Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine

Acupuncture and herbal medicine, the foundations of Chinese medicine,

have been practiced for thousands of years to treat many different

types of ailments and injuries.  In China, many hospitals regularly use

acupuncture and herbal medicine in conjunction with western medical


Acupuncture is based on the Chinese medicine concept of Qi (pronounced

chee). Qi is energy that flows along distinct pathways in the body,

similar to the pathways of the nerves and blood vessels. These

pathways, also called channels or meridians, connect to specific organs

in the body, such as the liver, heart, spleen, lungs, or kidneys.

Acupuncturists use a variety of diagnostic methods in formulating an

appropriate acupuncture and herbal prescription. This commonly includes

taking a patient’s pulse, looking at their tongue, and inquiring about

their various symptoms.

An acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of hair thin needles

into specific points on the chosen pathways. The points are chosen for

their various functions, such as clearing heat, relieving stagnation,

or harmonizing the flow of Qi in the body. When our Qi is plentiful,

flowing freely and in balance we feel our best.

David Stokke, MS, LAc

2421 Fourth Street

Berkeley, CA 94710


Acupuncture for Allergies and Asthma

There is increasing evidence in western medical literature about the usefulness of  acupuncture in treating asthma and allergies. Since Chinese medicine has been practiced and refined over the course of a few thousand years, and with Chinese medical practitioners (Acupuncturists and Herbalists) utilizing such tried and true techniques, the beneficial effects are often seen quite quickly, usually within the first few weeks of treatment.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is effective in treating respiratory ailments in people of all ages. In fact, young children often respond much more quickly to treatments, and generally require minimal intervention with the practitioner using only a few needles (which are often almost immediately removed), or no acupuncture at all, just an herbal formula.

Interestingly, aside from the nasal and respiratory symptoms of asthma and allergy sufferers, there are often coexistent digestive problems such as poor appetite, abnormal stools, bloating and abdominal pain, as well as skin problems like eczema and hives. These symptoms are reduced when a person is treated with Chinese medicine using acupuncture, herbs, and minor lifestyle and dietary modifications.

Treatments are focused not only on resolving the lung and sinus issues, but also on strengthening the digestive system. In fact, it is usually more important to strengthen the digestive system in order to resolve problems in the lungs and sinuses. Often a weak or compromised digestive system is the root of the problem.

The concept of improving your health by eating foods that are healthy for you is not a new one. Generally one is advised to stay away from or minimize sugars and sweets, fruit juices, dairy products, nuts and oily foods, and excess amounts of chilled or uncooked foods. Add to this a healthy portion of vegetables and a conservative portion of protein at least three times a day. Then add a dose of acupuncture once a week and herbal medicine daily, and one is on the road to breathing freely. Subsequently, skin problems are often resolved when the lung and stomach problems have stabilized. The lung and digestive issues were likely the root of that problem.

There has also been an increase in the number of cases of asthma, allergies, and sinus infections reported in this country. Unfortunately, most people who suffer from asthma also have severe allergies. The quality of the air we breathe plays a large part in this, our lungs increasingly compromised with smoke, smog, dust, molds and pollens. Aside from keeping a very clean house, using cleaning products that do not have fragrance or harsh chemicals, and reducing one’s exposure to common irritants (like smoke, perfume, soaps, shampoos and lotions with fragrance, laundry soap with fragrance and fabric softeners), air quality is something many of us have little immediate control of.

Equally important though are the foods that we eat. This is something we can control. Some have suggested that our children are somehow less healthy than they used to be. This is no surprise because many of us adults are not very healthy either. With many of us relying on convenience over quality when it comes to the food we eat, our bodies are suffering with the lack of nutrients a convenient diet provides.

It is important to note that the results of the acupuncture treatments are not transient. Some respond very quickly with only a month of weekly treatments, others may take a few months. Many of the people that I have treated have beneficially responded after just a short period of treatments and have remained healthy with minimal wheezing or allergy symptoms.

Some individuals have truly serious reactive airway disease and require western medication for survival. Chinese medicine may minimize their symptoms and help reduce the side effects of their medication. There are also a large number of people with much less severe symptoms who respond dramatically to treatment. Given the increase of asthma and allergy sufferers, techniques such as acupuncture which offer benefits but no risks are important tools for doctors to be aware of and utilize.

Acupuncture for Fertility

Chinese Medicine can play an important role in correcting underlying imbalances that affect fertility. David Stokke, MS, LAc works with both male and female clients and provides a special sensitivity when working with male factor infertility.

According to some studies, about 25% of all infertility is caused by a sperm defect and 40-50% of infertility cases have a sperm defect as the main cause, or a contributing cause.

Treatment Options
This is not easily treated since the problem is often genetic, but with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as IVF and ICSI (or intracytoplasmic sperm injection, ie. injecting the sperm directly into the middle of the egg) success rates are as much as 60%. If ART’s are used in conjunction with acupuncture and herbal medicine, one can make sure their health is at its optimum level.

Fertility Specialty
David’s wife and partner, Michelle Bullard, MS, LAc (, practices at the same office in Berkeley. She has studied with Randine Lewis, PhD, LAc of the Fertile Soul Retreats and has had much success with fertility clients over the 12 years she has been in practice.

David and Michelle provide individualized diagnostic evaluation and treatment for each client. Treatments may include acupuncture, herbs, nutritional supplements, diet suggestions, and lifestyle counseling. They support clients who are using the assisted reproductive technologies of IVF, IUI and ICSI, as well as clients trying to conceive on their own. Studies have shown that acupuncture can increase the success rates of in vitro fertilization (IVF) by as much as twenty percent.

Their combined schedules allow them to be available for before and after IVF acupuncture treatments 7 days a week.

Cold and Flu Prevention Tips

The cool weather has arrived. It’s time to try to remember everything

your mom always told you when you were a child to keep you from getting

sick and do it. Yes, she was right, wind and cold can make you sick or

susceptible to illness, so bundle up, wear a warm jacket, put on a warm

hat and cover your neck. And don’t wear flip-flops or high heels when

it’s cold or raining. Not only does heat escape from your body at your

head, but also at your feet. If your body is busy trying to keep itself

warm, you will be using up the very energy that it needs to fight the

bacteria or viruses it inevitably encounters in the cold and flu

season. Another way to look at it is that by letting heat out of your

body, you are inviting in cold.

You can also warm up your body by adding more warm foods to your diet

when the weather is cold. Hot meals can warm and nourish your body

fluids and soothe your lungs and skin, your body’s main regions of

defense against pathogens. Soups and steamed vegetables such as winter

squash, peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes and yams are excellent

ingredients to incorporate into your meals. Eat hot grains for

breakfast; put some cinnamon on it. Eat what is in season: apples,

beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots,

cauliflower, cinnamon, cranberries, figs, garlic, grapes, leeks, pears,

persimmons, plums, pomegranates, pumpkin, rosemary, thyme, red cabbage,

sage, whole grains, wild rice, winter squash, lamb, red meat, yams and

ginger – preferably not all in the same meal. These foods are all

somewhat warming in nature, and can help keep you warm internally.

Keeping your body warm on the inside as well as on the outside can help

boost your immune system to keep you cold and flu free throughout the

cold weather season. If this is not enough and you do get sick, it does

not mean that your mother was wrong, it means that your immune system

is compromised and in need of further boosting.

Here are some tips for keeping the bacteria or virus from going deeper

into your body:

-Gargle with warm salt water.

-Rinse your sinuses with warm water and sea salt (use precisely:2

teaspoons salt to one pint water. Too much/too little salt will burn!)

-Avoid dairy, wheat, sugar and alcohol which can all increase phlegm

and mucous production.

-Change your diet and eat mostly vegetables and a small amount of

protein (meat, fish or eggs).

-Take Vitamin C (Ester C) and Zinc supplements.

-Take a Chinese Herbal Formula prescribed by your acupuncturist.

We have a number of herbal formulas here at the office that are very

effective at relieving cold and flu symptoms. You may have heard of

them. Yin Chiao is often used when the first signs of a common cold or

flu are present: sore throat, fever, neck stiffness and nausea. Gan Mao

Ling and Zhong Gan Ling are used similarly, but often when symptoms are

more severe. Gui Zi Tang is used when a person is experiencing strong

chills. Cinnamon and Ginger are two of the main ingredients in this

formula. Many of the cold and flu formulas can also be taken

preventively, for exposure to common cold and flu. Taking a formula

before boarding an airplane or visiting a sick friend can often prevent

the bacteria or virus from colonizing.

There are many other ways that you can boost your immune system to keep

colds and flus at bay:

-Wash your hands regularly.

-Avoid touching your face.

-Get some sunshine. UV rays can boost your Vitamin D levels to help

your T-cells fight infection.

-Take Vitamin D3, Vitamin C (Ester C is best), and Zinc supplements.

-Get adequate sleep at night.

-Come in for regular acupuncture treatments.

Please call if you would like to schedule an appointment or pick up an

herbal formula.


David Stokke, MS, LAc

2421 Fourth Street

Berkeley, CA 94710