Licorice Sticks

Licorice is one of the most widely used herbs in the world, and likely20150623_815838 the most commonly used herb in Chinese medicine today. Why is this? Well, simply put, it’s a very likable herb. Licorice is like the person you meet for the first time and immediately feel you’re best friends. It’s the herb in the room that makes everyone a little nicer, a little more harmonious. It does this because it is very mild and sweet, and yet so wise and effective. We now carry licorice sticks at CAC – a traditional remedy of chewing on the root until all that is left is the fibrous remains. So, why would you want to chew on licorice?

  • Digestion – Licorice is great for soothing upset stomachs, boosting digestive power, and even relieving toxicity from food poisoning. Also, it’s mildly sweet flavor will have your taste buds buzzing with delight. You can chew on licorice in the midst of an upset stomach or as a way to enhance you digestion in general.
  • Sore throat – Licorice has a way of gently moistening the throat and lungs to relieve sore and itchy throats as well as coughing. Chewing on licorice can be a great go-to remedy while your healing from a cold or trying to stave off any seasonal bugs that may want to find residence in your throat.
  • Food and smoking cravings – Licorice is actually used as a flavoring in cigarettes. So for those weening off of smoking, chewing on licorice can fulfill a two-fold function of satisfying both the urge to have something in the mouth and the flavor of the cigarettes. Licorice sticks are also a great for those working with curbing sugar cravings, as the root has some natural sweetness, but the act of chewing into the root limits how much you can actually extract.
  • Anxiety –  Licorice, being the amiable and wise sage that it is, will soothe feelings of anxiety as well. It has a placating and comforting effect on the spirit. It’s a great plant to go to if you find yourself feeling anxious, irritable, or scared.

It would take a long time to list all of the healing properties of licorice. Part of the beauty of this plant and why it is so effective is that it makes everything around it work better. It brings out the best in our digestive system, our detoxification system, our adrenal system. It’s that little dose of medicine when you need things to move a little smoother in your life.

Come in and ask us about our licorice sticks and see if you can benefit from this plant. Licorice should be avoided if you’re pregnant, have hypertension, liver disorder, edema, low blood potassium, or heart disease.

Posted in community acupuncture

POCA Fest!

This month, CAC’s acupuncturist, Seth, & office manager, Hannah, traveled to beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida for the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA) yearly 3-day conference. POCA is the organization behind the creation and support of community acupuncture clinics, including City Acupuncture Circle.


We attended several classes a day on how to best run a community acupuncture clinic, clinical recommendations for community acupuncturists, and the social justice aspects of providing affordable medicine. Some stand-out classes included, “People’s History of Community Acupuncture,” which detailed the forgotten history of the unexpected role of the Black Panther party in bringing acupuncture to the fore-front in America (see this article for a bit more information), “Pediatrics in Community Acupuncture,” and “Trauma Informed Care.”


Just in time for CAC offering herbs to patients, we attended a class which included lots of tips for how to integrate an herbal program into a community acupuncture setting. Come in and ask about our new herbal offerings and look out for a future blog post with more information!


Clinics, acupuncturists, patients, and supporters can all become POCA members to support better access to acupuncture to all. This month POCA is holding a membership drive for discounted prices to support this fantastic organization that is doing so much to make acupuncture accessible to all people.

Posted in community acupuncture

CAC Lecture: Introduction to Chinese Medicine

IMG_1702Have you ever wondered how acupuncture works? Or how this ancient healing modality has survived for thousands of years and remains as popular and as effective as ever?

This Sunday, JoseLo Gutierrez L.Ac., will be holding a lecture at EPIC YOGA  (up the street from City acupuncture Clinic on 1323 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036) to explore these questions through a stimulating presentation and discussion.

We’ll talk about the basic history and theory of acupuncture, including yin/yang theory, the Five Elements, and the meridian system.

You will leave not only with a better understanding of why your tight shoulders feel better after treatment, but also how that relates to why you feel lighter and more positive in your spirit and emotions.

We’ll focus on what Chinese medicine has to say about Springtime and how to align ourselves with this season for good health and harmonious emotions.

Sunday, April 23rd
City Acupuncture Circle
Sliding scale cost $20-50
Space is limited – email us at to RSVP!
Posted in community acupuncture

Hiring New Acupuncturist!





DC Licensed Acupuncturist wanted!

We provide top quality community acupuncture care to a vibrant, multi-diverse population in downtown DC. Our clinic requires a flexible practitioner who is quick on their feet, sharp in mind and open at heart, all with the highest ethical standards.

CITY ACUPUNCTURE CIRCLE offers full body acupuncture treatments, cupping, and gua sha to patients on an affordable sliding scale.

Half shifts and full shifts available.

Inquire about details, including pay and benefits.

Posted in community acupuncture

Chinese Medicine Course in Cuernavaca

Our most recent intensive 40 hr course about Chinese medicine in Cuernavaca Mexico was lots of fun and a great success! We learned about the law of the 5 elements and the theory of yin yang applied to acupuncture – enlightening and inspiring.
We explored the foundations of the Earth School, a commonly used set of protocols at CAC. This system states that all healing processes can be enhanced by strengthening our digestion and calming the mind.
We practiced Qi Gong under the gentle morning sun while tracing the trajectories of the acupuncture meridians.
We learned about essential oils and basic dietary principles within Chinese medicine, applied Cups to each other and also learned to do Guasha.
We enjoyed the Tepoztlan market and hiked to the Pyramid on top of the mount. We had lot of fun exotic, authentic Mexican food and made good friends.
The group was very eclectic and diverse: a few patients from CAC in DC and Mexico interested in leaning more about Chinese medicine, a couple of MD’s from US and Mexico, a psychologist from France, and a couple of massage therapists.
We realize this info is so rich and empowering, that people from different paths of life could make the best of it and put to use to best suite their interests – from self healing to considering learning new healing skills, or simply to meditate and contemplate the beauty of this medicine.
Everyone is invited to join in for upcoming courses this spring, summer and fall!
Email us, and we’ll keep you in the loop as details arise…
Posted in community acupuncture, Courses, cupping, Earth, Five elements

Happy Year of the Fire Rooster!

Happy Chinese New Year! We are beginning the year of the Fire Rooster according to Chinese astrology and the start of Spring has begun!

It may not feel like spring outside, but see if you can be aware of a growth starting inside of yourself. Maybe you notice an upwards movement to your emotions and energy, a rising desire for change, justice, and action. When anger and frustration is appropriate, see if you can channel that energy into action, rather than dwell in stuck-ness. We have the energy of spring at our side that will continue to grow through the next few months and make us flexible and firm in the face of unexpected shifts.

The year of the Fire Rooster will be a powerful one. This is a year to enhance your virtues of dedication, loyalty, and hard work. Be particular about what you choose to focus on so that you can give it all you have. And remember that the nature of fire is unpredictable and sometimes alarming. Ride the wave and know that we all have deep well of wisdom and silence to draw on for strength and perseverance.

Posted in community acupuncture

Healthy Digestion

spleenboxThis Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks to our bodies for digesting our food day in and day out. Many people struggle with bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, constipation, and diarrhea. How can we ease our digestion and help us have less pain?

  • During and after eating, avoid excess thinking. Our mind likes to “chew on things” just as our stomach does. If we are thinking too much in addition to eating, we are taxing our ability to break down food. Just as we need to simply chew our food, enjoy it, and let it go down, we need to learn how to let go of thoughts when they are no longer useful or enjoyable thinking about them.
  • Roasted Barley or Hawthorne Berry tea. Barley is especially helpful in digesting starch and dairy, while Hawthorne berries are great for fats and meat.
  • The stomach needs to be the right temperature. Too hot and you get things like burning and belching. Too cold and you get pain and loss of appetite. Avoid excess spicy foods (peppers, garlic, ginger, and alcohol) or cold foods (which includes iced drinks and ice cream, but also raw vegetables, smoothies, and dairy), and instead eat warm foods that are easy to digest. Things like soup, oatmeal, congee, and steamed or sautéed vegetables are great warming foods.
  • Eat seasonal. We’re going into winter time. Although many of us can still buy pineapples, bananas, and mangos, this isn’t the time our body actually likes to eat those things. Tropical fruits are cold and damp in nature, which is great when it is hot and dry in the summer, but not when it is already cold and damp outside! Go for your local apples.
  • Eat at regular intervals. Our digestive system likes regularity. Meals at the same time, in the same portion. Aim for regular meals that aren’t too small or huge (OK, except for on Thanksgiving!)
Posted in community acupuncture

Stop Icing

stopicing1We often hear from patients that they are icing their sore muscles or injuries. Many doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and other medical professions recommend the use of ice for just about any injury. So the following point may come as a shock to many: do not use ice!

The widespread use of ice as part of the injury recovery process is relatively new. In the late 70s, Dr. Gabe Mirkin created the acronym for people to remember the key steps to recovery: RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Many know this acronym. What many don’t know is that Dr. Mirkin has since redacted the idea, citing a lot of research which shows that ice actually slows healing.

The main idea is easy to understand: if you make an area cold, the blood flow will decrease. This is effective for reducing inflammation. But the problem is that acute inflammation is actually necessary for activating the body’s immune response and starting a quick and speedy recovery. Without inflammation, the body doesn’t release certain hormones, like Insulin-like growth Factor IGF-1, which helps tissue re-grow.

Take away blood flow and you take away the body’s natural ability to heal the area. The more you use ice, the longer it takes for the body to heal and the more pain you have. The more pain you have, the more you want to use ice. It can be a vicious cycle.

Though in some very severe circumstances you may want to stop blood flow and inflammation (such as a severed limb), in the vast majority of situations this is not desirable. To get the same sort of pain relief that ice provides, without slowing the healing process, try herbal products like San Huang San, known as “herbal ice”.

Not only does using ice slow the healing process; from a Chinese medicine perspective when applied to a joint, ice will bring cold and damp deep into the joints. Cold and damp in the joints basically equals arthritis. This is why osteoarthritis is much more common in cold damp climates like Seattle or London than it is in hot dry climates like Phoenix. Some would argue that the widespread use of ice has and will continue to contribute (in addition to other factors like lack of exercise) to rising numbers of osteoarthritis.

If you really want to use ice after an injury, use it only within the first 6 or so hours for about 10 minutes and follow it with 15 minutes of heat. Once you’re past the acute stage (first day or two), use heat, which will increase circulation of blood and fluids and hasten your recovery time!

Posted in community acupuncture

Cupping: The Olympic Treatment

FamousDC came to City Acupuncture Circle to try out cupping! Watch below to see JoseLo give a demonstration of various types of cupping techniques at our clinic. Come in to try out it out — cupping treats muscle tension, swelling, and acute or chronic pain. It’s great for hard-core athletes (like the Michael Phelps out there) and your everyday aches and pains.

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Posted in community acupuncture, cupping

Acupuncture for All People

As a community acupuncture clinic, we are committed to a mission of health and social justice. We strive to give the best care to the most amount of people possible, regardless of age, gender, or race.

The gold standard for ethics in Chinese medicine comes from one of the most famous ancient practitioners of acupuncture and herbs: Sun Simao, who wrote what is coined “the Chinese hippocratic oath.” In these sometimes turbulent and divisive times which call for a renewed and passionate dedication to social justice, this code of ethics is still an essential text for Chinese Medicine practitioners.

“If anyone comes to me because of an illness or any other difficulty I will not concern myself with whether they are powerful or humble, rich or poor, old or young, beautiful or ugly… I will think of each of them of them as a close and loved relative – or indeed as if it was I who had been struck down by an illness.”

May we extend this thought to all we come across, realizing we all have the ability to heal and support each other. And may our clinic serve as a healing space for all people.

Read the whole Healer’s Oath by Sun Simiao here.


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Posted in community acupuncture
In the heart of Dupont circle
1221 Connecticut Avenue Suite 5B Washington, D.C. 20036 202.300.8428