Frequently Asked Questions


I started my shiatsu practice in 1997, working at what was then Ohashiatsu Chicago, now Zen Shiatsu Chicago, on Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Other services were added over the following years. My practice, in its present form, came into being in 2007. In that year I joined Inner Gate Therapeutics, at that time located at 2530 Crawford Ave. in Evanston. Inner Gate was established by Miriam Tamara Derman, Marsha Warren, and Carrie Murphy. In 2010 we moved to a much larger space at our present location at 1213 Wilmette Avenue in Wilmette.
My Chicago office has a more recent history. I started giving treatments at Fromthecenter Pilates at 3864 N Lincoln Ave., Chicago in 2007. In 2009 I set up my own office at 743 W. Oakdale Ave. in Lakeview. Then in December of 2003 I moved my present location at the Lakeshore Integrative Healthcare, 2731 N. Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park.

Lok-Kwan Acupuncture does not bill insurance companies but will provide a receipt with insurance codes for the patient to file.

One to six for most conditions. Chronic problems will take more. Always expect dramatic improvements with the first treatment.

Oriental medicine is part of their regime which include exercise, healthy diet, lifestyle, and emotions. They are committed to building their health and functioning at the optimum level.

Yes, I offer a discount for a prepaid series of treatments.

Yes, Gift Cards are available for any dollar amount. Phone orders accepted.

Western medicine focuses on treating symptoms. Oriental medicine treats both the 'branches' and the 'root' of the disease. 'Branches' are the symptoms and 'root' is the cause. Chinese medical classics consider diet, lifestyle, and emotions the root of diseases. Treatments help you make positive changes in these areas.


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice for promoting natural healing and improving body functioning that has been refined through the centuries. Acupuncture is performed by inserting fine, sterile, disposable needles through the skin at precise acupuncture points. Heat or electrical stimulation may also be applied. The Chinese word for acupuncture point, xue, actually means 'hole'. What acupuncture stimulates are spaces where the vital substances and energetics of the body can be powerfully influenced.

Classical Chinese medicine describes the body energetics as a web of meridians, integrated and connected, manifesting at the levels of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. The meridians are like channels in which the vital substances flow. When the flow is irregular or obstructed, there is dis-ease or pain. Pathology results. Acupuncture at strategic points along the meridians gets rid of the obstruction and restores the flow, the result is a sense of well-being and health.
Modern science has a different explanation. Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system, the circulatory system, and the hormonal system to restore homeostasis and balance.
The language is different, but both classical Chinese medicine and modern science agree that acupuncture stimulates the body's natural healing abilities to promote immunity, fight disease, and restore health and balance.

Not only can acupuncture cure symptoms but it acts at the constitutional level to address the root of the problem. Therefore, it can benefit all conditions. Acupuncture is a great preventive medicine because it can restore balance to boost immunity and promote health. Acupuncture understands diseases as processes of transformation, it can help complex problems such as immune or degenerative disorders. Even when a condition is considered 'incurable', acupuncture can improve the quality of life in a profound way.

Following are conditions recommended for acupuncture by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.):


Common cold
Smoking cessation

Menopausal symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome

Poor vision
Central retinitis
Pain after tooth extraction

Tennis elbow
Muscle cramping
Muscle pain/weakness
Neck pain
Back pain

Spasm of the esophagus and cardia
Abdominal pain
Acute and chronic gastritis
Gastric hyperacidity
Chronic duodenal ulcer
Acute and chronic colitis
Acute bacterial dysentery
Paralytic ileus

Trigeminal neuralgia
Facial paralysis
Paralysis after apoplectic fit
Peripheral neuropathy
Paralysis caused by poliomyelitis
Meniere's syndrome
Neurogenic bladder dysfunction
Nocturnal enuresis
Intercostal neuralgia
Parkinson's disease
Postoperative pain

Addiction control
Athletic performance
Blood pressure regulation
Chronic fatigue
Immune system tonification
Stress reduction

Needling sensation is not separate from the skill of the acupuncturist and the constitution of the patient. In my practice acupuncture is not painful. Tools and techniques are customized to the sensitivity and constitution of each individual patient to ensure comfort and relaxation. For children and adults who are energy or needle sensitive I use FDA approved painless needles, non-penetrative techniques or other methods of stimulation without needles. I will make sure that your treatment is completely comfortable.

No, I only use sterile, single-use, disposable needles. It's a Federal regulation.

If you are not familiar with acupuncture, it's natural to approach with skepticism. Acupuncture is not a religion: you don't have to believe in it to benefit from it. There is as much misformation about acupuncture in the media as accurate information. However, it is commonly agreed that acupuncture can benefit many conditions with few bad side effects. Disagreement centers around how it works. Critics think that acupuncture is just a placebo and not real medicine. I don't think so but even if it were, placebo treatments are wonderful if they are effective because they don't harm the patient.

You can only depend on other people's experience and recommendation. Rely on testimonials:

Chinese Medicine

Yin/yang is a way of knowledge  If everything in the world is the same shade of white then one can not see anything. One is able to see because things are of different colors and different shades. The yin and the yang are opposing qualities that can be used to describe anything by placing it in a context. So, first and foremost, yin/yang makes it possible to know and talk about things. The yin and the yang are like two people in a long, intimate relationship. There are many different aspects to this relationship:

The yin and the yang are opposing qualities  Yang means sun and yin means shade. The ancient sages intuited the laws that govern all phenomena based on observation of the dance of sun and shade. 

yin yang
earth heaven
night day
interior exterior
quiescent active
cold hot
woman man
flavor temperature
water fire
downward upward
dark bright
contracting expanding
soft hard

A word about the flavor/temperature pair. Temperature and flavor are qualities in food and herbs. Temperature varies from very hot to very cold; neutral is in the middle. Temperature here refers to the inherent nature of the food or herb, rather than the heating or cooling of it, although the later can exaggerate or moderate the natural temperature. There are five flavors: sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, and salty. Neutral may be added to make six. Temperature is a more energetic quality compared to flavor which is denser and more substantial, hence temperature is yang, and flavor is yin. Temperature and flavor always work together to affect the body.

The yin and the yang are rooted in each other  Even while they oppose each other, they depend on each other, enabling each other to flourish, each relying on the other to do its work.

As one waxes, the other wanes  The opposition between the yin and the yang is not static; it is a dynamic process of complementary growth and diminishment. As the yang grows larger, the yin grows smaller, and vice versa. In this way they perpetuate each other.

One can transform into the other  Any phenomenon is an expression of its inherent yin/yang dynamics. When required conditions come into being, it will reverse its course: the yin will transform into the yang, and the yang into the yin.

The body organs have these yin/yang relationships:

  • That which is above is yang, that which is below is yin. 
  • The exterior of the body is yang, the interior yin.
  • The four limbs are yang, the trunk of the body is yin.
  • The back is yang, the abdomen is yin.
  • The lateral sides of the body are yang, the medial sides of the body are yin.
  • The Heart, Kidneys, Lungs, Livers, and the Spleen including the Pancreas, are the five yin organs: they store precious body substances. The Stomach, Large Intestines, Small Intestines, Urinary Bladder, Gallbladder, and the Triple Burner, are the six yang organs: they perform the functions of processing, and discharge.
The oracle bone script for 行 (xíng)

The translation from the Chinese 五行 (wŭ xíng) into Five Elements does not convey its essential meaning of movement. The character 行 is composed of two parts, 彳on the left and 亍 on the right. They are actually the same radical drawn differently. The radical means a step made by a human foot. 行 is composed of a left and a right footstep. It means walking, or movement. Understanding Chinese ideas is easier if one remembers that they are about process and change.

Five Element Correspondences with Nature
Five Elements Wood Fire  Earth Metal Water
Five Flavors sour bitter sweet spicy salty
Five Colors green red yellow white black
Stages of Development birth growth transformation withdrawal storage
Climates wind heat dampness dryness cold
Seasons spring summer long (late) summer autumn winter
Directions east south center west north

Five Element Correspondences with the Human Body
Five Elements Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Yin (treasure house) Organs Liver Heart Spleen and Pancreas Lungs Kidneys
Yang (processing) Organs Gallbladder Small Intestine Stomach Large Intestine Urinary Bladder
Five Senses eyes tongue mouth nose ears
Body Tissues sinews blood vessels flesh skin and hair bones
Five Emotions anger joy worry grief fear


The Five Elements interact with each other by exerting promoting and inhibiting forces on one another. Promoting means to create, to nourish, to enable growth, to make stronger. Inhibiting means to control, to inhibit growth, to make weaker, to diminish.

The Five Elements promote one another in this order: wood > fire > earth > metal > water > wood

The Five Elements inhibit one another in this order: wood > earth > water > fire > metal >wood

The promoting and inhibiting forces are working constantly and simultaneously in nature and in the human body. Natural and human events are the results of Five Elements interaction. Everything is evolving and changing. Some changes are quick and immediate, others are so slow as to give the illusion of permanence.


How to identify five element body types

Stereotypes are caricatures. Every pure type represents a distortion in which one elemental force dominates to the exclusion of the other four. Perfect health implies a life in which the tendencies of all five elements participate in equal measure, promoting, checking, and balancing each other. Few of us enjoy such perfect health. Meridians are like roadways in life. We tend to take the same roads repeatedly while leaving the others untravelled. The energetics of the ones we travel on repeatedly become excessive while the ones we ignore become deficient. In time, this imbalance become our personality, defining the the way we interact with other people, with the world, and with ourselves.
Please go to the faq to read about each body type.

The Wood-type person can be identified by the 'three longs': long face, long body trunk, long fingers.
The Wood-type person is shaped like a tree, with a long face; wide on top and narrow at the bottom, bony with scant flesh, and has wide, slouching shoulders.
The Wood-type person has a greenish complexion and a solemn looking demeanor. The Wood-type person is prone to anger manifested by bulging, green veins.
The Wood-type person's speech is blunt and short, with words sounding "thin," as though coming from the teeth.
The Wood-type person walks with a noisy, marching gait, lifting the feet and letting them drop.

The Fire-type person can be identified by the three "pointies": a pointy nose, a pointy chin, and a pointy top of the head.
The Fire-type person's body is shaped like a torch: pointy on top, narrow on the bottom, and flared in the middle. The face is round and full, and the hair is thin. The body is plump, of medium build with sloping shoulders.
The complexion is reddish; the ears and the neck turn crimson when the temper is roused.
The voice is sharp and high-pitched, with a broken quality, he sounds seemingly coming from the tongue.
The Fire-type person is light-footed and walks at a hurried pace, dashing forward with the upper body swaying from side to side.

The Earth-type person can be identified by the three 'shorts': the body is short, the neck is short, and the fingers are short.
The Earth-type person has a square face with big ears and a bulbous nose shaped like a head of garlic. The muscles are strong and both the waist and back are thick. Movements are clumsy and the demeanor is honest and sincere. Not well-educated but a simple person with no guile.
The complexion is yellow, which turns into a withered yellow when the person is unhappy.
The Earth-type person speaks with a loud, low-pitched nasal tone. The gait is heavy-footed with every step solidly landing on the ground.

The Metal-type person can be identified by the three 'thins': thin lips, thin eyelids, and the flesh on the back of the hands is thin.
The Metal-type person is attractive-looking. The face is rectangular in shape, with a pointy chin, and well-defined, well-distributed features. The body is slim, and the movements are graceful and lively. 
The Metal-type person has a good way with words and is a persuasive communicator. 
The complexion is white, and turns pale when the tempers are aroused.
The voice is bright and clear as a bell with the sounds coming from the throat. The gait is swift, light, and lively.

The Water-element person can be identified by the three 'thicks': thick eyelids, a thick jaw, and the flesh on the back of the hands is thick.
The face is large, fleshy, round, wider at the base than the top, and often a double chin. Big eyes, thick eyebrows and thick hair, both the face and body are full and chubby.
The complexion has a black tint, which darkens when the temper is roused.
The Water-element person speaks with a relaxed, low tone with the sounds coming from the throat.
The Water-element person walks slowly, with the feet dragging on the ground.