Category Archives: Seattle Acupuncture

The Benefits of Acupressure: 19 Blogposts Using Acupressure to Improve Your Well-Being

Acupressure is a treatment modality within Traditional Chinese Medicine: any energy point that can benefit from acupuncture with an acupuncture needle can also benefit from manual stimulation with your finger to achieve a similar benefit.  The following article was graciously provided to us by the administrator at Share a Nanny Blog:  


Acupressure has been used for centuries as a means for treating the body and mind.  You can do acupressure on yourself or have a specialist do it for you. By applying pressure to certain points called acupressure points it is believed that you can fix the energy flow (or chi) in the body.  These 19 blogs will provide charts and illustrations to show the acupressure points and explain how acupressure can help with pain reduction, physical ailments and overall relaxation.

Pain Reduction

Acupressure is a drug free way to help relieve pain in different areas of the body.  You can even use acupressure during labor to help ease the pain of childbirth.  If your foot hurts, there’s a pressure point for that, but it’s different than the pressure point used for back pain. Each area of the body will be explained, along with techniques regarding pain relief in specific areas.

  • Pressure Points for Neck & Shoulder Pain: There’s a point between your index and middle finger that you can press to alleviate pain in your neck and shoulders.  This post will explain how to find and press it.
  • Acupressure for Menstrual Pain:  If you suffer from pain with your period, this blog post is for you, as it explains and illustrates where pressure should be applied on the leg to relieve period pain.
  • Acupressure Points for the Hips, Low Back & Sciatica:  In this article you can find a sketch and a picture that show you where to apply pressure and an explanation for how to apply the pressure for the best relief of hip pain.
  • Pressure Point Massage Relieves Jaw Pain:  This blog contains a helpful video that shows where and how to massage to relieve your jaw pain.
  • Shoulder & Neck Acupressure Points: This video explains in detail how to find the pressure points and how you can apply pressure to specific points yourself to relieve pain and stress in your neck and shoulders.

Physical Ailments

If you are suffering with insomnia, there are acupressure points to help you fall asleep faster.  There are acupressure points all over your body to help other issues, such as allergies, snoring, nausea, a cold or even cancer.  This alternative treatment allows you to avoid medicines that may have negative side effects.

  • Acupressure for Colds & Flus:  Several pressure points are explained in this article, as well as how pressure should be applied in order to get relief from the common cold and flu symptoms.
  • Treat Snoring with Acupressure: This article explains how you can wear a ring called an acupressure ring while you sleep that may stop you from snoring.
  • Acupressure for Nausea: If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, you may have seen people wearing acupressure bracelets.  These special bracelets apply pressure on the wrist to help reduce or stop nausea.  This article explains more about this pressure point.
  • Acupressure Massage:  Several conditions that can be treated with acupressure are listed on this blog post, such as weight loss and speeding up labor during childbirth.
  • Acupressure to Induce Labor:  A clear explanation of how to apply pressure to start labor can be found on this post.
  • Acupressure & Reflexology Charts Collection: You can find a comprehensive collection of acupressure charts on this post.
  • Essential Oils & Acupressure Points for Allergies: Several steps are explained regarding how to relieve allergy symptoms with a combination of essential oils and pressure points.


After a long day at work you may need to relax the muscles in your neck and your back, especially if you sit in a desk chair all day.  Acupressure treatments can relieve tight muscles and help you to relax.

The author of this blog Monica Legatt LAc would like to thank the administrator of Share A Nanny for sharing this blogpost.  Make sure to visit for extensive information on choosing, employing and sharing a nanny, parenting tips and other useful topics for parents!



Acupuncture for Lactation & Milk Supply


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is highly effective for treating lactation problems and without negative side effects.  It is a system of medicine deriving from East Asia that is thousands of years old: it includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage, nutrition, lifestyle guidance and less-known treatment modalities such as cupping and moxibustion.  Depending on your specific diagnosis, one or several of these healing modalities will be part of your treatment protocol.  Choosing a practitioner who is experienced treating women during pregnancy and post-partum is important if you are facing lactation challenges.

In TCM lactation disorders fall into two distinct categories: low milk supply or milk not flowing.  Mastitis makes up a third category that I will explain later.  Low milk supply is a diagnosis of insufficient energy (called Chi) and blood supply in the mother.  Milk not flowing or problems with let-down are diagnosed as stagnation of energy (chi) preventing milk from moving down the ducts and out of the nipple.  It is not unusual for a mother to have a combination of deficiency (lack of energy and blood) and stagnation (unable to let-down or express the milk) at the same time.

In TCM it is understood that a woman’s menstrual blood is converted into breast milk once her baby is born.  This is the same blood that was going to the placenta prior to birth.  Energy (chi) is required to convert her blood into milk, and blood itself is required to become the milk.  A predisposition toward anemia or blood loss during delivery can result in a low supply of the mother’s blood resulting in poor milk supply.  Exhaustion due to labor and sleep deprivation can prevent the mother’s body from producing milk because there is not enough energy to generate the milk. 

When chi (energy) and blood supply is deficient causing low milk supply, the treatment plan will include acupuncture, possibly an herbal prescription and nutritional guidance.  Nutrition is a very important component of the treatment for low milk supply.  Any food that is good for the production of blood in the mother will help with milk supply.  This includes organic red meats, fish, eggs, and collagen-rich soups made from ham-hocks or chicken with the skin included in the soup stock.  When nursing, it is especially important for a mother to eat organic and free-range meats and poultry if possible.  If the mother is vegetarian, a protein-rich diet is important.  Milk Makers cookies to support milk supply are an excellent daily addition to the diet of a woman with chi and blood deficiency because the cookies include specific ingredients that help increase her chi (energy) and blood production, thereby increasing milk supply.  A TCM practitioner who is experienced treating breastfeeding patients will go over additional nutritional advice extensively with you. 

Stagnation or blockage of energy (chi) in and around the breasts prevents the milk from flowing and impairs let-down.  Stagnation can lead to breast fullness, distension, pain, pressure and engorgement.  Stagnation is also a cause of mastitis.  In TCM the primary cause of this blockage is emotional: feelings of being stressed-out, anger, resentment, frustration and depression.  These emotions cause stagnation of the energy of the liver energy channel. In TCM the liver channel controls the woman’s nipple function and also can facilitate or block the flow of energy and by extension milk in the surrounding energy channels and ducts in the breast.  Stagnation causing problems with let-down and milk flow is treated most effectively with acupuncture, massage therapy and by keeping the mother away from any sources of emotional stress. 

Mastitis is a combination of stagnation of chi, blood and milk in combination with infection.  Combining Western medicine with TCM to treat mastitis is more effective than Western medicine by itself.  Antibiotics prescribed by your physician will clear up the infection, and a combination of acupuncture, massage, herbs and medicinal compresses for the breast can alleviate the blocked chi and blood and milk in the breast, thereby reducing engorgement and inflammation.   Herbal prescriptions can be combined safely with antibiotics as a treatment protocol and are also safe for the breastfeeding infant.  In addition to the above mentioned treatments, expressing milk as often as possible either manually, via nursing, or with a pump is very crucial in the successful treatment of mastitis.

Whatever your particular breastfeeding challenge is, consulting with a professional lactation consultant is helpful.  I recommend finding a qualified IBCLC.  

If you have any questions about Traditional Chinese Medicine and lactation please don’t hesitate to contact me online at


Outside Her Head: an Interview with Monica Legatt by Nisi Shawl


Receiving acupuncture treatments always causes questions to rise up in me. Maybe because that sort of thing happens to everybody? Or maybe it only happens to me, because I’m a writer? There I go again….

I sent Monica some of my questions via email and she answered a few. I’ve split our exchange into two posts. Here, for starters are her responses about getting started.

NS: Do you think of yourself more as an acupuncturist or as a practitioner of Chinese medicine?

ML: I definitely consider myself a practitioner of an entire system of medicine, not just acupuncture, which is only one modality of treatment within Traditional Chinese Medicine. Washington State recently changed my medical license title to East Asian Medicine Practitioner instead of Licensed Acupuncturist to reflect that. 

NS: What drew you to this practice?

ML: I was drawn to the study of alternative medicine when I took a class on it in college from a professor who began his career as a Western medicine physician. He said to me that the cause of disease in human beings is spiritual:

 by the time illness manifests in the physical body it is very hard to treat.

So he left the medical field to pursue a career in ministry, and eventually became a professor of religious studies at the University of Puget Sound, which is where he taught me from 1988 to 1992. His name is Richard Overman, and I consider him to be my first and most important mentor. His class was really about healing within medical traditions that are not divorced from a spiritual or religious origin.

 My area of interest at the time was esoteric religious traditions. Examples of these might be Sufism, or Zen Buddhism, or the Gnostic gospels within Christianity. I thought seriously about pursuing graduate studies in East Asian Religions such as Buddhism and Taoism, but decided to study acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine instead because

I wanted to practice concepts found in these traditions instead of being an academic and staying “in my head.”

NS: Are there other motivations for becoming a practitioner of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine?

ML: My teacher Richard Overman (mentioned above) told me something I’ve remembered all of my life. He said that very often people are attracted to the psychological and medical fields as students because what they are really seeking is to be healed. They do not end up being good practitioners of medicine or psychology, but they abound in schools for these disciplines.

It’s one thing to study a healing art form academically and it is something completely different to practice it with skill.  

My aim has always been to do the latter.


Interview conducted by author Nisi Shawl


I Am Strong; I’m Invisible by Nisi Shawl


I’m not who people see. None of us are, but I’m really, really not. I’m disabled, though looking at me you’d never think so. I have fibromyalgia, one of hundreds of “invisible” disabilities, and one that I and others are calling on acupuncture to address. Migraines, respiratory illness, multiple sclerosis, depression–the list of nonobvious medical conditions goes on and on. My mother taught me never to assume those I encounter are having an easy time of it; almost every day I’m thankful to have learned that lesson.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain and fatigue. Hard to see those. A counselor once asked me how friends would know I was in pain. “I would gasp, or moan, or yell,” I said. It had never occurred to me to simply tell people.

Invisible disabilities are isolating.

If I sit in the disabled folks area when I get on the bus I risk getting the stink-eye from those who presume I’m as healthy as they are. Or healthier. My doctor had no way to gauge my pain till I saw her for an ear infection. She examined me and got a visual point of reference for the scale of my suffering. Her sudden sympathy made me cry, though most of the time I’m able not to.

Most of the time I grit my teeth and go on.


Going on is easier lately because I have hope. Hope in something invisible. It’s hard–in fact, pretty much impossible–to see the meridians acupuncturists use to treat patients. Charts show lines with names such as “Triple Warmer” netting diagrams of bodies (usually male). On these lines are strung–like beads–points helpfully labeled “D-7” and “Gv-24” and so forth. Acupuncturists feel these lines and points. The charts are visualizations of a nonvisual phenomenon.

Maybe I should make a chart of what’s wrong with me. But it comes and goes. It changes. I’ve compared fibromyalgia to living an episode of “I Love Lucy.”  “I’ll stub my left toe,” I complained to a woman at the Y, “and 15 minutes later my right one hurts.” Pain is my default setting. Unlike some other invisible disabilities such as certain kinds of arthritis or neurological disorders, conventional medicine can find no firm basis for what I and my fellow sufferers go through.

Acupuncture diagnoses focus on energy imbalances revealed by symptoms. There’s an explanation for my invisible disability, and it’s rooted in understanding a model of an invisible system within my body. That makes sense to me.



Acupuncture for the Respiratory System and Voice: a “Wicked” patient testimonial!

Recently this Winter I was honored to treat with acupuncture three different cast members from the touring Broadway musical Wicked.  I absolutely love musical theatre, especially having a background in dance, so I was really excited when first one, and then two more members of the cast came to see me in my Seattle office for treatment.

Acupuncture is helpful for throat conditions and the vocal cords as well as respiratory conditions like bronchitis, sinusitis, and allergic rhinitis.  I have worked with many touring singers through the years who were performing at The Paramount Theatre for conditions such as these because the combination of dampness and cold in our Seattle climate can cause them.

I just received this totally “wicked” testimonial: thanks so much P.H.  !!

“I came through Seattle with the national tour of “Wicked” and immediately had a reaction to the climate change, developing bronchitis and acid reflux, which I have never suffered as a singer before. After going to more than one traditional ENTs and getting all kinds of prescription medication that actually made me feel worse, I turned to Monica, hoping that she could help me get back in the show. After just 2 treatments and taking the herbs she gave me, as well as following the diet guidelines she had suggested, I felt so much better, both physically and mentally. She was always there to answer any questions I had and to fit me into her schedule whenever she could. I continued to see Monica until I left Seattle, and every single visit was a calming, healing experience. She has changed my entire opinion of acupuncture and opened my mind to a whole new way of health and wellness. I’m just sad that she doesn’t live in New York, where I’m from!” 


Thanks Monica!




Let’s All Get in our Little Bubbles…. by Nisi Shawl




What does it feel like? People who’ve never had acupuncture fixate on the needles and getting poked by pointy things. For me, that’s not what treatment is about.

 Let me take you through a session with Monica Legatt, a typical one for me.

 Sitting in a quiet room I answer Monica’s questions about my symptoms. I stick out my tongue and waggle it around at her. She leaves while I settle onto the massage table and arrange my clothing so she’ll have access to the areas where she’s going to stimulate me. Currently that’s my feet, lower legs, belly, wrists, shoulders, and forehead.

 A soft knock and Monica re-enters. I have my glasses off, so everything’s a blur, but I know from past visits that the needles she unwraps from crinkling envelopes are very, very fine–very nearly wires rather than needles.

 Before each insertion she tells me where she’s placing the next needle and why. Most of the time my level of discomfort is roughly the same as if I were plucking a hair from my eyebrows. Often Monica makes small adjustments in a needle to ensure it’s doing what needs to be done.

The result is a bit hard to describe: It’s like that pull and click when a magnet clings to a refrigerator door. Like getting a dance step right. Even though I’m not moving.

 Occasionally Monica warns me I’m going to experience something more due to a particular needle’s insertion. “This is a strong point,” she’ll say, or “This could be pretty hot,” or “This is probably going to be kind of shocky.” She’s usually right. My reaction to a “strong” stimulation can take the form of a not-unpleasant sort of flutter in my muscles or a slight cramp. “Hot” is the right word for the way that a hot stimulation feels. My least favorite is “shocky,” which can range from a mild tingle to–once–a wild buzz I yelped out loud at.

 Within seconds, all this mutes to the barest whispers of sensation. Monica leaves me alone on the table for a timeless time of meditation and fizzing light. I honestly can’t say how long this part of a treatment session lasts. I should be able to, because acupuncture appointments are scheduled, and when they end I check my watch to figure out which bus to catch. Got to be less than an hour.

 I lie still enough not to disturb the needles. I lie comfortably, dreaming yet awake. If I keep my eyes open I may see haloes of color emanating from objects on the ceiling. If I close them it’s to concentrate on pulses of–pleasure’s too loaded a word. “Pulses of relaxation” comes closer to what I’m trying to say. But that implies passivity…pulses of well-being? Whatever they are, Ilike them a lot.

  I’m never bored.

 This, for me, is the core, the essence of how acupuncture feels.

 After a while, Monica comes to check on how I’m doing. So far I’ve always been fine, but I appreciate her attentiveness. Eventually she returns once more, removes the needles, and leaves me again to slowly return to verticality. At the front desk I pick up prescribed herbs to reinforce her treatments between sessions.

 In the introduction to the punk classic by X-Ray Spex, “Let’s Submerge,” lead singer Poly Styrene invites listeners to get into our little bubbles and “gently drift down…” That’s what acupuncture does for me: provides a restorative respite from everyday life’s noisy anthem. I float down, then rise up refreshed, ready to sing. Loud.



To learn more about the author, see Nisi Shawl

Acupuncture for IVF

Current research in reproductive medicine shows that acupuncture improves pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing IVF.  Research also demonstrates the effectiveness of Chinese herbs to improve embryo quality in women who have undergone failed IVF cycles.  Acupuncture can help with fertility in many ways, both physically and emotionally.  An excellent example of the successful combination of Traditional Chinese Medicne and IVF comes from my patient Tracy:  

About 9 years ago (2001) my husband and I experienced primary infertility when starting our family. At the time, we were both about 29 years old. We started seeing a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) in 2003. The diagnosis at the time was primary infertility because my husband had a very low sperm count (between 6-12 million.) I also was diagnosed with a bicornuate uterus, but our RE told us that would only be a factor if I couldn’t carry our children to term. Our first treatment plan with our reproductive endocrinologist (RE) was to try IUI’s. On our fourth IUI (our first with Clomid) we were able to conceive our first daughter.

When she was 18 months old we went back to our RE. I knew it would take a little while to get pregnant, but we thought we knew the formula. I was very in tune with my body because we had practiced Natural Family Planning (NFP) in order to avoid pregnancy the first years of our marriage. So when the normal signs of fertility were not occurring during the time I was ovulating, I knew something was wrong. We had tried 7 IUI’s (with Clomid & Follistim,) each one with a much higher sperm count than the cycle I had conceived our daughter on. I spoke with the RE and the nurses about this, but they all had a different answer and none of them made sense to me. Because of the absence of my normal fertility signs, I knew something was wrong with my body.

We decided to start seeing a new RE at another practice. When we did this, they had us redo all the tests we did a few years early. When they took the hormone tests for me they saw that I had an elevated FSH level (12.5.) They told me that if my FSH were any higher I wouldn’t be eligible for IVF. Because it was that high I had a lower chance of conceiving then other women in my age group.

This is when I decided to turn to acupuncture. I read a review about Monica from a lady in England who had been to her a couple of times, but swore Monica was the reason her IVF procedure worked. I decided to give Monica a try.

When I explained everything to Monica, she thought that there were definitely things she could do to help. During my next cycle my fertility signs did return (I know that was because of the acupuncture). My RE had also given me an HSG and ordered an ultrasound and then an MRI to diagnose my uterine anomaly correctly. Finally something showed up that explained the cause of my secondary infertility…a dermoid cyst on my ovary. This needed to be removed before we could proceed with any other procedures. While I was waiting on the surgery I continued to see Monica and continued to get healthier. My husband even went to her to increase and improve his sperm count and motility.

I had the cyst removed and we were able to finally do our first and only IVF cycle in November 2007. Monica was so accommodating during this time. She made sure she was available for us any time of the day while we were going through our procedure. She was there to give me a treatment before & after my cycle which she had to come in on the weekend for.

We were very successful with our procedure, even with my elevated FSH level the RE was able to remove 22 eggs and 16 fertilitized and 7 went to blast stage. She even thought of putting one blast back, but because my age (35) and FSH levels were high she recommended two. They were able to put two grade A eggs back in 5 days later. Needless to say a week and a half after that we found out we were pregnant and a few weeks after that we found out we were having twins.

I really feel like if I were not seeing Monica during this time that I would not have become pregnant. She was understanding and very involved and interested in my overall health. I carried my twins to full term, even with my bicornuate uterus.

Thank you Monica for my wonderful girls!!!!

Tracy H.


See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me

Nisi Shawl here to say why I’m saying things.  And who I am.  And why acupuncture matters.

First point:  Why am I saying things?  Because I want to, and also because I can.  Because Monica Legatt, this blog’s owner, is letting me

Third point:  Why does acupuncture matter?  Because it will probably change your life.  For the better.

Second point: Who am I?  That’s complicated.  To start, let’s summarize: I’m an award-winning author who makes most of my living writing science fiction, fantasy, essays, and book reviews (Google me, or visit my website  for details on that stuff.)  I’m an African American woman, 57 years old.  I’m 5’ 8”, 280 pounds, and a deep-down acupuncture enthusiast.

For most of my life I’ve been a proponent of natural foods and holistic medicine.  As a right and proper hippy in the 70s I worked at a food co-op, then at a natural foods warehouse.  That’s where I got interested in acupressure and shiatsu, the East Asian systems using pressure points along energy meridians to treat medical conditions, which is much like acupuncture’s use of extremely fine needles to stimulate these same points.  I also began consulting the I Ching via the yarrow stalk oracle.   These sorts of interests harmonized well with my growing exploration of the roots of West African spirituality (more about that another time).  Also with my homeopathic doctor’s practice–homeopathy is all about balance and energy, too (more about that, as well, another time).

 But my adventures in acupuncture were bootless till I moved to Seattle and met Monica Legatt.

Twelve years ago I added acupuncture to my health regimen, which included exercise, diet, massage, supplements, and meditation.  Monica seems young to me for a medical practitioner, and of course she was even younger then than now.  But her methods got immediate results.  She did something no one else working on me had done before: she confirmed correct placement of the stimulating needles.  I could feel the unmistakable difference.

She asked for my feedback, and she got it.  The high quality of the treatment she has been giving me in response to that feedback is testament to her expertise.  She sees me–she doesn’t just look, she _sees_.  She makes sure she feels what I’m feeling, touches the points that need touching, heals what must be healed: my migraines, exhaustion, weight issues, and chronic pain.

In part it’s because of her that I am who I am.  Complicated.  Creative.  And enthusiastic when it comes to acupuncture.

I have a bunch more I want to say.  In future posts I plan to write about how an acupuncture session feels to me, and about the correlation between invisible disabilities and non-pharmaceutical modes of treatment, and about balance as a concept in East Asian medicine and West African spirituality.  I have questions to explore: What drew Monica to this particular discipline?  What sort of research validates its usefulness?  Are we truly made of light?

Come back and there’ll be more.  Another time.

Nisi Shawl


 Nisi with her neighbor cat Olive, photo courtesy of Caren Corley, 2010


Acupuncture for Depression

It’s that time of year for many Seattlites: SAD (Seasonal Affect Disoerder) time.  With the long grey days and rain many people suffer from depression in the Winter in the Pacific Northwest.  Acupuncture can help you! Researchers discovered that both acupuncture and electroacupuncture improved the quality of life in depressed patients in this study: 

Acupuncture Ups Antidepressant Therapy – New Research


In the above referenced study patients who were undergoing treatment 

Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

I treat low back pain with acupuncture many times every week, and sometimes many times in one day in my acupuncture office!   I can tell you unequivocally that acupuncture does work wonders for back pain as well as other kinds of pain including migraines, sports injuries, menstrual pain, and abdominal pain.  Acupuncture is without side effects and covered by insurance in Washington State: what have you got to lose by trying it?  This form of medicine has been in existence and flourishing for thousands of years.

Research shows that for chronic low back pain relief in the acupuncture groups was significantly more effective than sham treatment and with no additional treatment. 

If your low back pain is acute, meaning only a few days old at the most, you should have between one and three acupuncture treatments.  If your low back pain is chronic, you should have treatments once per week for a minimum of two months: maybe longer.  You may benefit from a Chinese herbal prescription as well, depending upon your personal circumstances.  

My recommendation in choosing a practitioner is that he or she has experience treating neuromuscular conditions and that he or she is board certified by the NCCAOM.  Acupuncturists who maintain their current diplomate standing with the NCCAOM uphold themselved to the highest standard of continuing education requirements.

Feel free to contact me with questions!  I can be reached at Downtown Seattle Acupuncture.