of the modern TCM books out there. While there is a chapter on classical cases, at the same time the book is generously sprinkled with modern case studies that are anything but outdated. (My favorite is an all too familiar case of a cell phone tower �allergy�.) Shen is basically a book taken up to the modern times with a healthy mixture of classical quotes, references from the past and modern case studies. It doesn�t attempt to �update� CM theory, only show it where it can be relevant in our time. As much as possible the reader is receiving a �pure� transmission and that is a remarkable accomplishment.


Summary: All three of these books have their place in any acupuncturists library.




Art and Chinese Medicine

what is Taiqi.ME? well, way back when when the internet was just starting I bought the name The name was worth some money so I was offered enough money that I sold it. I had been doing the site for 16 years.  It contained a bit of information about Taichi/taiqi, reviews of books dealing with acupuncture and a lot of my art work from over the years.

The name is worth a lot more in Asia as one could imagine. I think there is a Taiqi car company. But mainly I think its been in the hands of domain name speculators since I sold it 15 years ago and hasn’t been used. Oh well. 

So I slickly sold it and bought the web name with some money in the bank.