Goodbye to All That, on Loving and Leaving a clinic

Inspired by Joan Didion’s  - Goodbye to All That, on Loving and Leaving New York.

“It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends.” – Joan Didion

I remember the first time I found Service Workers’ Acupuncture Project on Yelp. It was a block from my apartment and treatments were done in a group setting. It was different from other community style clinics because there were massage tables instead of chairs. I had a background in community acupuncture, which usually means 5-10 recliners in a room. SWAP stood out because it had an intimacy I hadn’t seen in other group acupuncture clinics.

When I first introduced myself to Holly, the owner of SWAP, I said ‘Of the many community clinics that are now available in San Francisco, your clinic seems to align with many values that I have in my own life and practice.’ We made a lunch date, we chatted. She thought about how to incorporate me into her business and it happened easily, one baby step at a time.

My introduction sentence to Holly is still true now. This clinic, Service Workers Acupuncture Project is the most aligned with many values that I have in my own life and practice. It has been really important to keep the acupuncture affordable. It has been really important to keep acupuncture in a group setting. It has been really important to me to have space for loved ones to come get treatment together.

I have treated spouses, parents and children, best friends, business partners, on the tables next one another. The quiet exchange of glances that loved ones have as they come out of an acupuncture treatment is incredibly precious. It’s a fleeting moment of peace and connection. I can see how incredible it is to transform alongside someone you love. To somehow mend your heart a little bit, or walk away with a little less pain.  The love that emanates from people after an acupuncture treatment is almost tangible. It radiates exponentially more when the people in the room already have love for one another.

Over the past four years I have been able to celebrate with patients. It has always been a victory to fend off cancer for another year, to celebrate a pregnancy or birth. I have stood alongside people as they have quit their jobs or marriages, traveled the world, gotten their dream jobs, battled cancer and graduated school all while taking some time to get some acupuncture. I have also shared sorrow with patients as they have lost their parents, friends and colleagues, and for me, this year as I lost my dad. Celebrations and sorrows are focal points in the clinic. Together we mark growth, pain, and the passing of time.

I am lucky because on a daily basis I get to share in incredibly tender human moments. It is truly an honor to be an acupuncturist, to see these changes big and small, life changing, earth shattering. It reminds me that we all go through this. We are all on this ride together.

It has been an incredibly challenging decision to leave all that 513 Valencia has held for me, for us, and our time together. However, I am excited to make a bigger impact with Chinese medicine, and all the human tenderness that happens on a daily basis. I will be focusing most of my time on Well in the West’s new Seasonal Health Coaching program. It will be launching in the fall.

I will still be seeing patients privately in my home in Berkeley for now. And if you want to keep in touch on what treatment options, education I am offering, please hop on the newsletter for Well in the West. I will sometimes bare my soul, and sometimes give you recipes. It all goes together.

With great love & tenderness for all your healing,

Lauren Kaneko-Jones


If you want to stay in San Francisco I have three options of people I want to refer you to.

1.     Affordable acupuncture, sliding scale, private consultations, sit in a recliner in a room of four. San Francisco Community Acupuncture. If you are interested in going there, let me know and I can try to pair you with a practitioner I think would be a good fit for you!

2.     Mid range acupuncture – small treatment room, two tables. Tara the acupuncturist, recommends you see her twice a week. Her treatments are $60, but she will honor the SWAP rate of $50 for you.

3.     Private acupuncture + bodywork + intuitive work – Courtney Moore Acupuncture

Cleansing with Cupping

The topics of cleansing and detoxing have long been touted for their powerful effects on health. While many people are left wondering what exactly that means and how to do that. The answer in Chinese medicine is always 'it depends'. It depends on your personal body type and what is best for you. It depends what your state of health is. It depends on the season, your amount of stress, the strength of your system, what you are eating and drinking, how you are sleeping. It always depends. 

A cleanse could be 

  • eliminating certain foods especially, dairy, sugar, meat
  • eliminating certain drinks especially that triple cappucino or nightly glass of wine
  • adding in lots of healthy veggies and fruits
  • drinking lots of water

Who needs a cleanse

  • if you are having allergies
  • for women any PMS or intense hormonal fluctuation
  • tight neck, shoulders, migraines
  • digestive issues, constipation, loose stools, indigestion, stomach aches
  • getting sick often

If you are having any of these symptoms making some dietary and lifestyle changes to support your body in cleansing can be greatly helpful. Cupping and acupuncture will GREATLY improve the process of your cleanse. 

WHY CUPPING - cupping has the unique ability to pull toxins from deep within the body out to the superficial layer (hence the crazy marks that happen from cupping). This process of drawing toxins up and out lets the Liver and Kidneys do their job of filtration. If you are cleansing and not getting any sort of body work, you are likely ignoring old toxins that have gotten lodged a bit deeper in your system. 

cupping selfie



If you have marks that are dark like these in the photo. If they are dark and purpley, they will likely take 7-10 days to completely fade. But getting a regular series of cupping will greatly help your body's system get back on track. AND you will likely feel more energy, have way less symptoms






While the marks look painful cupping usually feels really great. Sometimes the cups have very strong sensation, but as soon as they are released your neck and back will feel a ton of relief. 


Take it easy after a cupping session!!! 

Keep your neck and back covered! Seriously covered. Close your window when you sleep at night, don't sit in front of the fan, keep your windows up when you're driving and avoid wind getting into your body. 

  • No sex for 24-48 hrs
  • Eat a good healthy meal
  • Avoid / limit alcohol
  • Drink a lot of water, herbal teas. 
  • Go to bed and sleep!
  • Your Liver & Kidney are BUSY dealing with all the old toxins that we just released. Please don't give them more immediate work to do. 

WHY ACUPUNCTURE - Acupuncture is incredible at supporting both your Liver system and your Kidney system which likely need a little support if you are having any of the above symptoms. Once the cups pull out toxins to the surface level the acupuncture can help move it all out of your body. 

New Year, New You... or new animal cycle - 2017 Year of the Rooster

chinese new year rooster

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Saturday January 28th marks the beginning of the Lunar and Chinese New Year! It is a time to celebrate and it is when we see more shifts happen than January 1st, which is the time most of us are celebrating the New Year.

February 8, 2016 - January 27, 2016 has been the year of the monkey, fast paced, mischievous and a bit hard to understand. The year of the rooster is going to bring a very different pace of life. 

While the issues we have don't just melt away on New Year's Eve, or at the turn of the Lunar New Year, the tempo and mood about them can. 

Last year felt like a runaway bus for many of us, challenge after challenge. I know I, and many others got blind-sighted by a diagnosis, death of a loved one or another big transition. While all of these surprises shifted internal change, they were external forces. What we are seeing as we shift into rooster energy is a higher consciousness and waking up. There are many personal transitions that have been ready to happen and we needed the monkey to disrupt us in order to make the changes. *I am by NO means saying this is easy, or necessary to make changes, but it is happening this way right now.

The rooster is the animal of waking up. It likes routine, and likes others to know about it. We will, personally and societally be waking up to things that we previously had blinders on for. 

As I mentioned above, it is not as if problems and challenges melt away this year. It is more that, routine, and a more ready awake-ness will help us to see things coming and be prepared for them.

It is more important than ever to find the routines that suit your well-being.

The basics - 

  • self-care showers + baths (I'm talking candles, fancy soap, and time alone)
  • eating 3-5 meals a day
  • sleep (7 or more hours, we think 8 is standard, but with transition, people do better with 9-10)

Stepping up your self-care - 

  • cooking healthy food at home for meals at home and on the go
  • bringing healthy snacks with you
  • decreasing caffeine
  • regular exercise
  • Saying no to things 
  • going to bed on time and getting up on time (cutting screen time, caffeine and supporting your body to get to sleep when you're ready)

Asking for help -

  • acupuncture
  • massage
  • therapy
  • spa days
  • retreats
  • buying healthy already made food

As always taking care of yourself is vital to this year! Happy Rooster Year!

Why getting Acupuncture, Cupping & Moxa in Autumn is VITAL for your health

In the Autumn your body is adapting to the changing season. Each day the light lasts a little bit less, and it’s easy to get depressed, more stressed, a bit depressed.

If you have kids or work in the schools there is a sudden influx of exposure to other people’s germs, and life experience. The combo of less light (less vitamin D, which is an immune and mood enhancer) as well as being inside with more people tends to pass around a variety of viruses and bacteria for the season.

I have AMAZING news for you, if you come in regularly (once a week, every 2 weeks, or once a month) your immune system will say THANK YOU THANK YOU, I FEEL GREAT.

autumn san francisco health acupuncture

 Benefits of Acupuncture for Fall

  • supports immune system
  • Moves digestion
  • Helps to moisten lungs & large intestine
  • Expels any phlegm
  • Gets rid of lingering colds
  • Can alleviate grief and sadness



With over three years of clinical experience and treating thousands of patients, one of the simplest lessons I have learned is that transition is incredibly hard on our bodies. Autumn is a season of transition.

Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine can keep you balanced, adapted, and healthy through the fall. If you often get sick, or allergies, or have digestive issues in the fall, come get acupuncture, and maybe moxa or cupping. Read more here:

Benefits of Cupping

  • great for supporting immune system
  • Releasing tight muscles (this also helps to keep you from getting sick)
  • Improving circulation to vital organs
  • Detoxifying your system

What is Cupping? read more here

Benefits of Moxa

  • warm the system
  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce scarring
  • Increase energy
  • Boost immunity

What is Moxa? - read more here

 This is a season that your Lungs & Large Intestine are most prone to ailments. If you have any constitutional* weaknesses like

  • dry lungs, dry cough
  • catching colds & flus often
  • allergies & asthma
  • constipation
  • lots of sadness & old grief surfacing


It’s a great time to support your body by paying attention to your diet, making sure you drink enough water and move your body.  These are always important, but especially connected to both of these organs. They are both ways that help clean out your body. So inputting less toxins can be a great relief as well.

FALL FEELINGS – as we dive into darker days, it’s important to remember the things we want to let go of.

The Lungs are our upper filter, our respirator and intake lots of air, and then blow it out. Think of your emotions that way too, the Lungs both intake and release. However, if they are compromised, (you are not exercising, you have a lot of old emotions that are coming up for you, maybe you just lost something or someone) it’s very easy for them to get stuck. When the Lungs are compromised symptoms like, shortness of breath, melancholy, depression, lots of grief take over.

The Large intestine is our lower filter. Its greatest function is “letting go”. While it (hopefully) provides a daily bowel movement, it also are important for helping us let go emotionally. If you are getting a little constipated – I will always ask, "Are you holding on to anything emotionally?"

Since these organs are BOTH so vital to our daily well being. They are also always being used, they are important to pay attention to on a regular basis, and they are easy to help!

Wishing you lots of Wellness - enjoy your season of letting go! 

*constitution – the foundation of your body, your DNA, your predispositions. Some people are hearty and have strong immune systems, others feel like they are always fighting a cold.


Cure-All Health Secret for an easy life.... or not

I am going to let you in on a little secret. I am always looking for the cure-all health solution. 

I would love that one supplement / that one vacation / a break in nature / that one healer / one acupuncture treatment / one super juice / one special food to CURE - ALL.

It would be heaven on earth, if I take / do / leave / see that person / pay that person / drink that juice than all would be well. If that would make all well. If that would take away aches, pains, heartaches, sadness, depression, anxiety, insomnia, GI issues, menstrual issues, injury.... I would do it.

While knowing that there is absolutely not one cure-all, there is still a part of me that seeks this. 

GIVE ME THE MAGIC BULLET.  I seek the secret, the cure-all. 

What could I do, to take away my pain? What can protect me from shame, or heartbreak or hard stuff? What can make me immune to illness, accidents and physical pain?

This seeking got me into acupuncture and Chinese medicine. I had hope that if I learned enough about the ancient ways of healing, that somehow I could skip the human experience. I took herbs to get rid of symptoms, I got acupuncture to lessen pain. But I lived my life the same way, over and over. I got stressed, I ate the same food, and nothing changed.

There is a simple saying, "If you change nothing, nothing changes."

If you eat all the kale in the world, it won't cure your skin if you are still in a job you hate, in a relationship you don't enjoy. Doing #yogaeverydamnday won't do much if you don't slow down to absorb your workouts and take time to let your brain expand with its powerful teachings. Acupuncture only goes so far, if you don't wind down before bed, change what you are eating or take a couple days off of work.

It is so frustrating and disheartening when we get sick and injured, but those moments are great opportunities to learn something. Don't get me wrong, they are fucking uncomfortable. I do not wish these things upon myself or upon you. But they are real life, and part of the human experience.

I will tell you that there is nothing better than self-care when times are hard. There is nothing better than slowing down. All you can do is pay attention, and try your damnedest to stay open, loving towards yourself and towards the world.

Things that do help:

-talk about it, tell someone what hurts. friends, spouses, therapists, acupuncturists, tell them.

-eat. eat something. If you can eat a healthy meal, it will greatly help you, but if you just need to eat, then eat.

-drink water. so simple. Our bodies are made up of so much water and when we are dehydrated it only contributes to the challenge.

-sleep. GO.TO.BED. if you can't sleep, get acupuncture, take herbs. But this is serious, lots will look different in the morning.

-get acupuncture :) Like I said above, it doesn't do much if you don't do much, but it can help, for real.

Any other ideas you have or things you do to take care of yourself?