Her hands, lithe and steady, unwrapped the needle. She took my wrist in her right hand and read my pulse with the deliberate alternation of index, middle and ring fingers. She asked to see my tongue and felt the bulge of flesh between my thumb and index finger.
“What kind of food do you eat?” she asked.
“I eat very unhealthily, mostly meat.”
She nodded and slowly passed a finger back and forth over the fleshy bulge, searching, and placed a needle in the center. The needle clung, bristled and weightless, issuing a faint tingle.
Since the spring of 2006, the Klotz Student Health Center has offered acupuncture in conjunction with a variety of Eastern medicinal techniques with origins dating back to 5000 B.C. Acupuncture stimulates chi circulation (electromagnetic energy), by which the regulation of organs can be manipulated by placing hair-thin needles in a combination of 365 specific points on the body.
Since the program’s inception, Joo Kim has been the Klotz Health Center’s acupuncturist. Available by appointment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Kim is also an herbalist, utilizing acupuncture and patient-specific herbal remedies founded on an individual’s ailment diagnosis.
“Joo (Kim), like any other medical provider, assesses the needs of each person individually and uses an entire range of techniques (to treat a patient),” said health educator Sharon Aronoff.
With the popularization of alternative medicine, Western society, America in particular, has become increasingly receptive to Eastern medical practices.
“To me, Asian medicine makes more sense than Western medicine,” Kim said. “It’s the most natural way to heal a patient.”
In spite of a lack of advertising, Kim has had an abundance of patients, treating mostly headaches, stress anxiety, and muscle and back pain.
“People who want a natural way of easing their pain will use Asian medicine,” Kim said. “Acupuncture and Asian medicine are coming to the mainstream and there are more people that are realizing that it works.”
Kim, a USC fine arts and pre-dental graduate, received her acupuncture training from Dong Guk, a South Korean school in Los Angeles. Kim has been an acupuncturist for five years. She interned at the USC University Park Health Center before offering her services at CSUN.
To effectively counter ailments, Kim often combines different treatments, including Moxibustion, the burning of mugwort in a circular ring strategically placed on an individual’s abdomen to stimulate blood circulation and energy flow.
Meditation is also offered by appointment on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. in a one-hour group session.
“Stress relief is the main focus. But eventually by doing the meditation (you) can strengthen (your) inner health,” Kim said. “Breathing is the most important thing you need to learn before you start meditation. Emptying your mind is second.”
Acupuncture and herbal medicine are offered to students for half hour and hour-long sessions at prices of $10 and $20, respectively, and $40 for faculty and staff members. Meditation is free for students and $5 for faculty and staff members.