Mental/Emotional Aspects of The Heart

The major responsibility of the heart in TCM is housing the mind and controlling the shen. “Shen” can be seen as the overall healthiness of the mind. When you look at a healthy person in good spirits, you know how you can see that in their eyes? There is a certain bright clarity and sense of health that shines from within. We acupuncturists would say that this person has good shen. continue reading »

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Physical Aspects of The Heart

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the heart is the organ most closely linked to emotion. Think about all the terms we use every day to describe our state of mind: “heartsick,” “heartbroken,” “heartache” The heart is not the director of subtlety; the emotions it encompasses seem to always be on the far end of the spectrum, either extreme sadness or extreme joy. continue reading »

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Common sports shoulder injury. Simple solution!

A common shoulder injury that I see with rugby players, water polo goalies, MLB baseball pitchers  and yogis is pain in the shoulder that can present as deltoid pain.   The deltoid is not the problem.


photo credit: Pink Shorts Photography, shared with permission

Usually the pain occurs in certain positions, is difficult to pinpoint and will come and go.

There is a small space between the humeral head (the arm bone) and the acromio-clavicular joint (top of the shoulder).  If there is inflammation in that space, there will be pain.


Orthopedic evaluation will show that the problem is often the supraspinatus muscle, which is part of the rotator cuff.   With athletes the cause can be acute trauma or overuse.   If the cause is trauma to the shoulder, also assess the AC joint and the SC joint for sprains and the other muscles of the rotator cuff.


Acupuncturists are uniquely able to help with this type of injury.  The treatment is stealthy and not painful, we can skillfully slip needles into the subacromial space and the motor points and trigger points of the supraspinatus muscle to clear inflammation, invigorate blood flow and restore muscle function.  Electroacupuncture is key.

Acupuncture texts show the acupuncture point Bing Feng Si-12 in the muscle belly of the supraspinatus.  The indications for this point include the “inability to raise the arm.”


If your acupuncturist does not know how to treat this, they can learn how in the Acupuncture Sports Medicine Apprenticeship program.

I highly recommend following up treatment working with your movement coach, athletic trainer or physical therapist to create mobility, strength and functional movement patterns.


– Jenny Nieters, L. Ac.

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Jenny Nieters named event acupuncturist for Rugby World Cup in SF

I am so excited to provide rugby players with acupuncture therapy at the  Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.  I will provide sports acupuncture therapy for the all teams at the hotel the week before the tournament and at the stadium during the tournament.
Get your tickets soon.  I promise it will be AMAZING.
– Jenny Nieters, L.Ac.
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Auricular Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a medical system that dates back nearly 4,000 years. Auricular acupuncture was first mentioned around 500 B.C. in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which is the equivalent of the Bible for TCM practitioners. However, the method in which auricular acupuncture is practiced today is actually based upon discoveries that occurred in France in the 1950s. Modern auricular acupuncture is based upon the work done by Dr. Paul Nogier of France.

Auricular acupuncture is the stimulation of the external ear for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions. These health conditions may be taking place anywhere throughout the body. The stimulation of these acupuncture points can be done manually, with an acupuncture needle, a laser, magnets or ear seeds. Regardless of the means of stimulation, auricular acupuncture can be a very powerful addition to regular acupuncture treatments.

The current form of auricular acupuncture came about after Dr. Nogier noticed a scar on the upper ear of some of his patients. When he inquired about the scar, he found out a local practitioner had been treating his patients for sciatica pain and she was cauterizing this specific area on the external ear to relieve their low back pain. Dr. Nogier conducted similar tests on his own patients and found their low back pain was also relieved. He tried using other means of stimulation as well, such as acupuncture needles and found it to be just as effective as cauterizing the area. So Dr. Nogier theorized if an area of the upper external ear is effective on treating low back pain, then perhaps other areas of the ear could treat other parts of the body. This led to the model now used when teaching auricular acupuncture. The ear is thought to represent the whole anatomical body. However, it is upside down in orientation, so the head is represented by the lower ear lobe, the feet are at the top of the ear and the rest of the body is in between. According to history, the Chinese actually adopted this model of auricular acupuncture in 1958.

Auricular acupuncture is considered a microsystem, in that the ear is like a microcosm of the whole body, meaning one part of the body, the ear in this instance, represents the whole body. Microsystems also appear on foot and hand reflexology, facial acupuncture and scalp acupuncture.

This system has been practiced in Asia, albeit in a different form, for over 2,000 years. Auricular acupuncture has been used in Europe for the past 40 to 50 years. And it is finally starting to take root in the United States. The U.S. military, over the past 5 to 10 years, has started utilizing auricular acupuncture for its battlefield personnel. This form of battlefield acupuncture is used to help soldiers deal with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) brought on by being in combat.

Since auricular acupuncture allows for every part of the external ear to connect through the microsystem to every part of the body, many conditions can be treated using only a few very tiny needles. Not only can PTSD be treated using auricular acupuncture, but also things like chronic pain, drug addiction, high blood pressure and nausea. And for those who are a little needle-shy, auricular acupuncture is a great way to treat them because they will never see the needles and they will still get the help they need to achieving health and wellness.

Photo credit: Ear – Travis Isaacs | CC 2.0

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