Acupuncture in San Diego

Eyton Shalom, M.S., L.Ac specializes in the treatment of Pain with Acupuncture, Cupping, Moxabustion, Gua Sha, and Electrical Stimulation.

Eyton Shalom, M.S., L.Ac., has been Licensed as an Acupuncturist, Dry Needling specialist, and Chinese Herbal Medicine expert in San Diego, CA. for over 30 years, since 1992.

He has been an Acupuncture Clinical Supervisor and Professor of Chinese Herbs, Medical History, and Nutrition at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Mission Valley, San Diego, for 6 years.

In addition, Eyton has owned clinics in San Diego’s Hillcrest and Mission Hills neighborhoods, and has been in North Park now since 2006. Eyton loves practicing Acupuncture and Dry Needling in San Diego because our city attracts both world class athletes and people who love physical fitness. Its a pleasure to help athletes get back their sport, just as it is to help people with chronic pain return to pain-free lives.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture and Qi Flow

During an acupuncture treatment we place very fine needles into the skin at specific places. These acupuncture points are where the Qi energy of the acupuncture channels rises to the surface of the body, like underground water in a spring.

Disease and pain is caused by “stagnation of Qi.” Qi stagnation is an obstruction in the normal flow of Qi in the body. This is associated with hormonal imbalances, poor tissue nourishment, poor blood circulation, and other physiological pathologies.

By needling these areas we can communicate with the acupuncture channels that were mapped out by the ancient Chinese. This restores healthy Qi flow thru the channels and helps the body to heal without drugs or surgery.

“Where There is Qi Stagnation there is Pain and Disease, and Where there is Pain and Disease there is Qi Stagnation”

Why unblock Qi stagnation?

Classical Chinese Medicine Acupuncture theory explains that when Qi flow is blocked, or stagnates, then pain and disease have to follow. Conversely, if there is pain or disease, there has to be Qi blockage or stagnation.

A simple example is the indigestion that occurs with overeating. Stagnation of Qi in the gut caused by overeating.

How about IBS? A deeper kind of gut issue tied to the nervous system.  Anxiety? Too much uncontrolled movement of Qi in the whole body. Tension headache? Qi stasis in the shoulders, neck, jaw, and scalp.

We can move, or eliminate that stagnation with acupuncture, dry needling, chinese herbs, Tai Qi, meditation, and any healthy thing that relaxes us.

What is Qi?

Qi is our life force. Its the difference between a living body and a dead one. Its what makes everything in a living being move, from the smallest intracellular process, like the production of mitochondrial DNA to the movement of saliva from the salivary glands into the mouth at the smell of food.

In fact, the Chinese character for Qi represents steam rising off a pot of freshly cooked rice. Rice was the staff of life in China; no rice, no life. And, by representing steam, and not the rice itself, that hints at the characteristics of Qi–its warm, mobile, and etheric.

Qi is a Biological Force

But Qi is very much a biological force. Out heart beating is the movement of Qi that circulates the blood, which in turn nourishes the tissues. Every anatomical structure in the human body is fed by the Qi of the channels the way a field is irrigated by water.  When Qi stagnates, so does blood, because Qi is “the commander of blood.” Without the Qi to move it, the blood does not circulate, just like water in nature.

Without the force of gravity, or wind, or the shock wave of a tsunami, water just settles peacefully. But in a closed area, like a bond, it stagnates, and algae grow. In the body, tissues and organs are not nourished, and illness and pain develops. When we place Acupuncture needles into the channels in the correct locations, Qi flow is restored, and the body’s healing force unleashed.

Scientific Explanations for How Acupuncture Works

The Sensory Nervous System

The first thing to understand is that if your wool sweater is itchy, or your dog licks your hand, or the sun is too bright, or the ice cream tastes good, your brain perceives this information because of your sensory nervous system. This is how acupuncture works, big picture.

When we place needles into your skin your sensory nervous system picks up that data and thru the hardware of your body, bring it to your brain, where the software of your brain processes it.

Release of Endorphins

Researchers have been able to observe that when you place Acupuncture needles into the body, that specific biochemical responses occur in the brain.One of the biochemicals that is secreted in the brain in response to needling are Endorphins, the same chemical that increases when we fall in love.

Endorphins are opiate-like hormones. This effect on endorphins can explain why people feel so good after acupuncture treatments, and why acupuncture is so good for stress.

Acupuncture also increases the secretion of anti-inflammatory steroid hormones related to cortisol. This may contribute further to its ability to promote healing and treat pain.

Acupuncture Vs. Dry Needling: What’s the Difference?

Qi Flow in the Channels

Acupuncture is based on the Classical Chinese system that maps the flow of Qi thru discrete Acupuncture channels. To practice acupuncture you need to have memorized and understood the flow of Qi thru these channels, or “meridians” and how to access it thru the acupunctur points. Once you have done that, which takes about 4 years to grasp just the very basics of, then you can treat the underlying “energetic” patterns associated with disease and pain.

Trigger Points in the Muscles

Dry Needling, on the other hand, is based on a knowledge of Western defined Anatomy, specifically the location of Trigger and Motor points, and of the fascial tissues,  and how they behave in injury and chronic pain.

With dry needle therapy we can treat the purely physical  immediate causes of many types of pain-activated trigger points.

Activated trigger points, or TrPs are dysfunctional muscle spindles within neuromuscular motor points. They are located primarily in muscles and fascia, and when “turned on” they are painful. But in addition to causing pain directly, activated trigger points cause pain indirectly. This is because motor points are associated with shortened muscles and fascia, that in turn become weak and stiff.

What I Have Had Success With

Treat the Person; Not Just the Disease

In my years practicing Acupuncture and Dry Needling here in San Diego since 1992, I have gotten excellent results using both methods.  Which method I use depends on the case. I often use both, because since I treat people and not diseases, I will, for example, do Dry Needling on a chronic rotator cuff injury.

But if that same human is very tense and not sleeping well, then I will get a better result if I also use points on the Acupuncture channels,  and maybe Chinese or Ayurvedic Herbs to help with the tension and insomnia.

Pain and Injuries

  • Tension and Migraine Headaches
  • TMJ
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, Whiplash, Rotator Cuff Pain, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Nerve Entrapment Injuries
  • Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendinitis, Tendosynovitis
  • Snow boarder’s injuries
  • Repetitive and Overuse Injuries
  • Trigger Finger
  • Herniated Discs–Cervical and Lumbar
  • Low Back Pain
  • Hip Pain, IT band syndrome, runners muscular injuries
  • Knee Pain, Calf tightness,
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Plantar Fasciti
  • Heel Spurs
  • Morton’s Neuroma,

Internal Medicine

  • Allergies, Hay Fever, Sinusitis, Pediatric and Adult Ear Infections
  • Anxiety, Depression
  • Insomnia, Fatigue in the Morning, Restless Sleep
  • Weak Immune System–Frequent Colds, Flu, Lung Infection
  • Mono/Epstein Barr, Chronic Fatigue, Metabolic Disorders
  • Colds, Flu, Bronchitis, Asthma
  • Dry Eye and Mouth
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney Stones
  • High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
  • Bell’s Palsy


  • Acne Vulgaris
  • Hormonal Acne
  • Cystic Acne
  • Acne Rosacea
  • Alopecia Areata (Auto-Immune Hair Loss)
  • Eczema
  • Acute and Chronic Hives
  • Psoraisis
  • Chronic Prostatitis,
  • Vulvitis, Vulvadynia, (Vulva Pain)

GI Disorders (Gastrointestinal)

  • GERD
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Gastritis
  • Stomach Ulcer
  • Bloating
  • Chronic Indigestion
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS
  • Diverticulitis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Chronic Diarrhea
  • Hemorrhoids, Anal Fissure

Women’s Health

  • PMS–Swollen Painful Breast, Bloating, Constipation, Acne, Irritability, Crying at things you would not normally cry at
  • Painful Periods, Irregular Periods, Heavy Bleeding with or without Clots
  • Endometriosis, Ovarian Cysts, Uterine Fibroids
  • Menopausal Issues–Heavy Bleeding, Night Sweats, Hot Flashes, Feeling Not Yourself
  • Infertility
  • Nausea During Pregnancy,
  • Post-Partum Depression
  • Bladder Infections (UTI)
  • Interstitial Cystitis (IC)
  • Acute and Chronic Yeast Infections

Miscelleneous Disorders

  • Coccydynia, (Tail Bone Pain)
  • Herpes Simplex and Herpes Zoster–Immune system and Pain related issue
  • Erectile Dysfunction, Low Libido
  • Lupus

Thank you! For more information on my approach to the use of Acupuncture for treating disease, see the posts that follow this page, below.

Preparing for your Acupuncture Appointment - Important Please Read

Acupuncture is best done when a person is neither hungry, nor full.

If you are coming after work, and are very hungry, please have a light snack. Please do NOT wear perfume, as part of diagnosis is noting the patients natural fragrance. Also, I have many patients that are allergic to the phthalate and other toxins in perfumes. Preparing for your acupuncture appointment will help you get the most from your treatment. Thanks!


Time of appointment:

As I see one person at a time, it is not necessary to come early for your appointment. Just being on time is perfect.


Late cancellation:

Your time has been reserved for you and you alone. Please give at least 24 hours notice if you need to reschedule so as to avoid charges for an office visit. Thank you for understanding.

FAQs About Acupuncture Treatment

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the placement of hair-thin needles into specific locations on the body. These locations are known as acupuncture points. The actual Chinese word suggests a cave; because these acupuncture “caves” are where the deep energies of the body rise to the surface.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The ancient Chinese understood there is a difference between a living body and a dead one, and that the difference, what you and I might call “life-force”, they called Qi. They were very specific. They understood that life is a warm process of very gross and delicate transformation, of food and air into energy, and of experience into wisdom.

For this reason the ancients described Qi as warm, light, and mobile. Where there is unobstructed flow of Qi there will be health, and where there is pain or disease, there is stasis of Qi flow. Death, is the ultimate lack of Qi flow. Biology agrees with this. Death is the cessation of movements within the body

What Does An Acupuncture Treatment Do?

Acupuncture does fundamentally one thing–it unblocks stuck Qi, it restores healthy flow of Qi.

That is why you feel so good after an acupunture treatment, after a massage, after a good day at the beach, or a pleasant evening with a friend. All of these unblock stuck Qi, but  acupuncture needles do this in very specific and clinical ways.

Over thousands of years of clinical work acupuncturists have developed specific methods for addressing all kinds of health problems.

Is There any Scientific Evidence on How Acupuncture Works?

Since acupuncture has made its way into the West, there has been no shortage of research. Some of the mechanisms that have been discovered are:

  • Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins and other opiod like neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Acupuncture stimulates the secretion of hormones and other brain chemicals such as serotonin that make us feel comfortable and relaxed.
  • White blood cells migrate to the areas where the acupuncture needles are inserted
  • Acupuncture changes the pattern of blood flow through the body
  • Real Time MRI Brain scans on people having acupuncture have shown certain segments of the brain “light up,” signaling that the brain has been activated to make a positive response

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

Because your needles are hair-thin, generally you will not feel a thing. You may notice a sensation similar to a mosquito bite.

Once the needle is inserted you may feel a dull ache, similar to a tooth ache, but in the area of your body receiving treatment. This is called “De Qi” in Chinese, or the “Qi Sensation.”

After a treatment, especially treatments for certain pain conditions, you may feel a soreness in the muscle, akin to a “post work-out soreness”. This goes away in a few hours or 24 at most.

If you are sensitive, please let me know. It is always possible to do a very light Japanese style treatment in which you do not feel the needles at all. This is very valuable and perfectly appropriate in many cases.

How Will I Feel After My Treatment?

People almost always feel quite nice, as if they have had a deep profound rest, very relaxed, in in much less pain or stress.

You may be sleepy or sore after a treatment, and on occasion, especially with Dry Needling or deeper acu treatments, that soreness, like a “post-workout” soreness, can last for even a day or two.

How Many Treatments Does It Take?

Acupuncture, Dry Needling, and Chinese Medicine is a healing process. It is trying to stimulate the body’s own natural healing capabilities.

But THE GOOD NEWS is that most of us respond quite quickly. Many of us feel relief even after the first treatment, most of us after 3 visits.

But, the longer you have had your condition, the longer it might take for it to reverse.

You should plan on a course of from three to six to ten treatments to either effect a cure, relieve symptoms totally, or partially. 90% of the time we will see some very positive response before three treatments, and if not, I rarely ask you to continue.

Are There Side Effects to Acupuncture?

Acupuncture, when practiced by a licensed professional, is completely safe and free of any side effects.

Does Insurance Cover Acupuncture?

Many insurance companies do – it varies from company to company. Check with your carrier to see.

But sadly, I no longer bill insurance, but will gladly give you a printed “superbill” with the correct codes for reembursment.. All payment is made by the patient at the time of service.

We do accept Health Savings Accounts and Flex Plan Account cards. Also Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover.

Thanks very much!

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